Bullpen Struggles Continue, Bats Fall Silent in Game 1 vs. Wisconsin Rapids
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI– The Growlers came into Wisconsin Rapids fresh off a series split with the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders after losing four straight prior to its crosstown rival, the Battle Creek Bombers.
The bats came alive early for the good guys following back-to-back one out singles and a stolen bag for both Connor Hollis (Houston) and Jason Sullivan (Central Michigan). Drew "Papa" Huff (Middle Tennessee State) would plate Hollis on an RBI 4-3 sacrifice, 1-0 Growlers early.
The Kalamazoo lead would hold strong until the home half of inning number three when the always dangerous Ryan Stekl (Canisius College) would come through clutch for the Rafters with a big two out RBI single to score Nick Anderson (Texas AM Corpus Christi) – knotted at one after three.
Anderson again played an important role for the hometown team in the bottom of the fifth after launching a two-run shot into the night, plating Jared Nelson (Phoenix College) in the process, 3-1 after five innings of play in favor of Wisconsin Rapids.
The Rafters would again do damage in the very next inning. Michael Ruffolo (Rockurst University) scored two more after a two-out, bases-loaded, two RBI double to bring home both Dustin Woodcock (SIU – Edwardsville) and Will Davis (Hope International). The double would be followed by a two RBI single for Charlie McConnell (Northeastern), plating Jared Nelson and Michael Ruffolo on the play, 7-1 in favor of the home team.
Bryson Stott (UNLV) would start off the seventh with a leadoff single. After a stolen bag, he would then advance to third on a wild pitch. Credit Dustin Woodcock with a sacrifice-fly and an RBI to center to plate the leadoff batter, 8-1.
After eight unanswered runs for Wisconsin Rapids, Jeff Riedel (Ball State) would bring home the first baserunner since the first inning for Kzoo. A one-out single with the bases loaded scored Jason Sullivan, 8-2 the score, which would end up being your final.
Kalamazoo has now dropped two straight. Growlers will try again tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 CT. Same place, same team, same time.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 180 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.growlersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Growlers as your favorite team.