KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers began their third season as a member of the Northwoods League on Tuesday, but some players still have business to take care of with their college teams. In this edition of the OnStaff Group Recruiting Report, our media team checks in on where our players are doing in their college's tournaments.
Five players on the current Growlers roster will be competing in the NCAA Division I Regionals that begin Friday, June 3. Tre Gannt, Brady Cherry and Austin Woodby helped Ohio State to the school’s ninth Big Ten Tournament title and first since 2007.
Gannt played right field and hit ninth for the Buckeyes. The freshman has carved out a solid role for himself as a great defender in right field and someone who can get on base at the bottom of the lineup. Gannt hit .333 with three RBI and one run scored in the Big Ten Tournament. The outfielder also earned SportsCenter’s No. 1 play in its Top 10 on Sunday night with a diving catch to end the seventh inning vs. Michigan State.
Connor Smith and Jacob Piechota played significant roles in Western Michigan’s surprise run to the MAC Championship. Smith came into the MAC Tournament as the conference’s freshman of the year and continued his stellar play in the MAC Tournament this past weekend. Smith hit .375 with three runs scored as the starting shortstop for the Broncos. The Midland native leads the team in multiple hitting categories as well.
Piechota tossed six innings of one-hit baseball against Central Michigan to earn his 10th win of the season and advance the Broncos to the MAC Championship game against Kent State
Western Michigan and Ohio State are both in the same NCAA regional in Louisville, Ky. The Broncos will battle the No. 2 overall seed Louisville Cardinals, and the Buckeyes will face Wright State as the No. 2 seed in the Louisville Region.
Matt Lloyd (Iowa Western) will also be continuing postseason play with his junior college team. The redshirt freshman has been effective on both the mound and as the team’s starting shortstop. Lloyd will be competing in Iowa Western’s 17th JUCO World Series in program history. Iowa Western is currently 2-1 in the JUCO World Series.
Sam Griggs (Southern Indiana) was the seventh and final Growler competing in postseason play for his college. Griggs and the Southern Indiana Eagles are 1-1 in the NCAA Division II World Series. The Eagles drew a loss in Wednesday's elimination game against Lander.
The Growlers Opening Weekend continues this Friday as the team takes on rival Battle Creek at Homer Stryker Field!
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The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.growlersbaseball.com.