Growlers Back to Winning Ways Thanks to Workhorse Wheaton
TRAVERSE CITY, MI — Every single time Adam Wheaton steps on the mound, he leaves his heart out on the bump. On Thursday in Traverse City, another inspired performance from “Mr. Growler” led Kalamazoo to a 2-1 victory, snapping a four game losing streak and bringing the Growlers back home on a positive note.
Wheaton came out dealing. He sped Traverse City’s order without allowing a hit through the first three innings. The Pit Spitters got their first base knock in the fourth, and the Lamar commit induced a 6-4-3 double play from the cleanup hitter Chris Monroe. Wheaton’s opposite Jacob Marcus had just as good of a start, striking out six Growlers through four frames.
The Kalamazoo offense, struggling to score runs against starting pitching (three total in the last three games), was subject to plenty of change last night. Anthony Calarco and Luke Storm moved from the three and four spots in the lineup to one and two. Calarco was comfortable in the leadoff spot, having hit there all year for Northwestern, and the tallest one-two hitter combination in the Northwoods League did just enough to get their hurler over the hump.
Calarco began the fifth with patience, working out a leadoff walk. Then Storm, who had been struggling to square balls up, got a fastball over the outer half of the plate that he roped to left-center for an RBI double. He advanced to third on a late throw home, and that 90 feet was key, as he would score the eventual winning run on his Duke teammate Damon Lux’s RBI single. Kalamazoo’s two-run fifth would be enough to clinch the w
It didn’t come without a little drama. Wheaton had worked through stress-free fifth and sixth innings, but with one out in the seventh, Monroe singled, and the Pit Spitters’ bats went to work. Camden Traficante reached on an error and Christian Faust singled home Monroe to make it 2-1. Wheaton’s pitch count was climbing up towards the NWL limit of 110, and after another strikeout, his fifth of the day, he had topped the mark. Trey Nordmann came in, and walked the first batter, but got the third and final out on a beautiful leaping throw from shortstop Satchell Wils
on. Braden Forsyth replaced Nordmann for the six out save and struck out four of the seven Pit Spitters he faced.
It was a massive win against the division leaders for Kalamazoo, getting momentum rolling for the start of a two-game series with the Rockford Rivets. First pitch tonight is at 6:35.