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Growlers Blow Late Lead, Kingfish Win 8-7 in Extras

The Kalamazoo Growlers were up and ready for an 11:05 AM first pitch at Homer Stryker Field, as they held the lead until the top of the ninth. However, the Growlers bullpen couldn’t close the door on the Kingfish, who plated three runs in the frame and went on to win it in the 10th when third baseman Henry Kusiak singled home center fielder McKay Barney (2-5, 3 R).

Kalamazoo started the game on the right foot, as right fielder Don Goodes (4-6, 2B, 2 SB) singled on the game’s first pitch and scored on Luke Storm’s sacrifice fly. The Growlers order was strong from top to bottom, totaling 14 hits as a group. Kenosha responded in the third with two runs of its own, as a Casey O’Laughlin (2-4, 2 R, 2 K) triple plated Barney and then scored as Storm, stationed at first base today, failed to scoop a low throw across the diamond from third baseman Satchell Wilson. Those were the only runs Growlers starter Austin Strickland allowed in four innings of work. He also struck out seven.

The Growlers chased Kingfish starter Trent Turzenski out of the game with a big fourth inning. Second baseman David Coppedge started off his 4-for-6 day with a single, and Cade Stanton walked. Then shortstop Anthony Catalano drove home Coppedge, and Goodes laced his second hit of the day to plate Stanton and Catalano to make the score 4-2.

Unfortunately, things got hairy for Kalamazoo after Strickland left the game. David Toth allowed a run in the fifth and had to work out of a bases loaded jam afterwards. George Ferguson gave up four hits in the eighth as Kenosha scored again. However, Coppedge continued to swing a hot bat. His two RBI single in the seventh and RBI double in the eighth put K-Zoo up three runs going into the ninth.

That’s when things began to fall apart. Ferguson gave up a leadoff single to O’Laughlin, and was immediately pulled for Grant Jebbia, who then walked two batters to load the bases. Jebbia was replaced by Collin Witzke, who gave up back to back singles which plated the the tying runs. Goodes doubled with one down in the bottom of the inning, but was left stranded.

The Northwoods League’s tie breaker rules placed Barney on second to begin extras. Witzke struck out Tuesday night’s hero Kirk Liebert and O’Laughlin, then Kusiak punched a ball between short and third which rolled under the glove of left fielder Stephen Cullen as Barney sped home. The Growlers had the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth with one out but for the second straight night failed to capitalize.

The Growlers travel to C.O. Brown Stadium tomorrow night to begin a home-and-home with the Bombers. First pitch is at 6:35.