KENOSHA, WI – The bats come alive in a back and forth instant classic as the Kalamazoo Growlers hold on to take game two from the Kenosha Kingfish, 9-8.
The Growlers jumped on the board first in the top half of the third inning as second baseman Jason Sullivan (Central Michigan) knocked in left fielder Ryan Mergener (Wayne State) on a one out RBI-single. Following a stolen base for the pride of Central Michigan and back-to-back throwing errors on Kingfish catcher Mark Skonieczny (Illinois), the second run of the ballgame would eventually come around to score on a ball that sailed over the head of Kenosha first baseman Derek Bangert (Bradley), 2-0 in favor of Kalamazoo early.
The offense wasn’t done just yet as the bottom part of the order would remain hot for the team in navy blue. Catcher, Javier Martinez (Northwood) and left fielder, Ryan Mergener, began the top of the fourth inning with back-to-back one out singles. After a two out walk to the two-hole hitter in Jason Sullivan, first baseman Nick Hutchins (Southern Illinois) would clear the bases on a moonshot of a grand slam over the Bambino boat located in left field at Historic Simmons Field, 6-0 Kalamazoo after four.
Starting pitcher, Luke Schaefer (Toledo), mowed down Kingfish hitters all afternoon as he went 6.2 innings pitched, giving up 3 earned-runs, and striking out three.
The hometown team would post run number one on the afternoon in the bottom of the sixth inning as centerfielder Jack Yalowitz (Illinois) started the two-out rally with a single. He would come in to touch home after second baseman Mike Madej (Purdue) pulled in with a two-out RBI double for the Kingfish, 6-1 road warriors.
Kenosha would continue chipping back in the home half of the seventh inning following a 1-2-3 top half. It all started with an Alex Manasa (Jackson CC) leadoff double, followed by a Derek Bangert home run to bring the Kingfish back within three. Third baseman, Anthony Warneke (San Diego City) would reach on a throwing error by Growlers shortstop Kyle Ziegler (Northwood), one of a combined eight errors between the two respective teams. Samuel Vega (Northern Illinois) followed up with a one out single, advancing Warneke to second base. Warneke advanced to third after a Schaefer wild pitch and would eventually come in for run number 4 for Kenosha after a sacrifice fly and an RBI to center for leadoff hitter Chris Botsoe (Iowa Western CC), 6-4 good guys.
Two more runs would cross for the hometown Kingfish in the bottom of the eighth inning. Credit designated hitter Tyler Paulsen (Illinois State) with an RBI double to bring in Madej who singled to lead off the inning. Paulsen would come in to tie the ball game at six a piece after heads up baserunning on a 1-3 putout from Ziegler to Hutchins as the throw from the first baseman was just late into the glove of catcher, Javier Martinez.
Newly inserted centerfielder, Jeff Riedel (Ball State) started out the five-hit top of the ninth inning with a leadoff single, followed by a walk to Javier Martinez. A successful double steal put on by Kalamazoo field manager Cody Piechocki, put runners on second and third with only one gone for the visiting Growlers. Second day Growler Brynn Martinez (Quincy) would come through clutch with a one out, two RBI double as the Growlers regain the lead late.Sullivan went on to plate his second runner of the game in Martinez with a one out single, 9-6 Kalamazoo.
Kenosha made the bottom half of the ninth interesting after a two out throwing error by newly inserted George Lamb (Texas Rio Grande) brought in run number one of two in that of left fielder Chris Botsoe. Jack Yalowitz also touched home in the inning after an unearned single for the designated hitter Paulsen. Lamb would eventually close the door, credited with the save, as the Growlers take game two from the Kingfish for the series split, 9-8.
The 3-3 Growlers head home tomorrow for a four game homestand. The Madison Mallards will be in town for the first two. First pitch is set for 7:05 EDT.
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 170 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.