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Growlers drop heartbreaker at Kokomo

 

Kokomo, IN. — The visiting Kalamazoo Growlers (25-22, 9-6) led by four runs entering the final frame of regulation before the host Kokomo Jackrabbits (21-26, 6-8) rallied back to take the shocking 11-10 walk-off victory at Kokomo Municipal Stadium Thursday evening. 

The Jackrabbits struck first on a lead-off solo blast from Logan Jarvis on the first pitch to give the hosts an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Kalamazoo quickly tied the game at 1-1 in the second on a RBI groundout from Austin Knight (Tennessee). 

Kalamazoo’s offense exploded with two outs in the third inning, tallying four runs on four hits to grab a 5-1 advantage. The rally began with a booming RBI double from Gabe Rivera (Univ. of Miami) to make it 2-1 followed by a RBI single from Jimmy Sullivan (Virginia) to stretch the lead. The Growlers created more separation courtesy of a two-run blast to left field by Jake Topolski (Duke) to make it a four-run lead.

Kokomo answered in the ensuing frame with a two-out RBI single to cut the deficit to 5-2. Kalamazoo came back again with three runs of its own in the fourth on a Zack Gelof (Virginia) RBI single, run-scoring double from Clay Owens (USC) and a sacrifice fly to left provided by Shea Kramer (Utah) to extend the margin to 8-2.

The Jackrabbits continued to fight in the fifth inning with a Jarvis RBI double to trim the margin to 8-3. Kokomo adds two more on a sacrifice fly and error to make it a three-run contest at 8-5. The wire-to-wire affair with continued with Kalamazoo adding another insurance run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Rivera to make it 9-5.

The Growlers added another insurance run in the ninth on a Hunter Thorn (Purdue Northwest) to stretch the advantage to 10-6. Kokomo answered with a furious rally in the ninth, compiling five runs on just two hits to win the game on a walk-off. The rally started with a sacrifice fly followed by a three-run double to tie the game at 10-10. Then, Kokomo’s Michael Cleary was hit by a pitch to score the winning run.

Kalamazoo reliever DJ Moore (Huntington Univ.) took the loss, falling to 3-3. Kokomo relief pitcher Mark Meyer earned the win, improving to 1-1. The Kalamazoo Growlers conclude the series tomorrow evening. First pitch is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start.

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The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Currently in its’ 26th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 200 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.