WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI– The Kalamazoo Growlers fall to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters in an absolute heartbreaker by a final of 13-12 in twelve innings at Historic Witter Field. The visiting Growlers came out of the gates first in game two of the series following an RBI for first baseman Drew Huff (Middle Tennessee State) on a fielder’s choice that plated centerfielder Matt Koehler (Western Carolina), 1-0 in favor of Kalamazoo early.
The Rafters answered quickly in the bottom half as right fielder Dustin Woodcock (SIU – Edwardsville) came through for the hometown team with a sac-fly RBI to bring home shortstop Bryson Stott (UNLV). The sac-fly was followed by an RBI-single for the five-hole hitter in Ryan Stekl (Canisius College), 2-1 Wisconsin Rapids.
Credit shortstop Kyle Ziegler (Northwood) with his first homerun on the young 2017 season in the top of the second inning; solo-shot variety, knotted at 2-2 after two.
Kalamazoo would tack on two more in the visitor’s half of inning number three after a Drew Huff RBI single to plate Jason Sullivan (Central Michigan). Huff would eventually come around to score unearned following a wild pitch, 4-2 good guys.
Another solo-shot in the top of the fourth inning would stretch the score to 5-2 for the Growlers. Credit catcher Javier Martinez (Northwood) with his first homerun on the season on an absolute moonshot out to right-center field.
The Rafters would claw back in the home half of the fourth, striking for four runs. Dustin Woodcock would watch ball four with the bases loaded and only one away, plating Nick Anderson (Texas AM Corpus Christi). The walk would be followed by a bases-clearing RBI-double for Ryan Stekl. Three runs come to the plate, 6-5 in a brand new ballgame.
The bat of designated hitter Ryan Mergener (Wayne State) remained hot in this one. Credit Mergener with a grand slam in the top of the sixth, his third long ball in the last three days.
Wisconsin Rapids refused to go away as Nic Motley (McLennan Community College) got one back for the Rafters on a solo-shot to make it 9-7 after six.
With the bags full, Jason Sullivan wore a pitch to plate run number ten on the night for Kalamazoo. Ivan Estrella (Texas Rio Grande) followed up the hit-by-pitch with an RBI on a fielder’s choice, 11-7 Kalamazoo.
In the bottom of the seventh, Ryan Stekl added RBI number four on the night to his stat line following a fielder’s choice, 11-8 Growlers.
Leadoff hitter Nick Owens (St. Johns River State) would bring in newly inserted catcher Scott Kapers (Valparaiso) on an RBI-single.
Jason Sullivan wasn’t done yet for the good guys. He would knock in the pride of Ball State in Jeff Riedel after an RBI-double in the top of the ninth.
Following an RBI single for left fielder Jake Guenther (Sacramento City CC), a crucial error charged to Kalamazoo third baseman Ivan Estrella would bring in two more for the hometown guys, 12 a piece as we head to extras.
It would take twelve to decide this one. The always-dangerous Dustin Woodcock would drive in Bryson Stott with an RBI single to end it, 13-12 Wisconsin Rapids in a twelve inning classic.
The Growlers will play game one of two in Green Bay starting tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is set for 1:05 CT, 2:05 ET.
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.