Kalamazoo, Mich. — The start of the Growlers' game on Sunday against the Kenosha Kingfish was delayed by more than two hours by a cell of storms moving through the Kalamazoo area. The field was soaked, the dugout was under six inches of water, and both teams had retreated back to their locker rooms. Even when the sun was out, discussions between the umpires and coaches extended the delay.
But the time it took to get the game started suggested nothing about the Growlers' 5-1 win over the Kingfish. Eric Hall (Chicago State), Justin Goike (Kalamazoo Valley CC) and John Schreiber (Northwestern Ohio) combined to hold Kenosha to just six hits and move the game along at such a rate that it ended scarcely two hours after it began.
Hall, normally a long reliever for the Growlers, got the start after the rain put a kink in the plan to start Dillon Haviland (Duke). He had no difficulty adjusting, though, mixing his fastball and offspeed offerings well and filling up the strike zone, allowing the Growlers' stout infield defense to do its job.
Karl Sorensen (St. Cloud State) doubled down the line to drive L.K. Thompson (Florida International) home and give the Growlers a 1-0 lead in the third inning, and Sorensen singled to center to score the second run of the game in the fifth. Jesse Puscheck (Canisius) then hit a booming triple to center to drive two men in, and, when the relay throw bounced into the Growlers' dugout, score himself.
Chris Godinez (Bradley) smacked a solo shot to left with two outs in the sixth, but that would be the only run Kenosha could manage. Kalamazoo's arms only struck out three hitters, but they walked none.
The Growlers hit the road on Monday for two games against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, then return to southwest Michigan on the 30th for a day-night doubleheader against the Battle Creek Bombers, with the 7:05 game taking place at Homer Stryker Field. That night, the Growlers will try to set a world record for the world's largest cowbell ensemble. The first 750 fans will receive one, complimentary of Bell's Brewery.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live and free of charge via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit http://www.growlersbaseball.com. Follow the team on Twitter at @kzoogrowlers.