Latest News

Published On: July 13th, 2015

KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers again missed their shot at a two-game sweep, falling 7-4 to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters on Sunday afternoon at Homer Stryker Field.

Tied 3-3 in the top of the seventh inning, the Rafters (6-5, 21-22) took the lead on a couple of Kalamazoo gifts. Brock Carpenter (Seattle) started with a leadoff single off Growler reliever Adrian Morales (Jackson College/Rochester College), then after Dustin Woodcock (SIU-Edwardsville) and Alex Herceg (Keystone College) drew back-to-back one-out walks, Morales was relieved in favor of Derek Schneider (Western Michigan). Schneider had Michael McCann (Seattle) in a two-strike hole but then fired four straight balls to force in the go-ahead run. After a fly out, Schneider let another come home on a wild pitch, giving Wisconsin Rapids a 5-3 lead.

The Rafters doubled that cushion in the ninth on a sac fly by McCann and an RBI single by Ernie Clement (Virginia). The Growlers (4-10, 12-35) made waives in the bottom of the ninth as Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) brought home Johnny Ruiz (Miami) on a one-out fielder’s choice, but Jordan Stading (Houston) flew out and Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh) struck out to wrap it up for the visitors.

Jake Johansmeier (Eastern Illinois, 5-1) won his team-best fifth game of the season with 6.2 innings of three-run, eight-hit ball. He walked three and struck out two on 97 pitches. Morales (0-1) took the loss after Kalamazoo starter Alec Byrd (Florida State) picked up a no-decision. Byrd allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits in 5.1 innings, walking three and striking out four.

Wisconsin Rapids opened the scoring in the top of the second. After Mitch McGeein (Eastern Illinois) singled and Herceg was plunked, Nate Easley (San Joaquin Delta College) laced a triple to right-center, scoring both runs. The Growlers cut the lead in half in their half of the second when Ruiz grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Alex Gosser (Arkansas).

Byrd then engaged a tightrope for the fourth and fifth innings. Woodcock, Herceg, and McCann hit three straight singles with no out in the fourth to load the bases, but Byrd induced a 1-2-3 double play against Easley and forced Zack Domingues (Long Beach State) to fly out to left to end the threat. Clement led off the fifth with a double and Byrd issued back-to-back walks to Beau Jordan (LSU) and Carpenter to load them up again. The South Florida native then reached back deep for three more clutch outs as McGeein flew out and Woodcock and Herceg each went down swinging.

The home side responded by plating one run after each of Byrd’s close calls. Gosser singled in the fourth and came home on an RBI double by John Soteropulos (California). Fletcher led off the fifth with a base hit and after stealing second came home on Stading’s RBI single, giving the Growlers a momentary 3-2 lead. The Rafters tied it in the sixth when Easley came home on Clement’s sac fly to right, setting up the final lead change in the seventh.

Stading, Gosser, Soteropulos, and Ruiz each had two hits for the Growlers, and Gosser scored two of the team’s four runs. Clement and Easley both tallied three hits and two RBIs for the Rafters.

The Growlers will now engage their I-94 rivals in a home-and-home doubleheader on Monday. The Battle Creek Bombers will host the first game from C.O. Brown Stadium at 11:00 a.m., while the back end will come to Homer Stryker Field for a 7:05 first pitch.

The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 22-year old summer collegiate 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, 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit