KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers used the long ball this afternoon to gain the lead and then took advantage of a couple of mistakes by the Rafters late in the game to add on to their lead in what ended in a 4-1 Kalamazoo victory over Wisconsin Rapids.
The Growlers found themselves in an early hole in this one. Wisconsin Rapids was able to push the first runner across the plate in the top half of the second inning when Ben Fisher was able to drive in Logan Mattix.
Kalamazoo did not allow for this deficit to stick around for long as they found their power swing in the fourth inning. Jordan Verdon (San Diego State) and Nick Hutchins (Southern Illinois) began the bottom half of the frame with back-to-back solo home runs to get the Growlers on top by a score of 2-1.
This lead was added on to in the sixth inning thanks to a couple of miscues by the Rafters. Verdon scored the first run of the inning from third base when a hard hit ground ball by Connor Kopach (Southern Illinois) was misplayed by Rafters' shortstop Demetrius Sims. The final run of the game crossed the plate later in the inning when Connor Smith (Western Michigan) drew a bases loaded walk that scored David Hensley (San Diego State).
Kevin Marnon (Ball State) was great on the mound in this one for Kalamazoo. Marnon lasted six full innings on the mound and only allowed one run on four hits and struck out five batters. Garvin Alston (Arizona State), Drake Herrman (Pittsburg State), and Hayden Brauser (Pratt CC) all contributed out of the bullpen for the Growlers. The trio combined to shutout the Rafters over the final three innings while giving up just three hits.
Kalamazoo will be back in action tomorrow evening for a Fourth of July meeting with the Lakeshore Chinooks. Tomorrow's game will feature the largest fireworks show in Kalamazoo and will also be the only time to see the limited edition "Uncle Porter" jerseys that the Growlers will be wearing. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd 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 150 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 (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). 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 and set the Growlers as your favorite team.