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Published On: August 13th, 2016

Wisconsin Rapids, WI – The Kalamazoo Growlers have completed their road slate for the 2016 Northwoods League season and it could not have come at a better time. After falling to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters 10-1 at Witter Field on Friday night and being swept once again, the Growlers will hope that their fate changes with the switch in scenery to Homer Stryker Field as they try to make a final playoff push in their final two home games.

After scoring six runs in the 1st  inning of the first game of the series, the Rafters (24-9, 48-21) got started quickly once again, plating four runs in the bottom of the 1st to knock Growlers starter Grant Wolfram (Central Michigan) out of the game. Wolfram struggled in his only inning of work, throwing 44 pitches to get three outs.

Things did not get much better for the Growlers (12-22, 32-38) in the 2nd inning, as the Rafters collected two more runs off reliever Cody Brown-Gordon (Coker College) courtesy of a two-run double from Rob Calabrese (UIC) to take a 6-0 lead into the 3rd.

The Rafters struck for two more runs in the 4th inning, as after Brown-Gordon walked the bases loaded, Scott Kapers (Valpariso) singled off Growlers reliever Hayden Brauser (Pratt CC) to drive in two more runs and give the Rafters a 8-0 lead. They tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the 7th inning, with Jake Lumley (Canisius) delivering a two-run single in the frame off Growlers reliever Jesse Wheeler (Shorter University) to take a 10-0 lead.

Offensively, the Growlers had no answers for Rafters pitching. Jake Repavich (Grand Canyon) started and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing just a single hit which came via a TJ Marik (Austin Peay) single in the top of the 3rd. Marik was one of just three baserunners that Repavich allowed, as he also walked to lead off the 6th inning.

The Growlers got their lone run of the ballgame in the top of the 9th inning. After Dan Robinson (Central Michigan) walked, and was then moved over by a Kasey Cooper (Arkansas-Fort Smith) single, Darius Coldiron (Coker College) hit a sacrifice fly to left field, to plate Robinson and make the score 10-1. That score would prove to be the final, as Sam Griggs (Southern Indiana) proceeded to fly out to end the game.


With his single in the 9th inning, Cooper extended his season-long hitting streak to nine games. With his walk in the 6th inning, Robinson extended his on base streak to 20 consecutive games. He has now drawn a walk in 19 of the past 23 games that he has played in, and his two walks tonight give him a total of 53 for the season, good for fourth in the NWL. The two hits for the Growlers tonight were a season low. Repavich picked up his second win of the season. He is now 2-3. Wolfram took the loss and is now 2-4. Wolfram has not picked up a win since July 5th against Lakeshore.

With the win, the Rafters have officially clinched the top seed in the NWL South Division playoffs and have won the second half. They won the 1st half in the NWL South as well with a 24-12 mark. They will host one of two NWL South division first round playoff games on Monday at 7:05 CDT at Witter Field. At 48 wins, the Rafters are now two wins shy of reaching the 50-win plateau, a feat that has been achieved by just three teams in NWL history, with the most recent team being the Lakeshore Chinooks in their 2014 championship season. The Rafters have now won nine straight games, their longest such streak of the season, and the second longest this season in the Northwoods League only to the St. Cloud Rox whom won ten games in a row from June 13 to June 24. The Rafters also have won the season series against the Growlers 6-2, and have swept them twice at Witter Field this season, with the first time coming on June 16 and 17.

With the loss, the Growlers still trail the Lakeshore Chinooks by one game for the final spot in the NWL South playoffs. They have now lost 13 of their last 15 games and have been swept in four of their past five series. This is the ninth time the Growlers have been swept this season, with seven of the sweeps coming in the second half. The Growlers must win their next two games to clinch a playoff berth and receive some help from both the Chinooks and Green Bay Bullfrogs, whom are tied with them at one game behind the Chinooks.

The Growlers will now return home for their final two games of the season against the Rockford Rivets. Their penultimate game is slated to begin at 6:05 PM EST at Homer Stryker Field, with Blaine Fisher (Pittsburg State) getting the starting nod.


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 or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Growlers as your favorite team.