Latest News

Published On: June 22nd, 2016

Madison, WI – Hayden Brauser (Pratt C.C.) had not pitched more than two innings in a single relief appearance this season for the Kalamazoo Growlers. When he was called upon in the second inning to pitch with the Growlers trailing 5-2, he probably figured it would be for a few innings to limit the damage. Instead, Brauser keyed a Kalamazoo comeback, and the Growlers beat the first place Madison Mallards 8-7 at Warner Park on Tuesday night to move to within a game of first place in the Northwoods League South.

Things got off to a good start for the Growlers (13-10) on Tuesday, as Camden Duzenack (Dallas Baptist) ripped a one-out home run down the left field line in the top of the first to put the Growlers on the board. The Mallards (13-8) would respond with a run of their own in the bottom of the first, but Brandon Gomez (Nova Southeastern) would then help the Growlers retake the lead in the top of the 2nd with an opposite field home run of his own. Wood would struggle through the second inning, however, throwing more than the allowed 35 pitches in one inning, and managing to get just two outs in the frame while the Mallards plated four. Brauser came in to get the final out of the inning and would not look back. Other than two runs by the Mallards in the 5th, which came via a double by Nate Palace and an RBI single by Zach Jarrett, Brauser was magnificent, going 7 1/3 innings, and scattering four hits while allowing just those two runs in the fifth, and striking out five, a season high. Brauser would earn the win, but he would need some run support to do so.

The support came in bits at first, with the Growlers manufacturing a run in the top of the 4th on a Connor Kopach (Southern Illinois) RBI single that drove in Jordan Verdon (San Diego State). Then in the 5th, the Growlers took advantage of two errors by the Mallards to plate four, while getting hits from Dan Robinson (Central Michigan) and Nick Hutchins (Southern Illinois) and then getting RBI’s from Sam Griggs (Southern Indiana) and Verdon.

The Mallards would then add two runs of their own in the 5th, to retake a 7-6 lead. The score would stay that way until the 8th inning. Kasey Cooper (Arkansas-Fort Smith) singled to lead off the frame against Troy Bacon, one of the hard-throwing right-handers for the Mallards. Kopach followed Cooper and delivered in a big way, smashing a 91 MPH fastball from Bacon over the fence in left-center to give the Growlers an 8-7 lead, one which they would never relinquish.

Brauser faced a jam in the bottom of the 9th, with the Mallards putting runners on first and second with two outs. He would work his way through, however, as he got the cleanup hitter Nate Palace to pop-out to second base to end the game.

Brauser earned the win to move to 2-0 for the season. The three home runs by the Growlers nearly matched their season total, as they had come into the game with four total home runs. Cooper had three hits to lead the Growlers, and Kopach, Robinson and Hutchins all had multi-hit games as well. The Mallards have now lost back-to-back games for the third time this season. With the win, the Growlers are now a game back of the Mallards for first place in the NWL South Division.

The Growlers will go for the sweep tomorrow with Grant Wolfram (Central Michigan) on the mound, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 CDT at Warner Park.


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, more than 140 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 via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit