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Published On: June 26th, 2021

KENOSHA, WI — An offensive explosion, combined with another effective outing from Tanner Knapp, the Kalamazoo Growlers snapped a four game losing skid, triumphing over the Kenosha Kingfish, 8-4.

Knapp has been matching Adam Wheaton blow for blow in their first handful of starts as two of the best starters and strikeout arms in the league. However, it was more soft generated contact, rather than punchouts, that helped Knapp maneuver one of the most dangerous lineups the Northwoods League has to offer.

With that said, it did not start out easy for Knapp. Doubles by Kirk Liebert and Cam Redding were apart of a 2-run bottom of the first by Kenosha. The Kentucky catcher Liebert has been the most dangerous bat the Growlers have faced this season. However, two of Liebert’s collegiate teammates quickly got Kalamazoo back on the right track.

In the top of the third, Nolan McCarthy singled for the Growlers first hit of the game. Catcher Devin Burkes followed up with a line drive double to right center, and one Wildcat drove home another for the Growlers first run of the contest. Burkes did the rest himself, advancing to third on a groundout and coming home to score on a wild pitch to tie the game.

Tanner Knapp found a grove after the first. He retired 13 of the next 15 batters faced. The only two Kingfish to reach did so via an infield single and walk.

Kenosha wouldn’t go down quietly though. Another double from Redding scored Liebert once again, one of two runs in the sixth for the Kingfish, restoring their two run advantage.

However, the Kalamazoo response was immediate. McCarthy and Burkes laced back-to-back doubles to start of the top of the seventh. Dominic Pitelli singled home Burkes on the next pitch. A sense of deja vu filled Simmons Field as both McCarthy and Burkes as a response to Kenosha for the second time in the game. However, what followed was not as typical.

The third time through the order, Kalamazoo timed up Kingfish starter Ethan Peters. Don Goodes walked, followed by an RBI single from Damon Lux, scoring Pitelli. The final blow to Peters came at the hands of Anthony Calarco, chasing the Kenosha left hander with a ground rule double deep to left center field that took one hop over the wall. Luke Storm and Brooks Coetzee added RBIs via a single and sacrifice fly respectively. All together, it was a 6 run seventh for the Growlers to take a commanding 8-4 lead.

From that point on, Knapp continued his efficiency on the bump, producing 5 more outs before his night came to an end after 105 pitches. Knapp’s final line saw him give up 8 hits and 4 runs, but struck out 6 and only walked 2 in 7 and two thirds innings pitched – his longest outing of the season.

The ball was passed to Braden Forsyth, who confidently controlled the zone for the final four outs, sitting down two on strikes.

With the win, the Growlers are now 11-16 on the season. Kalamazoo will try for the sweep of the Kingfish Sunday afternoon, with first pitch slated for 2:05 ET.