KALAMAZOO, MI – The Growlers ended tonight with a 7-4 victory over the 1st place Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Kalamazoo was bolstered by another great starting pitching performance from Ryan Johnson. This is the second start in a row in which Johnson has earned the win, and he pitched extremely effectively today only allowing 3 hits and 1 earned run in 7.0 solid innings of work. Ryan Johnson isn’t a flamethrower; with his fastball topping out around 90 MPH. His control and great off-speed pitches are what define him as a pitcher.
Sam Carver pitched well for the Rafters while he was on the mound for 5.0 innings only surrendering 3 hits and 2 earned runs. Carver experienced trouble in the 4th inning when the Growlers were able to load the bases against him. With Michael Diffely up to bat Carver walked him on 4 straight pitches which walked in a run, then Ivan Estrella hit a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield scoring the remaining run for the Growlers against Carver. The Growlers were able to push ahead and get a comfortable lead after Rafters’ starter Sam Carver exited the game. TJ Fetters entered the game with a 2-1 deficit, and that deficit grew 7-1 by the time he was pulled. Kalamazoo put a 5 spot up in the 7th inning against Fetter, and a Michael Diffely 2-run double put an exclamation point on the Growlers’ night at the plate.
Kalamazoo’s offense came through in key situations with runners in scoring position only leaving 2 runners left in scoring position in tonight’s ballgame. The offense was led today by Michael Diffley who went 1 for 3 with 3 RBIs and a key double that was a capper on a great night at the plate. Connor Hollis also did a great job at the plate reaching base 4 times with 2 walks and 2 hits, not to mention, scoring 2 runs in the process. For the Rafters, Dustin Woodcock guided Wisconsin Rapids offensive attack going 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs which includes a 3-run homerun. That homerun came in the 9th inning making the score 7-4. That plus a Ryan Stekl double made it look like the Rafters were making a furious comeback, however, Coach Cody Piochocki brought in Beau Ridgeway and Beau shut the door ending any chance of a Rafters’ comeback.
Kalamazoo’s next home game will come on July 1st against the Wisconsin Woodchucks and will mark the start of a 6 game homestand.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 160 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). 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 or on Google Play and set the Growlers as your favorite team.