Despite not playing a full nine inning game in the series, the Kalamazoo Growlers took three (more like two and a half but who’s counting?) games against the Lakeshore Chinooks over the weekend. KZoo took the Saturday contests at Kapco Park 3-2 and 1-0, the first a conclusion of a contest that began at Homer Stryker field, and the second a seven-inning game. However, with heavy showers in the forecast on Sunday, whether or not the game could be completed was the looming question.
The game began as a pitchers duel; Growlers starter Tanner Knapp and Chinooks hurler Tommy Lamb worked through two scoreless innings. Lamb stranded Don Goodes on second after a leadoff double to begin the game, and as the rain began to pour, Knapp left two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the second. Both pitchers used effective fastball/slider combinations to strike out four hitters apiece.
The Chinooks did strike first in the bottom of the third. Lakeshore shortstop Brendan Sher doubled, advanced to third on a fly out, then scored on a dribbler through the Growlers infield playing in. Kalamazoo threatened in the next half inning as conditions worsened. Anthony Calarco walked to begin the frame, then Luke Storm and Stephen Cullen roped back-to-back singles to load the bases. Lamb buckled down, striking out Devin Burkes then forcing two pop-outs to escape the jam.
However, that would be the last for the freshman lefty from Oklahoma, who was on a pitch limit. After 66 through four innings, Lamb’s day was done, and Kalamazoo took it to reliever Austin Edwards. In what was now a full-on storm, Edwards walked Goodes and Satchell Wilson, and the pair executed a slick double steal with the corner infielders charging in when Blake Dunn showed bunt. Dunn hit a high chopper towards third, and Goodes headed home. Lakeshore third baseman Brennan Bales fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw was off-line, and Goodes avoided the tag from catcher Stephen Hrustich to tie the game.
The floodgates, both literally and metaphorically, were open. Anthony Calarco walked, then Luke Storm hit a sacrifice fly to score Wilson. Cullen plated Dunn with his fourth hit in two days, and to top it all off, Damon Lux hit a bullet down the left field line to score Calarco and Cullen, who had been out of the KZoo lineup for the past few days with food poisoning, but looked 100% booking it all the way from first. After five and a half, it was 5-1 Kalamazoo.
Knapp went back out for the bottom of the fifth, and it was dumping buckets of rain. There were puddles in front of the mound and in the stands, although the all-turf field had no problems. However, the Lakeshore hitters weren’t fond of the drizzle, and seemed dejected after the Growlers’ big inning. They swung early and often, and a quick 1-2-3 ended the frame, and eventually the game. After a 30-minute rain delay, the game was called.
Kalamazoo sits at 8-12 after the win, moving up to fourth in the Great Lakes East division. The Growlers attempt to continue the hot streak against the Bombers tomorrow at C.O. Brown Stadium. First pitch is at 6:35.