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Published On: April 28th, 2023

Kalamazoo, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers have quietly been recruiting their 2023 team as they look to defend their 2022 Northwoods League championship. With big expectations coming into the 2023 campaign, the defending champs have loaded up their pitching staff looking to dominate on the mound. The team sees the return of plenty of arms from last season including their captain.


Eamon Horwedel: RHP – University of Michigan
Eamon enters his fourth and final year with the Growlers. Serving as the closer for most of the 2022 season, Eamon is the captain of this Growlers team. The side-armer started the Great Lakes Championship game as well as recorded the final out in the Northwoods League World Series.

Mason Meeks: RHP – Drury University
Meeks is a madman on the mound. Meeks started six games during the regular season in 2022 and moved to the bullpen for the Growlers playoff run. If you hear “K him!” yelled from the dugout, you can assume it’s the voice of Meeks.

Tyler Johnson: RHP – Alma College
The 6’5″ righty was a dominant force in the Growlers bullpen last season. Johnson often served as the Growlers set-up man in the 8th inning. During the playoffs, Johnson struck out eight batters in just 6 2/3 innings and didn’t allow a single run.

Logan Bursick-Harrington: RHP – Davenport University
Another big piece of the Growlers bullpen from 2022 returns. Bursick-Harrington often appeared for the Growlers in late innings on nights when Johnson or Horwedel weren’t available. Bursick-Harringotn didn’t allow a run over his last seven appearances including the playoffs.

Tanner Knapp: RHP – Ball State University
“Knapp time” returns to Homer Stryker Field. The Mattawan native and 2021 Northwoods League All-Star returns for season number three with the Growlers. Expect Knapp to once again be one of the premier starting pitchers for Kalamazoo this season.

Kyle Salley: LHP – Georgetown University
Salley is the kind of player you love to have on your team. The lefty has been a constant in the clubhouse for the Growlers as 2023 will be his third straight season with the team. Salley is a fan favorite for his personality and dedication to entertaining fans.

Carson Byers: LHP – Miami (OH) University
Byers enters his second season with the Growlers but is. a lifelong Growler. Byers has been around the organization since the team’s first season where his family served as a host family and his mom works for the team. Byers showed no fear on the mound as an 18 year-old last season.

Jared Berkenpas: RHP – Grand Rapids CC
Berkenpas was the winning pitcher in the 2022 Northwoods League World Series game. He brings back experience on the mound for the Growlers and has seen high intensity action.

Jake Paymaster: LHP Purdue Fort Wayne
Paymaster was a late addition to the Growlers roster last summer. While seeing limited action, he knows what it takes to win a championship.

Travis Densmore: LHP Oakland University
The Mesa, AZ native was only with the Growlers during the middle part of the 2022 season. He adds left-handed arm to the Growlers pitching staff.

Cam Hunter: RHP – University of Antelope Valley
Hunter never made an appearance for the Growlers in 2022 after being added to the roster very late in the season. He was however an energy guy for the team. His infectious positivity boosted the Growlers clubhouse during their championship run.

New Additions:

Tanner Ware: LHP – Freshman, Oakland University
Luke Vrable: RHP – Freshman, Bellevue College
Ian Bauer: LHP – Freshman, Centralia College
Ryun Cross: LHP – Junior, Long Island University
Noah Keller: LHP – Freshman, Cornell University
James Geshel: RHP – Sophomore, Western Michigan University
Grayson Makranyi: RHP – Junior, Indiana University
Curran Jacobs: RHP – Senior Pierce College
Dakoda West: RHP – Freshman, Utah Tech University
Jake O’Connell: RHP – Sophomore, Montevallo College
Zac Olesuk: RHP – Freshman, Almo College
Joe Wade: RHP – Freshman, Kalamazoo College



The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Now in its’ 29th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, 300 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at and on ESPN+. For more information, visit 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.