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Growlers Wrap Up Season with Win over Chinooks

MEQUON, WI – The Kalamazoo Growlers completed their second season in the Northwoods League on a high note, defeating the Lakeshore Chinooks 6-2 on Sunday afternoon at Kapco Park.

The Growlers finish the summer 17-55, including 9-30 in the second half of the season. The Chinooks fall to an even .500 in 2015, finishing 36-36 and 19-21 in the second half.

Andrew Shepherd (Jackson College, 1-4) pitched a gem in his final start for Kalamazoo, allowing two runs on three hits in 5.1 innings. He walked two, hit one, and struck out four on 101 pitches. Jake Tuttle (UW-Milwaukee, 3-3) took the loss in his only start of the year for Lakeshore, allowing three runs on three hits in two innings. Alex Kuisel (Academy of Art) nailed down the win with 3.2 scoreless innings in relief.

Kalamazoo jumped on Tuttle in the second inning to the tune of three runs. Jordan Stading (Houston) led off with a double and eventually scored on a double play with the bases loaded. John Soteropulos (California) ripped a single to plate another run, then after a walk to Johnny Ruiz (Miami), Angelo Armenta (USC) laced a base hit to bring home Soteropulos and make it 3-0.

Shepherd cruised through the early part of his outing, taking a no-hitter into the fifth before Lucas Raley (Lake Erie College) doubled to lead off the fifth. After a popout and a groundout, Andrew Shaps (Arizona State) singled home Raley to break up the shutout. David Edson (USC) walked to bring up Anthony Massicci (Canisius), who knocked another run home with a base hit. The throw home allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to move into scoring position, but Shepherd buckled down and induced a groundout from Zarley Zalewski (Kent State) to keep the game at 3-2.

The Growlers got those runs back immediately in the sixth. New Lakeshore pitcher Teddy Klingsporn (Luther College) loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batsman, bringing Lincoln Voss (Augustana College) onto the hill. Voss got Armenta to hit a weak flyball to right field that turned into a rare 9-2 fielder’s choice as Raley ousted Drew Farmer (Western Michigan) at the plate on a forceout.

Up came Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois), who was looking to finish his final Growlers season in style. The Pekin, IL native came through with a scorching double down the left field line to plate two. Fletcher also drove in one more run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly to give the game its final margin.

Fletcher’s 1-for-4 day extended his season-ending hitting streak to 17 games, during which he batted .324 (23-for-67) with four doubles, five runs, and 12 RBIs. Soteropulos scored three times for Kalamazoo, who salvaged a season split with the Chinooks despite being outscored 42-19 over the eight games.

Massicci and Shaps each went 1-for-4 with a run driven in for the now-dethroned defending league champion Chinooks.

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, 120 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 (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit http://www.northwoodsleague.com