Kalamazoo, Mich. — The Kalamazoo Growlers outhit the La Crosse Loggers, but that was about the only thing Joe Carbone's squad did better than the opposition in a 15-12 loss on Thursday night at Homer Stryker Field, as errors, walks and big flies sunk Kalamazoo a day after completing a sweep of the Loggers.
Danny Mokrzycki (St. Cloud State) went 0-2 on La Crosse leadoff hitter Aaron Knapp (Cal-Berkeley), but the left-hander fell behind and surrendered a walk. On the very next pitch, Nash Knight (Dallas Baptist) slugged a home run to left field.
Kalamazoo rebounded the next inning to take a 3-2 lead, capped by a bases-clearing double from L.K. Thompson (Florida International). However, a sacrifice fly and a two-run dinger gave the Loggers a 5-3 lead in the second. Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) hit a solo shot in that same inning to make it 5-4, but that was as close as the Growlers could make the deficit for the rest of the game.
Nick Wernke allowed two runs without surrendering a hit in the third frame, a portent of later sloppiness by the Growlers. Kalamazoo's pitchers surrendered nine walks in total. A five-run eighth inning truly sealed the victory for La Crosse, and an error by shortstop Alex Maloney (Ball State) with two outs in that inning left room for a three-run double by Loggers left fielder Ryan Kirby (San Diego).
The Growlers valiantly rallied in the eighth and ninth to narrow the deficit to 15-12, the six runs in those innings proved insufficient.
On Friday, the Growlers will be giving a mini-bobblehead of Detroit Tigers ace and defending A.L. Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to the first 500 fans. There will also be a flat-screen TV giveaway and fireworks, presented by Walmart-Sam's Club.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods 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, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit http://www.growlersbaseball.com.