KALAMAZOO, MI – Yesterday's day off for Nick Hutchins proved to be effective in today's 5-3 win over the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Hutchins ended the game 2-4 at the plate including a home run and also made a key defensive play in the eighth inning when he picked off a runner at third base to get out of the bases loaded jam.
Kalamazoo's bats got started quickly in today's game. They were able to get on the board in the second inning thanks to a David Hensley single that drove in Jordan Verdon. Kalamazoo shortstop, Connor Kopach, followed this up with a base knock of his own that Sam Griggs was able to cross home on to stretch the lead to 2-0.
Hutchins stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third inning and proved again why he was hitting in the clean up spot in the order. An 0-1 fastball by Jake Repavich was left over the heart of the plate and Hutchins made him pay by smashing a solo home run over the left field wall.
Wisconsin Rapids did not go away quietly, however. They were able to get two runs of their own in the top of the fourth inning on a two-run home run by Logan Mattix. The Rafters added another run in the sixth inning off of a solo shot by Ben Fisher.
The tie score lasted until the bottom of the eighth inning when Hutchins got the hits going with a double off of the third base bag. Camden Duzenack got on base following the double due to an error by third baseman Jon Meola. Brandon Gomez was able to drive both runners in when he muscled a ball off of his fists and flared it into right field to drive in the winning runs and give the Growlers a 5-3 lead.
Jacob Piechota got his first start on the mound for the Growlers in this one. Piechota pitched seven innings and allowed three runs on nine hits while striking out two. Clayton Whelchel and Austin Rodesky came in and threw two scoreless innings of relief and each earned a strikeout.
The Growlers will be playing in a double header tomorrow against the Battle Creek Bombers. The first game will begin at 11:05 a.m. EDT at C.O. Brown Stadium and the second one will be back at Homer Stryker Field at 7:05 p.m. EDT for Make a Difference Monday presented by Kalamazoo Municipal Golf Association. Half of all walkup sales benefit Kalamazoo Junior Golf.
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, more than 140 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 (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.