KALAMAZOO, MI – Another walk-off hit for Niko Kavadas (Notre Dame) carried the Growlers to their third win in a row. Kavadas was the player of the night, tallying all three of Kalamazoo’s RBIs against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters including the walk-off to center field. Starting pitcher Kyle Virbisky was dealing on the mound with no runs scored in 6.0 innings pitched tonight.
To start the evening, Ivan Johnson got on base courtesy of an error by Wisconsin Rapid’s first baseman. Johnson later got out on a fielder’s choice from Sam Crail, but during the rundown, Crail advanced to second base to put him in scoring position. Baron Radcliff moved Crail over to third and Kavadas then stepped up to the plate. His single to right field easily scored Crail making the score 1-0 in the bottom of the first.
Kavadas was the man again in the bottom of the third, scoring Johnson from second base on a single to center field making the score 2-0 in favor of the Growlers. The Rapids Rafters remained down by two into the top of the eighth inning, when Kalamazoo pitcher Jeff Burch gave up a solo home run to Jarrod Watkins to cut the Growlers lead in half.
In the top of the ninth inning, Growlers pitcher Mason Shinabery entered to attempt the save. Brody Wofford then hit a single to right field to start it for Wisconsin. Wofford then moved to second base on a sac bunt by Steven Rivas. Wofford advanced himself by stealing third base, then scored on a sac fly by Matt Schmidt tying the ballgame at two apiece.
The Growlers then got on base in the bottom of the ninth when Jonathan Foster got a single to center-field. Field Manager Piechocki then put Donovan Clark in as a pinch runner. Clark quickly stold second base to put the winning run in scoring position. After two strike outs by Rafters pitcher Mason McReaken, Niko Kavadas stepped up to the plate and walked it off with a double to center-field to score Donovan Clark from second base.
The Growlers are back in action against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters again tomorrow night for Pride Night with OutFront Kalamazoo. First pitch is at 7:05 PM.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Entering its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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, 190 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.growlersbaseball.com 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.