KALAMAZOO MI. – Kalamazoo entered the 8th inning trailing the Green Bay Bullfrogs 3-1. Up until the 8th inning the Growlers’ offense was anemic, and unable to get the offense going. This change in the 8th inning, however, as Kalamazoo’s staged a furious comeback against Bullfrogs’ starting pitcher Michael Bohlke. Bohlke had only given up 5 hits and a single run in 7 innings of work. Unfortunately for the Bullfrogs Bohlke was unable to get an out in the 8th inning allowing 3 straight singles to Ryan Orr, Michael Diffley, and Jack Duffy. Duffy’s single drove in Ryan Orr giving Kalamazoo their second run of the ballgame and knocking Bohlke out of the game. Jake Esp came in for relief of Bohlke, however, he did not fare much better than Bohlke as he gave up the game tying RBI single to Connor Hollis and the game winning sacrifice fly to Drew Huff. Esp was able to get the next 3 Growlers out in order preventing more runs from being scored, but the damage was already done as Kalamazoo held on for the 4-3 comeback victory.
Kalamazoo’s starter, Tyler Drabick, did not have his usual stuff in tonight’s game. He was constantly getting behind in counts, and could not seem to throw first pitch strikes. Drabick’s lack of consistency hurt the Growlers’ as he gave up 2 earned runs in the first 2 innings. Drabick battled through this adversity, and even though he did not have his best stuff in tonight’s game he kept the Growlers’ in the game as he threw 5.0 innings only allowing 2 earned runs.
The Growlers’ struggling bullpen came through in tonight’s game. Joey Knapp entered the game in the 6th inning and pitched 2.0 innings allowing an earned run with 3 strikeouts. Hayden Brauser came in to relieve Knapp in the 8th and pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout and got the win as well. Finally, Walter Talcott got the save in the 9th as he threw a 1,2,3 inning shutting down the Green Bay offense.
The offensive standout for Kalamazoo include Michael Diffley who went 3-4 with a double, a RBI, and a run scored. The leadoff man for Kalamazoo has been out recently with a sore left wrist and tonight’s game was his second game back. The offense will hopefully get back into its groove with Diffley back in the lineup. For Green Bay, Kyle Benyo had a fantastic game. He was 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs, a walk, and a monster homerun off Joey Knapp in the 7th inning. Troy Johnston also had a good game for the Bullfrogs as he went 3 for 5 with a RBI and a run scored. Johnston has been red hot against Kalamazoo so far this season as he has hit 8-10 overall in 2 games versus Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo will finish the series against Green Bay tomorrow at Homer Stryker Field. Tomorrow’s game is a 3 o’clock start time and is the final game of the Growlers’ brief 2 game homestand.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate 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, more than 180 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). 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.