The Loggers opened up their 2014 season at home against the Wisconsin Woodchucks Tuesday Night at Copeland Park with a dominating 14-6 victory. In front of a crowd of 2,787 and after a ten minute weather delay, the Loggers and opening day starter and Holmen native, Ben Cejka (UW- La Crosse), showed that they were back in 2014 for some payback after narrowly missing the playoffs in both the first and second halves of the season last year.
The Woodchucks did strike first however as designated hitter, Ryan Donovan belted the first home run at Copeland Park in 2014 in the top half of the 2nd inning.
Cejka settled down however and finished the night pitching 6 innings, allowing 3 earned runs, and striking out 5.
In the bottom half of the 2nd inning La Crosse went to work. Left fielder Taylor Kohlwey (UW- La Crosse) singled home designated hitter Cameron Balough (Judson University), and two batters later, Kohlwey would come around to score on Woodchucks’ starter Logan Sawyer’s wild pitch. Later in the inning center fielder Mike Nadratowski (Grand Valley State) would ground out to the 2nd basemen but it would plate right fielder Ryan Kirby (San Diego), giving the Loggers a 3-1 lead after two.
The Loggers would tack another run on in the fourth, and would explode for five more runs in the 5th. With the bases loaded Balough singled and two runs would come in but when pitch runner Aaron Knapp (California) tried to go from first to third on the play, catcher Jack Klages threw the ball over the third basemen’s head and into the outfield, also plating Knapp on the play and giving the Loggers a 6-1 lead. The next batter in the inning was Kirby and he singled to center plating Balough. Kirby would score on a Kohlwey grounder later in the inning.
The Loggers would continue to eat up the Woodchucks bullpen as Wisconsin pitched seven pitchers on the night including center fielder Curtis Bussard in the bottom of the eighth.
With the game in command, Loggers’ field manager Jason Nell turned the final three innings over to his bullpen. Ryan Deemes (Nicholls State) pitched two solid innings, while Grant Yost (Sacramento City CC) did allow a three- run homer but was able to close the door in the ninth.
The Loggers and Woodchucks conclude a two-game series Wednesday night at Copeland Park with the first pitch slated for 7:05.