The La Crosse Loggers have now won four games in a row and six of their last seven as they defeated the Kalamazoo Growlers 13-5 in front of 3,690 fans at Copeland Park Friday evening.
The Loggers however, would have to fight back from behind as the Growlers plated two runs in the top of the second and took the lead 2-0. La Crosse would score four runs in the bottom of the third. Catcher, Adrian Chacon (North Carolina), hit an RBI single to score Kevin Zak (Grand Valley State). Next batter, Jerrod Bravo (Sacramento City CC) would then single home right fielder, Luke Persico (UCLA). Nick Kanavas (Arizona) came up next and singled home Chacon. Bravo would score later in the inning on a wild pitch.
The first ever meeting between the two teams had fireworks during and after the game, as benches cleared in the fourth inning over a potential Growlers' home run that was called off. It all started when Kalamazoo DH, Jalen Phillips (Duke), hit what looked to be a two-run home run over the cabins in right center field to pull the Growlers within one run. As Phillips rounded the bases he forgot to touch home plate. The Loggers' coaching staff noticed this, and ordered Loggers' starter Ty Provencher (Long Beach State) and Chacon to appeal the play. After the appeal was made, home plate umpire Jose Martin, ruled Phillips out. Immediately, Kalamazoo manager, Joe Carbone, argued the call. As he argued with Martin, Growlers' players began to jaw towards the Loggers' dugout, which lead to both dugouts to rush onto the field. Bullpens cleared as well. Once all the choas was eliminated, Carbone continued to argue with Martin, who procedded to eject Carbone from the game.
Once all the dust settled, the Loggers had a 5-3 lead going into the home half of the fourth inning.
The Loggers would add three more runs in the bottom of the sixth as Zak hit home center fielder Jack Meggs (Washington), and newly activated second basemen, Brody Weiss (UC-Santa Barbara) on an RBI single. Persico would also hit a sacrifice fly to score shortstop, Nash Knight (Dallas Baptist) to make the score 8-4 La Crosse.
Finally, the Lumbermen broke it open in the bottom of the eighth. After Knight scored on a bases loaded walk, Aaron Knapp (California) stepped to the plate with the bases still juiced. Knapp crushed an offering from Growlers reliever Jevon Boyd (Kaskaskia College) for the Loggers' first grand slam of the year and it increased the Loggers lead to 13-5.
Reliever/first basemen, Marc Frazier (Nicholls State), pitched the final 2.2 innings to close the game out for the Loggers.
The Loggers and Growlers will resume their series tomorrow night at the Lumberyard. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 pm.