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Published On: June 20th, 2023

LA CROSSE, WI – After putting themselves in a hole early, the La Crosse Loggers showed their fight on Tuesday night as they tried to overcome the Huskies. Their effort unfortunately came up just short, taking the game all the way to its thrilling conclusion.

Duluth plated two runs in the top of the first. A triple by Max Coupe drove in one and a single by Brylan West drove in another. After one half inning, the score was 2-0. The Loggers would put up a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning as a bases-loaded walk would score one. Bases-loaded walks have become somewhat of a theme over the past few games. After one frame, the score was 2-1, Duluth.

Husky scoring would resume in the fourth inning. Michael Hallquist would advance to first on an error, Tyler Leroy would double, and Joshua Duarte would drive in two runs with a double of his own. A bobble in right field on the play would push the Logger error count to two. The next batter would walk before Brandon Compton advanced to first on an error in left field. Brylan west would single, bringing in one and a sacrifice fly would bring in the fourth run of the inning. All four runs were unearned, implying that without the three errors in the inning, none of them would have happened.

After the errors and some defensive positional shake-ups, the Huskies were ready to hit again in the fifth. Brandon Compton stepped up to the plate and blasted a three-run home run to right field that everyone knew immediately was gone. The score was now 9-1 and the Loggers were playing from behind once again.

After giving up seven unanswered runs, it was time for the Loggers offense to get something going. In the bottom of the fifth, the Loggers would score three on hits by Ben Zeigler-Namoa (Hawaii), Austin Smith (San Diego), and Mitch Wood (Yavapai College). Another run would score in the sixth off the bat of Smith as well. The score was now 9-5 after six.

Jordan Donahue (Hawaii) stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with two runners on. On an 0-2 count, he got the jump on a ball and crushed it to right field for what looked like a three-run homer. Two Loggers waltzed home while Donahue stood on second. The Husky defense had collected the ball and thrown it back into the infield. The umpires had never signaled for a home run. The officiating crew got together to discuss the play and ultimately decided that the play would stand as a two RBI double, not a home run. Fans at Copeland Park were livid, but upon watching the replay, it was clear that the ball had hit the top of the wall and bounced back into the ball park. The umpires had made the correct call, but few of the Logger faithful saw it that way. Nevertheless, the score was now 9-7 and the Loggers were back in the fight.

Just as things seemed hopeful for the Lumbermen, the Huskies scored four insurance runs across the eighth and ninth innings on a hit by Caleb Corbin, a wild pitch, yet another Logger error, and a balk. As quickly as it had seemed that the Loggers were charging toward the lead, hope was snatched right from their grasp and the score had become 13-7 entering the bottom of the ninth.

With a lead well-intact, Duluth sent out position player Caleb Corbin to pitch the final frame. After allowing the first Logger on base via the walk, things got a lot more interesting as Mitch Wood hit a home run of his own to deep left field, cutting the lead to four runs. Corbin would walk two more batters and a Husky error would load the bases, putting the tying run at the plate. The tension was palpable as the Huskies debated whether or not to keep Corbin on the mount. Eventually, the Husky manager decided that it was time to bring in his fifth reliever of the game now that the game was not as secure. After the pitching change, Gable Mitchell (Iowa) would score on a wild pitch and Jordan Donahue would score on yet another Austin Smith base-hit to cut the lead to two, but it would not be enough as Eli Sundquist would end the game with a strikeout, secure a save, and most-importantly, secure the win for Duluth.

With a final score of 13-11 in favor of the Huskies, they improve to a very respectable 12-8 and remain in close contention with the Rochester Honkers for first place in the Great Plains East. The Loggers fall to 6-14 to remain in last place. The Loggers will head to Eau Claire for a double-header on June 21st before heading back home on the 22nd.

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