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Published On: July 13th, 2014


Honkers get a strong start from Bower but they drop their second-straight in extras

(Rochester, Minn.)– The Honkers lose their second-straight to their Kalamazoo opponents, 8-7, in extra innings.

The game got off to a flying start in the first inning after a two-out double from Karl Sorenson (St. Cloud State) put runners on second base for Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh) with Ryan Bower (Allan Hancock College) on the mound for the Honkers. Yarnall singled in the first run, giving the Growlers the first lead of the ballgame, 1-0.

The Honkers and Corey Hassel (Oklahoma State) countered quickly in the bottom of the first inning with a run of their own off Ryan Smoyer (Notre Dame), the league’s leader in wins. Hassel hit his fourth home run of the season – all four have come at Mayo Field.

In the second, the Honkers grabbed another run on a single from Alex Schultz (Nebraska Omaha), moving the Honkers into the lead, 2-1.

Both Smoyer and Bower pitched well enough to keep the score stuck at 2-1 until the bottom of the sixth. The Honkers added a third run on a single dumped in between Growlers second baseman Ryan Spaulding (Ball State) and right fielder Jared Kujawa (Western Michigan) from Honkers catcher Parker Guinn (Washington). Smoyer’s night was finished after six innings; he allowed three runs on 10 hits and four walks. Smoyer was left on the hook for the loss.

Bower finished his first start of the summer after seven spectacular innings. Bower allowed just one run on five hits and three walks and struck out six Growlers. Nick Highberger (Creighton) came on in the top of the eighth to relieve Bower.

Highberger ran into some trouble in the eighth, though. The Growlers got the tying run to second base with just one out after a deep double from Spaulding. Kujawa followed Spaulding with a two-run triple to the right center field gap and tied the game at three. Yarnall dropped a single among the three converging Honkers in short left field to score the go-ahead run, grabbing the lead for the Growlers, 4-3. Highberger walked the next batter he faced forcing Honkers field manager Matt Bowman to call on reliever Carl Jameson (Missouri Baptist).

Jameson inherited runners on first and second base with two outs.

Jameson allowed Jesse Puscheck (Canisius College) to single hard to right field and despite a close play at the plate and the Growlers added to their lead, 5-3.

Jordan Smith (Minnesota) singled in a run to get the Honkers back in the ballgame in the eighth. Eventually, the bases were loaded with just one out for Hassel. Hassel has one go-ahead grand slam already this season, but reliever Nick Wernke (West Virginia) struck out Hassel and coaxed Connor Schaefbauer (Minnesota) to ground up the middle, playable for quick 4-6 putout, ending the threat to Kalamazoo’s lead.

In the top of the ninth with Jameson still on the mound, a home run from Troy Montgomery (Ohio State) put the Growlers ahead by three runs. But the resilient Honkers mounted another rally in the bottom of the ninth for a second consecutive day, this time they’d complete the comeback.

With two outs, Smith stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and the Honkers trailing 7-4. Smith worked the count full and singled sharply into the left field corner, scoring all three Honkers baserunners and tying the game at seven, sending the game to extra innings.

An inning later, Schaefbauer led off with a double, but the Honkers could not push him across the plate. The Growlers began the 11th with a lead-off double of their own from Spaulding – his third hit of the afternoon, this time off reliever Brandon Stennis (Doane College). Spaulding scored on a fielder’s choice from Yarnall, and the lead belonged to Kalamazoo once more, 8-7.

Eric Hall (Chicago State) pitched around a walk and stolen base in the bottom of the 11th to clinch the afternoon’s ballgame. The loss is the Honkers’ second-straight, now 5-8 in the second half of the season.

The Honkers play next on Tuesday when they’ll host the Mankato MoonDogs at Mayo Field for a 1:05 p.m. first pitch. Honkers’ All-Star left-handed pitcher Matt Kent is set to pitch Tuesday’s day game, one of his final starts before his trip to Mequon, Wis., for the NWL All-Star Game. For ticket information for Tuesday’s contest, visit 


The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET), Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel.  For more information,