Spitters Squander Early Lead, Drop Game One

KALAMAZOO, MI – In game one of the 2022 Northwoods League Playoffs, the Traverse City Pit Spitters dropped the series opener 5-4 to the Kalamazoo Growlers.

In a best-of-3 series, the Pit Spitters need to win the next two games to stay alive and advance.

Sam Tackett got the scoring started in a big way early. In the top of the second, Tackett took a 2-0 pitch over the left field wall for a no-doubt home run. It was his second of the season and first of the playoffs.

Kalamazoo got one run back on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the third, making the score 2-1. But in the top of the fourth, the Pit Spitters struck for another pair of runs. Evan Orzech tripled into the right field corner to score a run. He came around on Brennen Dorighi’s infield single, making it 4-1 Traverse City.

The Growlers tacked one on with a single in the bottom of the fifth and made it a one-run game with a two out solo home run in the sixth.

Aren Gustafson led the way on the mound. The midseason and postseason All-Star tallied five strikeouts in five innings. He allowed two runs on four hits and three walks. He left the game in line for the victory but ended up with a no decision.

Kalamazoo would take their first lead of the game in the bottom of the seventh. Swinging on 3-0, Anthony Stephan hit a two-out, two-run homer to right field, giving his team a 5-4 lead. That would prove to be the difference in the game.

The Pit Spitters had their chances in the game. They had second and third with just one out in the sixth. An infield popout and strikeout would halt the potential rally. They put the tying run on base in the ninth but struck out to end the game.

Box Score

Up Next 

With its back against the wall, Traverse City turns to Aaron Forrest (4-1, 2.57) for game two at home. First pitch at Turtle Creek Stadium is 7:05. Grab your tickets here.

The Traverse City Pit Spitters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Now in its’ 29th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, 300 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at and on ESPN+. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Pit Spitters as your favorite team.