Clarke, Mangrum and Coleman all Hit for Extra Bases in Eight-Run Eighth
Tim Hackett, Broadcasting Intern
Kalamazoo, Mich.- Saturday night, the Kalamazoo Growlers turned in a big eighth inning to nearly mount a big comeback. Their effort fell one run short. Sunday afternoon, the Wisconsin Woodchucks turned in an even bigger eighth inning to pull off an impressive comeback of their own. The Woodchucks (14-19) trailed 5-2 going into the eighth, but scored eight runs and left it with a five-run lead. Kalamazoo (8-24) could not come back, and the Woodchucks held on for a 10-6 win, their fourth win in a row, sending the Growlers skidding to their fifth straight loss in the process.
Stevie Mangrum got his first off day of the year Saturday, and he quickly picked up where he left off Sunday, lifting his 11th home run of the year in the first and doubling and scoring in the third to make it 2-0 Wisconsin. Tyler Drabick locked it down from there, and it would be a while before the Woodchucks scored again.
Meanwhile, Payton Coffman pitched three solid innings in his first start of the year, but the Growlers got to him in the fourth. The first four men all reached and scored on a walk, two singles and a double, highlighted by Matt Koehler’s RBI two-bagger to make it 4-2. The lead became three in the fifth when Mitch Bigras singled and scored against Jackson Owens.
Owens worked around a single in the sixth and Hunter Coleman turned an unassisted double play at first to help get Kellen Rholl through the seventh. Zach Vitkuske pitched two scoreless innings for Kalamazoo, but ran into trouble in the eighth. With one out, Logan Foster singled and Chad Fleischman walked, and that was it for Vitkuske. Bryce Wellborn came in and promptly walked Brady Lindsly to load the bases and then walked Thomas Hughes to force home a run.
And that was just the beginning. Wellborn was replaced by closer Beau Ridgeway, who came in to try to get the final five outs. He didn’t even get one. With the bases still loaded, Trey Dawson drove in a run with a single, Tristan Clarke drove home two with a double, Mangrum drove home two with a double, Brylie Ware singled, and Coleman drove home two with a triple to right-center. Luke Schaefer came in and finally got the final two outs to end the eight-run frame.
Wisconsin threatened but couldn’t score in the ninth, and the Growlers got one back against Daniel Sprinkle when Michael Diffley doubled and scored, but they could not get closer. Sprinkle held firm to clinch the 10-6 Wisconsin win.
Wisconsin’s five-game road trip continues Monday night as they head out to Battle Creek for the first time this year. Korey Rasure will make his fourth start of the year, with first pitch at 6:05 CT.
Tickets are on sale to all Wisconsin Woodchucks home games and the 2017 Northwoods League Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, presented by Ascension. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 715.845.5055 or by stopping by the Woodchucks front office during normal business hours.