Kalamazoo Growlers Win 2022 Northwoods Championship
With an 8 to 3 win, the Kalamazoo Growlers are the 2022 Northwoods League World Series Champions for the first time in franchise history. After a season where the playoff birth was clinched by taking First Place in the Great Lakes Division in the first half of the season, the entire league had expected The Growlers to get bounced and swept by the Traverse City Pit Spitters. The Growlers entered the post-season the lowest ranked team, but shocked the league making it all the way to the Championships.
The last time a Kalamazoo Pro team won a championship was the K Wings back in 2006. There will be a gathering at Homer Stryker Field starting at 10 a.m. for the Northwoods League/Great Lakes Division Champion Growlers to congratulate them on a historic season after everyone but themselves and our city counted them out and never gave them a chance. The bus is expected to arrive between 11 a.m. & Noon a.m..Here's a rundown from the game:
It was a thrilling game from the first inning as the Growlers took the field. It was 3 up, 3 down for the Growlers in the 1st inning, who battled back in the bottom half to hold the first two batters for Duluth at 2nd & 3rd. A strikeout and two pop outs let to the end of the first.
It was a strong top of the 2nd, where the Growlers took a quick 1-0 lead, eventually turning into a 3-0 lead after they got lucky with a bad bounce for the Huskies in the outfield. A bases loaded hit drove in the two runs with the play ending with a tag out at 3rd. The Huskies got on base again quick in the bottom of the 2nd, but a stolen base that was over-slid led to the final out of the inning, leaving them scoreless.
The Growlers lead off hitter was beaned to start the inning, which led to Huskies Pitcher Devin Dodson being pulled from the mound. After getting runners on 2nd & 3rd, the Huskies held the Growlers scoreless in the 3rd.
A pop up, and 2 nice catches from Anthony Stephan at 2nd base made it a quick, scoreless half for the Huskies
A slow top half of the inning seemed like it was going to come to a scoreless end with two men on, but a infield hit couldn't be completed for a 3rd out at first, leading to a run scored off a ball that popped out of the glove making the tag. This lead to an RBI single once again leaving runners at the corners with a 5-0 lead for the Growlers. A third out pickle-play led to the 6th run scored by the Growlers.
Huskies unable to get on base maintaining a 6-0 deficit after 4.
The Growlers and Huskies once again both held scoreless in a long 5th inning, which ended with a beautiful diving catch by Growlers Right Fielder Miles Beale.
Isaac Rohde started off with a faster pace on the mound which seemed to intimidate the Growlers batters at first, but a bad play in the infield led to the batter eventually scoring making it 7-0, and a later batter beaned led to bases loaded. Rohde was able to retire the side.
Painter for the Huskies got them their 3rd hit of the game with a 2-out single, and after a walk and single, the Huskies were able to get on the scoreboard with a run, but a force out at 2nd base ended the inning 7-1.
After two ground outs, two singles had men on first & second but a fly-out retired the side.
A quick out was followed by a beaned batter, leading to a single, moving the Huskies to men on the corners with one out. A deep infield single lead to a scored run giving the Huskies another run, and runners at first and second. After a strikeout and an infield pop out, the Growlers held the lead 7-2 going into the 8th.
The Growlers got hit with a double play, then hit for a double, before getting retired with a ground out to first.
Huskies grounded out, then Rosario almost hit a home run, but the effort of the Growlers left fielder kept it in the park, leading to a double for the Huskies. After a brief wellness check, Growlers pitcher dug in and struck out the next two batters to retire the side.
The Growlers got a lucky hopper infield hit leading to a lead off single for the team's 15th hit. A sac bunt led to a force out at 2nd base for out one. A walk led to runners on first and second. Dykstra, the lead off hitter for the Growlers, stayed disciplined at the plate drawing a walk to load the bases for Vince Bianchina. Bianchina hit it deep to right field for the out, but the Growlers able to tag and score to make it 8-2.
The Huskies entered into the bottom half with a lead off double. A big hit in the gap drove in a run but the runner over slid 3rd base, getting tagged for out #1. A ground out led to out 2. And with a 3rd ground out, THE GROWLERS WIN!
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