By David Keech
July 9, 2017
Wausau— The Wisconsin Woodchucks tallied 17 hits in a one-run loss Friday night. Saturday night, they tallied 11, but lost the game by eight. The longest outing by a pitcher against Wisconsin this year, backed up by 14 hits from his offense, led the Kalamazoo Growlers (13-25; 4-0) to a lopsided 13-5 victory over the Woodchucks (16-23; 1-3) Saturday at Athletic Park.
The Woodchucks had already seen Kalamazoo starter Tyler Drabick twice this season, but third time was the charm for the Growlers. Drabick threw eight strong innings and surrendered four runs, only two of which were earned. He allowed eight hits but didn’t walk anyone and struck out five, and his offense did more than enough to get him the win.
Facing Payton Coffman for the second time this year, the Growlers got off to a fast start with a two-RBI double by red-hot outfielder Matt Koehler in the first before Tristan Clarke brought one back for the Chucks in the bottom half when he singled and scored on an error. Kalamazoo got back ahead by two when Connor Hollis walked and scored in the third, but the Chucks bounced back in the bottom half when Stevie Mangrum doubled and scored on a single by Trey Dawson.
Just like on Friday, errors started costing the Chucks as the game wore on. Kalamazoo scored two unearned runs off Coffman in the fifth before Wisconsin got an unearned run of its own when Clarke scored to make it 5-3 after five.
Coffman departed and Beau Zeihen entered to make his debut. He worked around a walk in the sixth but got into trouble immediately in the seventh on a leadoff triple by Koehler. He would come home on a ball put in play by Christian Moya, and Kalamazoo would add two more runs, both unearned, off Zeihen to extend its lead to 8-3.
Wisconsin pulled one back in the bottom half when Brylie Ware singled to bring Clarke home for the third time, but the Growlers got right back to it in the eighth, scoring four times off Andreas Papageorge, highlighted by a two-RBI double by Ivan Estrella. Orsen Josephina came in to pitch the ninth and surrendered a leadoff homer to Hollis to make it 13-4. Wisconsin scored the final run on a pinch-hit RBI double from Yeager Taylor, but it was much too little, much too late in a 13-5 Growler win.
The Woodchucks will continue their season-long five-game homestand Sunday afternoon as the Battle Creek Bombers come to town for a two-game set. Korey Rasure will start for the Woodchucks with first pitch slated for 3:05 PM.
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 715.845.5055or by stopping by the Woodchucks front office during normal business hours.