Huskies go 3-4 over week six
Duluth, Minn - The Northwoods League's 2nd half of the season has officially gotten underway, and while the Huskies finished the 1st half in last place, they have gotten off to a solid 3-0 start to begin the 2nd half. The team also recently made history when they shut out the Willmar Stingers in back to back games; the first time the Huskies have shut out a team in back to back games since 2009.
Last Friday the Huskies went up against the Border Cats in the 2nd of a two-game series. The Huskies loaded the bases with no outs for Ramon Enriquez in their half of the 1st inning on a Meckler double, a Ford walk, and a Guzman HBP. He would hit into a fielder's choice that allowed Meckler to score and give Duluth a 1-0 lead. Thunder Bay scored their first run of the game in the top of the 2nd to tie it at 1 with a Thomas Grilli RBI single that scored Andrew Shebloski from 2nd base. Dane Morrow would go on to retire the next six straight Border Cats to keep the score locked at 1-1 through the first 4 innings. Andrew Shebloski was able to extend the Border Cats' lead to 3 when he tripled home Conor Allard and Alexander Hernandez in the 6th inning. Thomas Grilli then brought Andrew Shebloski home afterward with a sac fly to Matt Hogan in left field to make it 5-1 advantage Thunder Bay. Three more runs would be scored by Thunder Bay from an error, a triple, and a single. Neither team would score the rest of the night as the Border Cats won by a final score of 8-1.
The next night Duluth traveled to Eau Claire for a quick weekend series at Carson Park. Alec Baker issued four straight walks to start the ballgame; bringing home the leadoff hitter Wade Meckler to give Duluth a 1-0 lead. Baker would immediately exit the game after those four walks as Jack Brown would take over for Eau Claire with no outs and the bases loaded. Brown would pitch out of the jam to leave the Huskies with a one-run advantage. Justin Moore singled to center field for his second hit in as many days to bring home Collin Hopkins and extend Duluth's lead to 2 and then gave Duluth another run with a pop fly to deep center field that allowed Wade Meckler to cross home. Ramon Enriquez kept the runs coming with a 2-run home run that made it 5-0. The Express would put runners on 2nd and 3rd on a walk and a double to start their half of the 3rd inning. Brandon Dieter and Sam Kohnle would proceed to hit back to back triples off of Cole Milam to cut Duluth's lead to two runs.
In the 4th inning, the Express exploded for 10 runs off of Troy Newell who was replaced by Keaton Carattini to get the last out of the inning. Eau Claire loaded the bases at least a half dozen times in the inning as they logged hit after hit and also walked multiple times. After Tyler Lozano took the mound, Troy Beilsmith would come around to score on a 2-out RBI double from Brandon Dieter, making it a 10-run ballgame. Duluth found the scoreboard in the top of the 9th inning when Ramon Enriquez logged his 3rd RBI of the night with a single into left field that scored Justin Moore to give the Huskies their 6th run. But the game would end shortly after as the Express won 15-6.
The next day the Huskies suffered a heartbreaking loss to Eau Claire when they scored 6 runs all in the bottom of the 9th inning for an incredible comeback victory. Duluth struck first in the top of the 2nd when Alvarado walked three Huskies to load the bases with no outs for Matt Hogan. Hogan would draw another walk to bring home the leadoff hitter Ramon Enriquez to grab a quick 1-0 lead, and Nic Kent would lead off the 3rd inning with his second home run of the year that gave Duluth a 2-0 lead. Xavier Bussey and Matt Hogan both found their way into scoring position with two outs for the Huskies' leadoff hitter Wade Meckler. He would hit a single into shallow left field to bring home Bussey and extend Duluth's lead to 3. Matt Hogan, who advanced to 3rd on Meckler's single, crossed home on a passed ball to make it 4-0 Huskies. Duluth got back on the board after Xavier Bussey and Justin Moore hit back to back singles to start the top half of the 8th. Matt Hogan would take advantage of a runner in scoring position with an RBI double to the warning track that brought home Bussey and advanced Moore to 3rd. Then in the bottom of the 9th, after Mason Bryant issued two walks to start the inning, Nick Lopez doubled off the wall in right field to score 2 runs, and another run would be scored off the bat of Matt Bottcher to make it 5-3. Tim Holdgrafer would then come in to try and shut down the Express. But Phillip Sikes would bring home Lopez on a groundout to make it a one-run game. After two more walks and a single, Troy Beilsmith doubled down the left field line to walk it off 6-5.
On Monday the Huskies returned to Wade Stadium and began a two-game set versus the St. Cloud Rox. A Collin Hopkins double and a Wade Meckler single in the bottom half of the 3rd put runners on the corners with one out for Nic Kent. Kent would hit a hard ground ball to Freddy Achecar at 1st base who would step on first and fire to home to try and nail Hopkins, but he would beat out the throw to put Duluth up by a run. With Garrett Delano on 1st base with two outs, Achecar hit a line drive that ricocheted off the glove of the second baseman Christian Kirkley who was shifted into shallow right field. Delano would be able to cross home plate on the triple and make it a tie game at 1-1. The Rox scratched two runs across to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the 5th when with runners on the corners with 2 outs, Jordan Barth lined a 2 RBI double to the foul pole in left field.
Garett Delano and Hance Smith would then both walk to load the bases for Freddy Achecar who tripled in the Rox's 3rd run of the evening. Then another run would be walked home extend St. Cloud's lead to 3. Gus Steiger would hit a high infield chopper that scored Zack Elliot to give the Rox their 5th run in the 6th. The next batter Jordan Barth would blast a two-run home run over the left field fence, making it 7-1 St. Cloud. They wouldn't stop there as two more singles and a double brought home Garett Delano, making it a five-run inning for the Rox and extending their lead to 7. Rhyse Dee would take over for RJ Martinez with the bases loaded with no outs and would throw a wild pitch that allowed Nic Kent to score. After Danny Zimmerman struck out swinging, Xavier Bussey laced a fly ball out to center field that brought home Max Guzman on a sac fly. The game would go into the final three innings with St. Cloud remaining up by a score of 8-3. The last 3 innings of the game would go scoreless for both squads as 8-3 was the final score.
On Tuesday Duluth came back from a 7-1 deficit against St. Cloud to win 8-7 in the last game of the 1st half. In the 1st inning, Freddy Achecar would hit a two-out double down the left field line that cleared the bases, giving the Rox an early 3-0 lead. In the bottom half of the 1st, Alex Tappen would bring home Wade Meckler on a groundout to make it 3-1 Rox. Danny Zimmerman would come to the plate with two outs and a runner at 3rd base and drew a walk to put runners on the corners for Tyler Lozano. But he would pop out to right field to end the inning. St. Cloud scored 3 runs in the 2nd inning on a hit by pitch, a fielder's choice, and two straight walks. Both teams would go scoreless in the 3rd but the Rox got back on the board in the 4th when Freddy Achecar hit his 2nd double of the evening that gave St. Cloud a 7-1 lead. He would already have 5 RBI's to his name in just the 4th inning.
Drew Garrett would appear in relief and had a rough outing as he hit Max Guzman and walked Alex Tappen and Danny Zimmerman to make it 7-3 St. Cloud. Another run would be brought home when a routine Tyler Lozano ground ball went underneath the glove of Zack Elliot at second base. Justin Moore then kept the scoring going with an RBI single up the middle to bring home Max Guzman from 3rd. Two more runs would be scored by Alex Tappen and Danny Zimmerman to tie up the game at 7. Nic Kent led off the bottom of the 8th with a single and advanced to 2nd and 3rd on passed balls. Alex Tappen would then give the Huskies an 8-7 lead with a sac fly that scored Kent. Keaton Carattini would shut down the Express in the bottom half to get the save and seal the 8-7 comeback win.
On July 3rd pitching was at its peak as the Huskies won 1-0. Collin Hopkins and Wade Meckler both got on base to begin the 3rd inning. Nic Kent would get on base via fielder's choice, bringing Max Guzman to the plate with one out and runners on the corners. Guzman lifted a fly ball to deep right field that was far enough for Hopkins to score on a sac fly, giving Duluth a 1-0 lead. Guzman once again displayed his incredible power when he doubled off the center field wall on the first pitch of the bottom half of the 6th. Alex Tappen followed that up with his 3rd hit of the ballgame, putting runners on the corners with no outs for Danny Zimmerman. He would strike out, Tappen would be caught stealing, and Bussey would strike out swinging to end the inning with the score still locked at 1-0 Huskies. Tim Holdgrafer would come in to relieve Reynoso to start the 7th inning in his 7th season appearance. Reynoso pitched 6 fantastic scoreless innings as he didn't allow Willmar to establish much of an offensive rhythm. Duluth would go quietly in the bottom of the 8th as Holdgrafer took the mound to try and get the 3 inning save. Branden Boissiere would single to lead off the inning, but a 4-6-3 double play and a strikeout ended the game with a score of 1-0 in favor of the Huskies.
Yesterday Duluth once again shut out Willmar in a 7-0 victory. The Huskies' top of the order got off to a quick start with back to back to back singles from Wade Meckler, Nic Kent, and Max Guzman to start the bottom of the 1st inning to load the bases for Alex Tappen. He would ground into a double play, but Meckler would be able to cross home to grab an early one-run lead. Xavier Bussey would bring home Tyler Lozano when he beat out a throw for an RBI infield single. Stanke would make another throwing error when Bussey stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd all in one play. After a Matt Hogan walk to put runners on the corners, Wade Meckler doubled into the left-center gap to bring home Bussey and put Hogan on 3rd base. The Huskies' final run of the inning would come on a Nic Kent sac fly into deep right-center field to score Hogan, extending Duluth's lead to 4-0. Nic Kent came to the plate in the bottom of the 6th and brought home Bussey with his 2nd sac fly of the afternoon to give Duluth a 5-0 lead as the game went into the final 3 frames. After surrendering a one-out walk and single in the top of the 7th, Marcus Pointer would bring in Erik Kaiser from the pen to relieve Dane Morrow. Morrow gave up no runs on 7 hits, walked 2, and struck out 4 over 6.1 IP. Justin Moore would get the Huskies back on the board in the 7th inning with a two-out RBI single that scored Alex Tappen from 2nd base, stretching the lead to 6. It wouldn't end there though as Xavier Bussey got his 3rd hit and 2nd double of the ballgame to score Moore. Duluth would enter the 8th inning with a 7-0 lead. Neither team would score again as Jack Corbell would close it down in the top of the 9th inning in his season debut.
The Huskies start a three-game set against the Eau Claire Express tonight. First pitch is set for 6:35 pm with live game coverage on 92.1 The Fan and twinportssportshub.com beginning at 6:25 pm. All Duluth Huskies and Northwoods League games are live streamed online at portal.stretchlive.com/nwl to watch.
Be sure to follow the Duluth Huskies on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat all season long. Check out duluthhuskies.com for tickets to upcoming games. For more in-depth news on the Huskies, be sure to follow @XtraInningsWithRyne and @JoeChatzHuskies on Facebook.
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