Honkers Nearly No-Hit, Nearly Have Miracle Comeback in 11-8 Loss
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The Honkers (11-34, 4-6) were held hitless through eight innings by three different Kalamazoo Growlers' (25-21, 5-5) pitchers but a Josh Davis two-run double broke up the no-hitter in the ninth, and the Honkers game up just short of a miracle comeback, scoring 8 in the ninth in an 11-8 loss.
The big inning for the Growlers came in the second once again as after a quick first by starter Jackson Douglas, he gave up 8 runs while facing 12 batters in the inning.
The scoring started with lead-off man Brandon Gomez, he will come up again, who crushed a solo shot to left. Following Gomez, Camden Duzenack flew out to deep left. Following the out, David Hensley, Tre Ganns, and TJ Marik all reached to load the bases for Tre Gantt. Gantt too the first pitch he say over the right field wall for a grand slam, the first in a Honkers game this season, and gave the Growlers a 5-0 lead. The Growlers then got two more on as Brandon Gomez came up, and once again hit a home run, this time a three-run shot to give his team an 8-0 lead.
On the other side, the Honkers were held hitless first by Devin Pellien in his five innings, then, after being taken out due to being on a pitch count, Gavin Alston cam in and maintained the no-no to bring it to the seventh.
The Growlers had added one more in the fourth to make it 9-0, but then in the eighth they hit their fourth home run of the game when Tre Gantt went deep once again with a no-doubter to right to make the score 11-0.
In the bottom of the inning the Honkers had their best closest call for their first hit. After Jackson Thoreson reached on a walk, one of fourteen walks for the Honkers, Alex Fitchett hit a high bouncer to the third baseman David Hensley. Hensley's throw was high but it was close enough to warrant a second look by the official scorer who decided that it would be an error on Hensley thus keeping the Honkers hitless.
The Honkers were held hitless again in the eighth by Jeff Kross and he was the man on the mound in the ninth to go for the no-hitter and, in the oddness of baseball rules, the save in an 11-0 game.
Newcomer Ian Clark had a good first outing with the Honkers as he went two innings, allowing two runs and striking out three.
The lead-off hitter Jackson Thoreson took one off the elbow on the first pitch of the inning to bring up Alex Fitchett. Fitchett walked on four pitches to bring up Josh Davis. Davis ended the no-hitter and the shutout with a two-run double to right center.
After Davis' double and walk to Keaton Weisz, Clark was relieved, thus ending the potential for a save, and Larry Wood came in to relieve him. On Wood's second pitch to Joey Czarske he threw a wild pitch that allowed Davis to score from third making it 11-3, then he walked Czarske to bring up Kyle Kasser with two on and no one out.
Kasser flew out to center and it brought up Turner Buis for his final chance to extend his hitting streak to 20 games. He wasn't able to do so however, as Wood dealt him four straight balls to load the bases for Ryan Fitzpatrick. He walked to drive in the fourth run of the game and leave the bases loaded for Drew Ellis.
Ellis battled through nine pitches and on the tenth pitch of the at-bat took a breaking ball high to walk and drive in the fifth run of the game making the score 11-5 and prompting a pitching change, as Hayden Brauser came in to face Jackson Thoreson, who lead off the inning.
Thoreson hit a looping single to score on more to make it 11-6 and bring up Alex Fitchett and put the tying run on deck. Fitchett took a five pitch walk, to make the score 11-7 and brought up the man who started it all, Josh Davis, with a chance to tie the game.
Davis tapped one back to mound and Brauser got one out throwing it back to catcher TJ Marik to force out Drew Ellis, but his throw to first hit Davis in the back and got away to allow Jackson Thoreson to score and keep the inning alive at an 11-8 score.
Keaton Weisz fought to a full count, but on the final pitch of the game he grounded out to second to end the game.
Pelien got his fourth win to improve his record to 4-0, and Jackson Douglas took the loss to fall to 0-4.
The Honkers have two more games before the All-Star break, and they both are in St. Cloud as they play the Rox at 6:05 at Joe Faber Field.