Green Bay bats quiet in loss to Kalamazoo
BY RICH PALZEWIC
GREEN BAY – The Kalamazoo Growlers would score all the runs they needed in the opening inning of a 5-2 victory over the Green Bay Bullfrogs June 20 at Joannes Stadium.
The Bullfrogs (7-15) scratched out just four hits in dropping their fourth Northwoods League game, while the Growlers (16-6) won their eighth straight.
It was the fourth time this summer Green Bay has lost to Kalamazoo.
“We have so many guys from different parts of the country on this team and we are trying to get them to work as a collective unit,” said Green Bay manager Kirk Shrider, who talked to his team for a good 10 minutes after the game in the outfield. “There is a little bit of that individualism going on … it’s not just with this team, though … the basic message was we have to work together as a unit. I’m not saying we aren’t competing hard, it’s just that we haven’t quite come to together as a team yet.”
Shrider pointed out that it’s extremely difficult to gel as a unit when the roster revolves like it does. Some of the players that started this summer in Green Bay are no longer with the team.
“In this league you start making a few friends and the next day they could be gone,” he said. “The teams that figure that out the fastest are the ones that are successful. The frustration starts to build up. You like to think your roster gets solidified at some point. The year we won in Wisconsin Rapids, our roster didn’t change much … or if it did, it happened very early in the year.”
Kalamazoo tallied three times in the first off Green Bay starting pitcher Justin Bureau (Ave Maria University) and never relinquished the lead. Bureau was making his first start of the year after just joining the team. He gave up all five Kalamazoo runs on 10 hits and six strikeouts, but according to Shrider had good stuff.
“I thought he threw well,” Shrider said. “His stuff and command were good, and he was throwing the ball where he wanted to; but (Kalamazoo) was getting good swings … too good. I noticed their first-base coach was almost standing on the field relaying signs to his players. He was a good 12 to 15 behind the coaches box doing that. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, but do it within the rules of the game.”
Shrider made a visit to the mound to alert his players and also had a chat with the umpire to get the Growlers’ first-base coach back in the box.
Tate Soderstrom (Arizona) would score on a fielder’s choice in the sixth, and Jake Finkbeiner (Wayne State) was plated on a Soderstrom single in the seventh for the only Green Bay runs of the game.
Besides Soderstrom’s hit, Jake Munoz (San Francisco), Ethan Ibarra (St. Cloud State) and Jake Finkbeiner (Wayne State) each had a hit in four at bats.
“We haven’t been hitting lefties very good,” Shrider added. “Our guys need to slow the game down … it’s a process, but it’s hard to look at it that way – guys want instant gratification.”
Shrider laughed after the game that on Green Bay’s day off June 18, many of the players got haircuts, one spent some time in an oxygen chamber and a few others went to the gym.
The ‘Frogs are back in action tonight at Joannes when they host Lakeshore in a 7:05 game.
Kalamazoo: 300 101 000 – 5 10 3
Green Bay: 000 001 100 – 2 4 2