Woodchucks grind their way past Bullfrogs
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY-The Wisconsin Woodchucks scored three late runs to edge out the Green Bay Bullfrogs by a final of 8-5.
Greg Dunham was the winning pitcher for Wisconsin going five innings.
Lennon Gwizdala got the save.
Justin Bureau was the losing pitcher for the Bullfrogs giving up five runs in as many innings.
The teams combined for 14 hits, but also 10 errors.
The Woodchucks led off with back to back doubles by Jaren Shelby and Zach DeLoach.
The latter scored Shelby to give the Woodchucks a 1-0 lead just minutes into the game.
Two sacrifice fly outs later, DeLoach crossed home plate to give Wisconsin an early 2-0 lead.
“We gave them two good looks right out of the gate,” said Kirk Shrider, Green Bay Bullfrogs Head Coach. “We have to be more disciplined right from the first pitch.”
The Bullfrogs countered in the bottom of the first.
Newly acquired Preston Pavlica (Grand Canyon University) sent a shot to left field which resulted in a double.
After a successful steal to third, Dunham sent a wild pitch past catcher Isaac Quinones.
It brought the Bullfrogs back to within 2-1 after the first inning.
Each team managed a few base hits in the next two innings, but neither team could add to the scoreboard.
In the top of the fourth, the Woodchucks struck for more.
Cooper Swanson and Quinones each led off with a walk.
After a throw-out at second and strike out, the Bullfrogs were one out from getting out of the half inning without any damage.
That’s when the error bug hit.
Shelby hit a high chopper to second base that was mishandled and extended the inning.
The Woodchucks took advantage with the next batter.
DeLoach hit a blast that got past the Bullfrogs outfielders and both Quinones and Shelby came home to give the Woodchucks a 4-1 lead.
They weren’t finished.
Reese Alexiades stepped up and connected on a triple to almost the same identical spot DeLoach previously hit it too.
Another run scored, and Wisconsin took a 5-1 advantage after four.
The Bullfrogs countered a second time in the bottom of the fifth.
Ironically enough it was pinch hitter Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo (Navarro College) that got the momentum going for Green Bay.
He led off with a single.
With one out, Matthew Acosta followed suit.
After Pavlica walked, the bases were loaded and the ‘Frogs’ knew they had to put some runs up to cut into the four-run deficit.
Cooper Morrison stepped in and delivered the coveted single to bring one run home.
After a wild pitch by Dunham, Acosta scampered home cutting the Woodchucks lead to 5-3.
The Bullfrogs batters were hitting off Dunham in rapid succession.
Next batter up, Riley Mihalik powered a ball past the shortstop and that in turn sent Morrison home.
After the Woodchucks had gotten the third out, the Bullfrogs had gnawed their way back to 5-4.
“I was pleased at how we played in the fifth inning,” added Shrider. “We got some key hits and made it a game again with our offense.”
In the top of the seventh, with Ben Keizer on the mound for the Bullfrogs, Wisconsin added to their total.
After an initial pop out, Nick Loftin and Alex Toral connected on single rips to the outfield.
Swanson walked, and the Bullfrogs were in a jam with all three bases occupied.
Quinones then took a breaking ball at 2-2 and sent a low-lining single down the third base line that scored two runs and extended the Woodchucks lead to 7-4.
It was the dagger that ultimately decided the game.
Green Bay added one run in the bottom of the half inning but down the stretch couldn’t add additional runs.
“I didn’t feel like either team did a good job with their defense tonight,” said Shrider. “You shouldn’t have 10 errors in a game. We played very sloppy in certain innings. Those things catch up to you at the end of the game.”
The Bullfrogs fall to 12-24 and will be back in action on the Fourth of July when they take on the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters in an afternoon tilt.
Note: Alex Stodola (UW Stevens Point) pitched three innings for the Woodchucks. He is a redshirt junior for the Pointers who calls Pound, WI his hometown.