The Eau Claire Express jumped out to a 2-0 lead and held on to a 2-1 victory over the La Crosse Loggers tonight to finish at .500 for the first half of the Northwoods League season.
The Express have a record of 17-17, while the Loggers drop to a 17-16 record. Eau Claire has won three straight against the Loggers and three straight at Copeland Park.
The Express took the lead in the second inning when Pat Colwell (San Diego State) hit a single into center that drove in David Cales (Illinois-Chicago) from second to make the score 1-0. In the fifth inning, Bryce Nimmo (Nebraska) led off with a triple. It was the first triple by an Express player since Justin McKenzie did it against the St. Cloud River Bats on June 20, 2006. Nimmo then scored on a Tyler Goodro (Butler CC) sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0.
La Crosse cut the Express lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Eric Thames drove in Justin Toole on a RBI single to center. Express starter Elliott Ogawa (Georgia Tech) would keep the score 2-1 through the sxith and handed the ball over to Cales in the seventh. The best chance for the Loggers came in the eighth when Thames led off with a double. However, he wouldn’t leave second base as Cales shut down the next three batters. Cales then worked a perfect ninth as the Express won 2-1.
Ogawa (1-1) earns his first win of the season pitching a solid six innings. Cales picked up his second save of the season. Justin Walker (3-3) picked up the loss for La Crosse.
All of the Northwoods League teams will be at 0-0 tomorrow as the league begins its second half action. Eau Claire begins the second half at the South Division first half champions Green Bay Bullfrogs. Tomorrow’s first pitch begins at 7:05 p.m. at Johannes Park.