Express Cruise to Northwoods League Championship Series

The Eau Claire Express walked into Green Bay and took the final two games of the series winning the third-and-deciding game of the Northwoods League South Divisional Series by a score of 6-3 tonight at Joannes Park.

The Express advance to play the St. Cloud River Bats in the Northwoods League Championship Series starting tomorrow night in St. Cloud.

Eau Claire scored first for the second consecutive night in the top of the second. David Cales (Illinois-Chicago) singled to right with one out. Then after a wild pitch moved Cales to second, Ian Hollick (New Mexico) laced a two-out double to left center to plate Cales and give the Express a 1-0 lead.

Green Bay came back to tie it up in the bottom of the second when the Bullfrogs began the inning with back-to-back singles. Then after a sacrifice, Dillon Bell scored on a Tyler Cheney groundout.

The Express regained the lead in the top of the third as Bryan Frew (Nebraska-Omaha) led off with a double to right center. Then after a groundout moved him to third, he would score on a Jake Jefferies (UC-Davis) groundout to give Eau Claire a 2-1 advantage.

Eau Claire extended its lead to 4-1 in the top of the fourth with another two-out rally. Justin Uribe (UCLA) hit a two-out single. Then Mike LaLuna (New York Tech) hit a two-run home run over the left center field wall. Kole Calhoun (Yavapai) then led off the fifth with a double to right center. After a groundout moved him to third, Cales laid down a two strike squeeze bunt to score Calhoun and make the score 5-1.

Green Bay’s Danny Meier then hit a solo home run down the left field line on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 5-2. Express starter Eddie Gamboa (UC-Davis), however kept the Bullfrogs in check, striking out 10 in 8.1 innings pitched. Eau Claire then added some insurance in the top of the ninth when Calhoun hit a single up the middle to drive in Frew from second to make the score 6-2.

The Bullfrogs made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth. They would cut the lead to 6-3 on a RBI single. They would bring the tying run to the plate with one out. The Express then brought in David Cales to seal the game and that is what he would do. He would induce a fly out and then a groundout to end it as the Express season continues with a 6-3 win.

The Northwoods League Championship Series will begin in St. Cloud tomorrow night at Joe Feber Field. Games two and three will be played at Carson Park on Friday and Saturday, if necessary. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.