Express fall short in Northwoods League Championship

Eau Claire Express

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (WEAU) The Eau Claire Express were looking for their second Northwoods League title, but Traverse City scored two runs in the ninth to win 3-2.

The Express got on the board in the first inning when Sam Kohnle delivered a two-RBI single to score Zach Gilles and Matt Bottcher for the early lead.

On the mound, starter Nick Alvarado continued the great stretch of starting pitching for Eau Claire, as he went five innings, giving up just one run on three hits and striking out seven.

Brad Rindfleisch pitched three innings and allowed one run in relief for Eau Claire.

Traverse City got their first run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly from Andrew Morrow.

In the ninth, Traverse City got run off of a error on a Riley Bertram bunt to even the score at two.

Later in the inning, with the bases loaded against Eau Claire's Brandon Dieter, Andrew Morrow hit a grounder to third that was thrown past first for and error allowing a run to score and giving the Pit Spitters the 3-2 win.

The Express' trip to the championship game comes after the team won the second half title in the Great Plains East Division to make the playoffs. They beat Waterloo in two games in the first round, before topping Willmar in the Divisional Championship.

Traverse City had the leagues best regular season record in 2019 with 52 wins and just 20 losses.

This was the Eau Claire Express fourth trip to the championship series, having also lost in 2007 and 2017. They won the title in 2010.