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Sprinting to the end: Kingfish conclude with win

Sprinting to the end: Kingfish conclude with win

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After having their six-game winning streak snapped Saturday, the Kenosha Kingfish closed out their 2019 season — the sixth in franchise history — with a 4-2 win over the Battle Creek Bombers on Sunday afternoon at Simmons Field.

At 21-16 in the second half, Kenosha finished in second place in the Northwoods League Great Lakes East Division second-half standings, behind the Traverse City Pit Spitters, who went a blazing 29-7 in the second half and 52-20 overall to win the division title in both halves.

After a rough 13-22 first half, the Kingfish managed to finish within four games of .500 overall at 34-38. They had a slim chance of reaching the NWL playoffs — which began Monday night — by clinching a wild-card berth but were eliminated Friday.

On Sunday, Kenosha scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Brendan Hueth led off with a double and scored on a wild pitch, then Connor Mang hit a towering two-run homer over the Bambino Party Deck in left field.

Jack Thelen added a sacrifice fly in the fourth for a 4-0 lead.

The Bombers got within 4-2 in the top of the eighth, but Christian Thrasher tossed a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season.

Tremper graduate Keith Kutzler (3-4) picked up the win, as he spun five shutout innings, allowing five hits and a walk with two strikeouts.

Battle Creek’s Seth Tucker played all nine positions in the game, starting at catcher at finishing on the mound.

Four best-of-3 series kicked off the NWL playoffs Monday night to determine each division champion. The second game of each series will be tonight, with a third game on Wednesday night, if necessary.

In the Great Lakes East, Traverse City faces the Kalamazoo Growlers, who earned the division’s second playoff berth by having the best overall record in the division other than the Pit Spitters, who won both the first and second halves.

In the Great Lakes West, the first-half champion Madison Mallards face the second-half champion Wisconsin Rapids Rafters.

In the Great Plains East, the first-half champion Waterloo Bucks take on the second-half champion Eau Claire Express.

And in the Great Plains West, the first-half champion Willmar Stingers take on the second-half champion St. Cloud Rox.

The Great Lakes East winner will play the Great Lakes West winner, while the Great Plains East winner will square off against the Great Plains West winner, on Thursday in winner-take-all games.

The winners of those games will then meet for another winner-take-all single game for the NWL title on Friday.

Mike Johnson

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