St. Cloud fans supported their team until the very end
Because it's often unfair, single elimination playoff baseball is rare. But such is life in the Northwoods League during late August when most colleges commence soon.
After losing four of their first six games to start the season, the St. Cloud Rox were the best team in the Northwoods League. The record-setting 2021 campaign ended Friday night in the Granite City, as the Rox fell short of their second championship in four years, losing 9-3 to the Traverse City Pit Spitters (46-30), who also took the crown in 2019. Northwoods League Pitcher of the Year Cam Schuelke started for the Great Lakes Division champs, surrendering only one run and three hits in six innings. Local product Nick Penick got only his second start of the season for the Rox, allowing five hits and two runs over three and a third innings.
The long trip to Central Minnesota did not bother the Traverse City Pit Spitters
The St. Cloud bullpen was not its usual sharp self, yielding five walks, but the team’s infield defense also let them down several times on a blustery evening; the Rox allowed four unearned runs. Traverse City also ran wild on St. Cloud catcher Caleb Ricketts, totaling six stolen bases. And whereas the Pit Spitters’ first five hitters reached base 13 times, the Rox left 12 men on base. St. Cloud won both halves in the Great Plains West Division, then the overall Great Plains Division by pounding Waterloo Tuesday. They captured several awards, including five all-star selections, and David Bellamy took home Manager of the Year in his first campaign. The Rox finished with a franchise-best 53-19 record, 31-8 at Joe Faber Field.
Traverse City celebrates a repeat of their 2019 Northwoods League title