KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo Growlers may have fallen short to the Green Bay Bullfrogs 9-6 Saturday night but according to the front office, this is one of the best teams they’ve had in years.
“It's exciting,” said head coach Cody Piechocki. “That’s what we’ve been trying to build this team to be over the last five years when we first envisioned bringing a team to Kalamazoo.”
The season began in late May and have since won 24 games and maintained a winning percentage over .600. Currently, they’re ranked second among the 10 teams in the Northwood League’s South Division.
“We’ve had summers where we haven’t won that many games in 72 games,” said Piechocki. “So to accomplish that feat already this summer is a really good sign of what’s to come.”
Managing Partner Brian Colopy said the team’s winning season is reflecting in the stands. Attendance is up and and they’re selling out games. He believes the players are the secret to their success.
“[This is] by far the best team we’ve ever had on and off the field,” Colopy said. “A great group of guys in the wins and losses column but even better kids off the field.”
The Growlers have 30 guys on their roster. Many of them are college freshmen and sophomores who play in Division-1 programs like Duke and Western Michigan, Piechocki said. They know how to fight hard on the field and have fun in the clubhouse.
“We want them to be loose,” Piechocki said. “If anything we actually push them to be goofier than they probably normally are just because this is such a long summer.”
But before it ends the Growlers have another 30 games to ahead of them including the All-Star break, which will be held on their turf at Homer Stryker Field. Colopy said they have what it takes to make to finish strong and excel in the postseason.
“We got a young team that’s been growing throughout the summer,” he said. “So we think if we can keep all the guys healthy by the time they get there to the playoffs, we feel really good about our chances in the playoffs.”