By Nick Winstead
Battle Creek, Mich.—The Battle Creek Bombers won in dramatic fashion in extra innings against the Kenosha Kingfish in the first game of the two game set. The Bombers were sound in every facet of the game, from pitching, to fielding, and hitting in the 2-1 walk off victory.
Getting the start for the Bombers was Jacob Waguespack (Ole Miss), his 6th start on the year. Waguespack attacked the zone pitch after pitch and the Kingfish had trouble connecting on his pitches all day long.
“I was trying to get ahead with the fastball, then I threw the cutter away and they were just swinging over the top of it” explained Wags after the game.
Even when the Kingfish were able to put balls in play the Bombers defense proved to be very stout. Something that did not escape the tall righty.
“Sea-Bass made a great play on the double play,” Wags said of Sebastian Diaz (Univ. of Miami) before adding in that “Joey and D-Rich were great tonight.”
When Waguespack left the game the Bombers were up 1-0 from a David Richards IV (Savannah State) RBI single that scored Cody Kuzinczci (Northern Kentucky) in the bottom of the second.
Zac Ryan (Georgia Tech) came out in relief of Wags, but provided little relief for the Kingfish hitters after some initial shakiness that saw the Kingfish tie the game at 1.
Ryan frustrated Kingfish hitters all night and had them routinely whiffing at pitches. The top of the tenth got a bit hairy, however, when the Kingfish loaded the bases with no outs and gave the top of their order a chance to blow the game wide open.
When asked how he got out of it Ryan replied “Oh jeez, I don’t even know” as a smile flashed across his face.
“With the bases loaded I just needed to throw strikes and pound the strike zone. It worked out for me”
Ryan got a chopper back to the mound, which he threw home for the force and then struck out the next two Kingfish maintaining the 1-1 tie.
That sent the Bombers to the plate in the bottom of the tenth. Spencer Thornton (San Diego State) led the inning off with a bunt single.
“I’m always looking for a bunt hit if they give me it, they gave me one and it got us going” commented Thornton after the game.
Matt Dacey (Richmond) laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Thornton. The third baseman for the Kingfish, Spencer Gaa, tried to throw out Thornton at second but ended up throwing the ball into centerfield, allowing Thornton to advance to third and Dacey to reach first safely.
“In that situation you’re always looking to take that extra 90 feet. I got up as quick as I can and got going to third” said Thornton.
That brought Laz Rivera to the plate with no outs and runners on the corners with a chance to send the game home in one swing of the bat.
“I was just looking for something to drive” explained Rivera when asked about his mindset at the plate.
Rivera did find something to drive he put a fastball into deep left field for a sacrifice fly as Thornton tagged up and came across the plate for the walk off victory.
When asked about being the man of the hour Rivera responded with, “we have a saying here, we don’t do it for ourselves. We do it for the Creek.”
The Bombers will continue to do it for the Creek tomorrow as they take on the Kingfish again, 7:05 first pitch.
Jacob Waguespack: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K
WP: Zac Ryan (1-0) 4.0 IP 1 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K
The Battle Creek Bombers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). For more information, visit http://www.battlecreekbombers.com”