By Nick Winstead
Battle Creek, Mich.—The Battle Creek Bombers are now owners of the longest current winning streak in the Northwoods League—six straight. For the second time in as many days the Bombers had a walk-off win at C.O. Brown.
The latest victims of the Bombsquad were the La Crosse Loggers who came into Battle Creek on a five-game skid, but showed early that their record does not tell the whole story.
The Loggers forced Bombers starter Joe Mockbee (Michigan State) from the game after the third inning, an inning in which the Loggers scored 4 runs, only one of which was earned. An error by the Bombers helped to spark the rally that gave the Loggers the early lead.
The Bombers were not deterred, however. They went to the plate in the bottom of the third and made it a three run ball game after new Bomber Jackson Goplen (St. Cloud State) got a leadoff walk and was brought in by Anthony Cheky (Michigan State). Both Goplen and Cheky had great nights at C.O. Brown, Goplen got on base all four times he was up and scored three times along with driving in a run. Cheky, who was named the Northwoods League player of the night, went 3-3 with 3 RBIs before he came out of the game.
Matt Temrowski (Albion College) came on in long relief of Mockbee and had a great first appearance with Battle Creek going 4 innings in a game where the Bombers bullpen needed him to throw a lot of innings following the double-header against Kalamazoo.
The Bombers came up to bat in the fifth down 4-1 and rallied for three runs to tie it at 4 through the work of the bottom of the order getting on and the top of the order bringing them into score.
The Loggers were not about to let the Bombers off the hook that easily, though. Their very next time to the plate they added two more runs, making it a 6-4 ballgame. Again the Bombers showed great resiliency and went to the plate and cut the lead to 6-5.
The Bombers evened the game at 6 on an absolute blast off of the bat of Connor Panas (Canisius). The homerun, Connor’s fourth of the year, cleared both the field wall as well as the wall of advertisements in right-center field.
The Loggers took the lead again in the top of the eighth as Matt Rhodes (Hardin-Simmons) came in for the second consecutive night in the late innings. A leadoff walk would be brought in to make the game 7-6 in favor of the Loggers.
The Bombers kept fighting, however, and tied it up at 7 after Brendan Collins (Columbus State) scored on a throwing error from the Loggers catcher after a passed ball.
Rhodes went 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth and let the Bombers go for their second walk off in as many days. After a Connor Panas popout Cody Kuziniczci (Northern Kentucky) hit a sharp grounder up the middle to get on first. Zach Yesco (Wagner College) came to the plate with two outs and Kuzniczci still at first when the Loggers pitcher, Jameson Sadowske, threw a wild pitch that allowed Kuziniczci to get to second. Cody saw that the ball was still out of reach of Loggers catcher Bravo so he started chugging towards third. That forced a throw from Bravo that sailed over third baseman Brody Weiss’s head allowing Cody to jump up from third and score the game winning run.
Cody was greeted at the plate by the whole team who showered him with water as the Bombers won their sixth straight game.
Battle Creek will go for back-to-back sweeps tomorrow, 7:05 first pitch.
Connor Panas: 1-5, HR (4)
Anthony Cheky: 3-3, 3 RBI, 2 SB
Jackson Goplan: 1-2, 2 BB, 3 R, RBI
Co-Manager Bill Murphy: I told you, and I'm going to keep telling you, the Bombers are coming. You guys gotta start listening. We are coming! Pitching, hitting, this is a team effort.