By Luke Tanaka, Radio Broadcaster
Mequon, Wis. – It took four hours and 47 minutes of game time and roughly 23 hours of real time for the Battle Creek Bombers to record a 5-4 19-inning victory over the Lakeshore Chinooks.
On day two, Niko Pacheco (Cal State Fullerton) singled to lead off the 19th and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Simmons (Gardner-Webb). Pacheco moved to third on a Michael Sanderson (Cal Poly) single and scored the go-ahead run on a fielder’s choice hit by Cayce Bredlau (Austin Peay). Michael Petersen (Riverside CC) got the win as he shut down the Chinooks in the 18th and 19th, sitting down all six batters he faced (four strikeouts).
Trailing 3-1 and down to their final out on Friday night, the Bombers used four consecutive singles to send the game into a medley of extra innings. Tyler Walsh (Belmont) and Trek Stemp (Washington State) both singled to put runners on first and second. Pacheco drove in Walsh, while Stemp moved to second. On Matt Simmons’ (Gardner Webb) single to right, Lucas Raley (Lake Erie College) bobbled the ball, which allowed Stemp to score the tying run.
The teams played long into the Mequon night until the 17th inning ended at 10:57 p.m. Play was suspended due to a City of Mequon ordinance that mandates an inning not begin after 10:45 p.m.
Way back around first pitch (6:35 p.m. on Friday), the Bombers (6-5) and Chinooks (4-7) swapped unearned runs in consecutive half innings. In the bottom of the first, Kyle Wood (Purdue) walked and reached third on an error by Bombers shortstop Tim McKeithan (Brown). With Raley batting, Wood scored on a wild pitch.
The Bombers answered in the top of the second when Stemp singled, stole second and third, and scored on a wild pitch by Chinooks starter Justin Langley (UW-Milwaukee).
Lakeshore took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Doug Kraeger (Richmond) recorded the Chinooks’ first hit of the ballgame and, later in the inning, scored a wild pitch.
The teams were held quiet in innings 5-7 as only one runner reached third base. In the bottom of the eighth, Lakeshore tacked on an insurance run when Jake Romano (Miami-OH) reached on an error and scored from first on Zarley Zalewski’s (Kent State) double.
After the two-run ninth, the Bombers did not record another hit until the 14th inning when Stemp singled and came around to score on an error to make the score 4-3.
Lakeshore, on the other hand, threatened with the winning run 90 feet away in the 11th and 12th. In the 12th, Nathan Witt (Michigan State) relieved Alex Vargas (Monroe College) with one away and the bases loaded. Lin Li (Taiwan), moved to his left, spun around to feed Walsh, who fired to first for a spectacular double play that extended the game.
However, Lakeshore was able to answer the Bombers’ in the 14th when Battle Creek recorded two errors, which allowed Romano to reach base and score. Witt struck out Kraeger to end the threat.
Lakeshore (16th) and Battle Creek (17th) each had a man reach third in the late innings, but could not knock them in. With infielder Christian Helsel (Penn State) pitching in the 16th, Romano hit a line drive that rolled past Stemp and to the wall. Rich Rodriguez (Cincinnati), the potential walk-off run, rounded third and headed for home, but the relay was in time to continue the contest. Helsel then stranded Romano by striking out Zalewski looking.
After Helsel set down the Chinooks in order in the 17th, the game was suspended, which set up Petersen and Pacheco to star on day-two of the contest.
The Bombers go for the sweep today (Saturday, June 6th) at 6:35 p.m.
The Battle Creek Bombers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd 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 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (BOS) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). For more information, visit www.battlecreekbombers.com.
(Story photo courtesy of Battle Creek Photography and Design – Levi Green)