By Luke Tanaka, Radio Broadcaster
Battle Creek, Mich. – Mason Marshall allowed the tying run to reach third base, but closed the door in the ninth, as the Battle Creek Bombers came out on top 5-4 over the La Crosse Loggers.
With the win, the Bombers (12-14) attained their first two-game winning streak since they won four games in a row in May. The Loggers (13-13) fell back to .500.
Heading into the ninth with the Bombers leading 5-3, Marshall (BYU) was called upon for to save his third game in four days. It was a rocky start for the Bombers closer, as Brock Lundquist (Long Beach State) led off the inning with a single. He ended up scoring on a Ronnie Gideon (Texas A&M) base hit. The Loggers put the tying run 90 feet away with two out, but Marshall stabbed a grounder that seemed destined for centerfield and tossed to Gleason at first to end the ballgame.
The Loggers scored first when Jordan Zimmerman (Mesa CC), the second batter of the game launched a home run over the center field fence.
The Bombers would answer right back in the bottom of the first, putting together two two-out singles against Loggers starter Zach Lewis (Wabash Valley CC). With Cayce Bredlau (Austin Peay) on first, Lin Li (Taiwan) singled. The Loggers tried to throw out Bredlau, who was heading for third, but the throw was arid, which allowed the Bomber to score. Then Niko Pacheco (Cal State Fullerton) continued his red-hot streak, knocking a single to right field, scoring Li.
The Bombers loaded the bases in the second inning, but only mustered a single run. Michael Sanderson trotted home when Dan Swain (Siena) became the third consecutive Bomber to walk in the inning.
The teams were held scoreless for the next two frames. Min Hsia (Taiwan) settled down after allowing one in the first, throwing four consecutive shutout innings. Things got interesting in the fourth when Lundquist tried to steal with Grant Fennell (Nevada) at the plate. Fennell was called out on a checked swing and the throw from Charlie Madden (Mercer) went into the outfield, but it was ruled that Fennell’s bat interfered with Madden’s throw, so Lundquist was called out as well, ending the inning.
In the fifth, Madden put the Bombers up 4-1 when he hit a triple to the wall in right field and then trotted home after the relay throw went into the Loggers’ dugout.
La Crosse pulled within one in the sixth with two runs. Mason McCoy (Iowa) and Zimmerman (Mesa CC) both singled and scored on Zander Clarke’s (UCLA) two-RBI double.
Tyler Walsh (Belmont) added a key insurance run for the Bombers in the seventh. He led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third when he stole second and the throw went into centerfield. Dre Gleason (Austin Peay) knocked him in with an RBI single.
That set up Marshall’s save in the ninth and a 5-4 Bombers victory.
Li and Pacheco led the Bombers with three hits apiece. Pacheco is now eight-for-13 in his last three games. Bredlau added two hits, a walk, and a run scored.
Hsia was the winning pitcher, allowing three runs and six hits over six innings. Evan Dunn (Pepperdine) pitched two perfect innings in relief before Marshall took over in the ninth.
Tomorrow the Bombers and Loggers wrap up their two-game series with a 7:05 p.m. start. It is Make It Matter Monday and All Faith Night presented by Calvary Baptist Church. The first 500 fans to the ballpark will receive a special edition "Moeses Skeeter" Bobblehead.
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)