By Max Gun, Radio Broadcaster
Battle Creek, Mich.– The Battle Creek Bombers earned a walk-off victory against the Kalamazoo Growlers on Monday Night, winning 4-3. Lin Li (National Taiwan Sports University) hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 13th inning, scoring Christian Helsel (Penn State) just ahead of the throw.
Kalamazoo struck first, scoring a run in the very first inning off Bombers southpaw Andrew Mitchell (Delgado Community College/Auburn). Kory Brown (Bowling Green) led off the game with a walk, and then Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) singled to put runners at the corners with nobody out. After getting two pop-outs, Mitchell surrendered a two-out single to Jordan Stading (Houston) to give the Growlers a 1-0 lead.
But Battle Creek bounced back to score two runs in the home half of the first. Dan Swain (Siena) and Steven Wells Jr. (Florida State) both worked one-out walks against Keegan Baar (Michigan State). That set up Helsel, who singled up the middle to score Swain, tying the game at 1-1. Then, Michael Sanderson (Cal Poly Slo), hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Wells Jr. to make it 2-1 Bombers.
The game stayed that way until the seventh inning, when Kalamazoo scored two. Kory Young (Michigan State) led off the inning with a walk against reliever Edgar Sanchez (Cedar Valley College), and then Brown singled to put runners at first and second. That set up Fletcher who delivered a 2-run double to give the Growlers a 3-2 lead.
The Bombers tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth when Swain scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a single, and moving to third base on a Helsel single.
Battle Creek had runners on second and third base with one out in the 10th, but couldn’t plate a runner as two strikeouts ended the threat.
In the eleventh, Battle Creek put runners at first and second base with one out, but two more strikeouts kept the Growlers hopes alive until the 13th inning.
Mitchell pitched six innings and allowed five hits and just one run. Sanchez allowed two runs, but then Nick Medeiros (Santa Clara), Mason Marshall (BYU) and Evan Dunn (Pepperdine) combined for six shutout innings to close out the game. Dunn got the win for the Bombers. He is now 1-2.
The Bombers close out the first half of the season with a 13-22 record. They will begin the second half of their season on July 1st in Rochester to take on the Honkers.
“Tonight all the guys came together as a unit,” said Bombers coach Jimmy Correnti. The win tonight will definitely lead into the second half. I see a bright feature for us.”
According to Northwoods League rules, all teams get a clean slate to begin the second half, as the first and second half winners qualify for the playoffs in August.
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)