Bombers Win in Extras, Salvage One on Road Trip

By Max Gun, Radio Broadcaster

Waterloo, Iowa—The Battle Creek Bombers won the final game of their four-game road trip against the Waterloo Bucks, winning 7-6 in ten innings.

The Bombers jumped ahead to an early lead in the third inning when they scored two runs. Lin Li (National Taiwan Sports University) singled and stole second base with two outs. Christian Helsel (Penn State) then knocked Li home with an RBI single to make it 1-0 Bombers. Helsel took second base on the throw home, so he was already in scoring position for Michael Sanderson (Cal Poly Slo) who hit an RBI single back up the middle to score Helsel to make it 2-0.

Battle Creek scored two more runs in the fourth inning. Hank Truluck (Florida State) led off the inning with a double off the left field wall, and Dre Gleason (Austin Peay) followed with a double of his own, scoring Truluck to make it 3-0. Li then singled to score Gleason putting the Bombers up 4-0. Gleason had two hits, his first multi-hit game since Opening Day.

Waterloo clawed back and was finally able to get to Bombers starter Jordan Knutson (Missouri State). The Bucks scored three runs the fifth inning. Mikal Hill (Winston-Salem) hit a solo home run to lead off the inning to trim the Bombers lead to 4-1. Knutson got the next two Bucks out quickly, but then ran into trouble with two out. Luke Stratman (Lamar CC) reached on an error by the second baseman Li, and then Zach McKinstry (Central Michigan) singled. Zach Soria (Florida International) then singled to score Stratman making it 4-2. Soria stole second base, and while he slid in safely, McKinstry scampered home on the throw to bring the Bucks within one run, 4-3.

Battle Creek added on to their lead in the sixth inning. Gleason led off with a single, got to second base on a Matt Simmons (Gardner-Webb) groundout. Cayce Bredlau (Austin Peay) reached on an infield single, moving Gleadon over to third to set up Li. Li singled to left field, scoring Gleason and extended the Bombers lead to 6-4.

In the bottom of the sixth, Waterloo inched closer once again. Taylor Lane (Florida) led off with a single. Matthew James (Illinois) singled right behind Lane, who was able to advance to third, to put runners on the corners with no outs. The single by James chased Knutson out of the game, and Fred Manke (Minnesota) entered out of the Bombers bullpen. Hill was the first hitter to great Manke, and he hit a ground ball right back to him. Manke turned and threw to second to get the force out, but the double play was not turned because Hill possess good speed. During the double play attempt, Lane was able to score to make it 6-5.

On came Bombers closer Mason Marshall (BYU) for the save, but Waterloo tied the game in the ninth inning. Adam McGinnis (Western Illinois), pinch-hit to lead off the inning and hit a groundball to the short stop Sanderson who botched it. Alex Boxwell (Minnesota) pinch-ran for McGinnis, and advanced to second base after Taylor Boyd (St. Joseph) hit into a fielders choice. Stratman lined out for out number two, bringing up McKinstry, who doubled home Boxwell to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.

The Bombers untied the game in the tenth inning. Li singled for his fifth hit of the game with one out in the inning, and Helsel walked to put runners on first and second with one one out. Niko Pacheco (Cal State Fullerton) hit a ground ball up the middle, but Li was thrown out at home. Pacheco took second base on the throw and Helsel advanced to third with two outs. Sanderson, down in the count 0-2, hit a 2-run single to score Helsel and Pacheco to make it 7-5 Bombers.

Edgar Sanchez (Cedar Valley) came on for the bottom of the tenth and gave up a run, but converted the save for Battle Creek. It was Sanchez’s first save of the season. Marshall (1-0) picks up the win for the Bombers.

Knutson went 5 innings and allowed 7 hits and 4 runs (2 earned) to earn the no decision. He also walked and struck out 2. Manke pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing just 1 hit. It was his first scoreless appearance of the season. Evan Dunn (Pepperdine) also recorded two outs in the eighth.

Frank Rubio (Florida) started for Waterloo and received the no decision after going 6 innings, allowing 12 hit and 5 earned runs. Mitch Babb (Ole Miss) kept the Bombers scoreless during his 3.1 innings of work, before Nathan Spielvogel (Marrimack College) entered the game and took the loss, giving up 2 runs in two thirds of an innings.

The Bombers are now 14-25 overall and 1-3 in the second half. Battle Creek returns home for a six-game home stand tomorrow against the defending Northwoods League Champion Lakeshore Chinooks.

First pitch is at 6:05 p.m. Eastern Time.

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

(Story photo courtesy of Battle Creek Photography and Design – Levi Green)