By Luke Tanaka, Radio Broadcaster
Battle Creek, Mich. – The Battle Creek Bombers struggled offensively Tuesday night, recording just one run and five hits in a 4-1 series-opening loss to the La Crosse Loggers.
The Loggers wasted no time taking the lead as Mason McCoy (Iowa), the first batter of the game, doubled to left field and came around to score when Jordan Zimmerman (Mesa CC) grounded out to third base.
The Bombers tied the score with one in the second inning. Blake Swann (Florida Southern) worked a one-out walk and advanced to third on Brennon Lund’s double to right-center field. Ryan Budnick (Santa Clara) picked up his seventh RBI on a sacrifice fly to right field.
McCoy once again sparked a rally in the third inning, leading off the frame with a hit. He advanced to second on a groundout and scored when Lin Li (Taiwan) airmailed a throw to first base. After Chris Baker (Washington) hit a ground-rule double, Nick Medeiros (Santa Clara) stranded two runners in scoring position by striking out Ronnie Gideon (Texas A&M).
A couple of two-out RBI singles gave the Loggers insurance runs in the sixth. McCoy singled up the middle and Will Savage (Columbia) followed with a base hit of his own to right.
Dan Swain (Siena) started an eighth-inning rally with a double to deep left. Li and Christian Helsel (Penn State) followed with walks to load the bases with nobody out. After Swain was forced out at the plate on a fielder's choice, Jordan Jess (Minnesota) inherited the one-out, bases-loaded situation. Jess struck out Michael Sanderson (Cal Poly) and forced a lazy fly ball off the bat of Swann to end the inning. Jess finished the five-out save with a scoreless ninth.
Medeiros was solid in his first start of the season, tossing six innings, allowing four runs (three earned), nine hits, and two walks, while striking out five. He is the fourth consecutive Battle Creek starter to pitch at least six innings. Chase Tavonatti (Salt Lake CC) looked very sharp in his two innings of work, misfiring on just one pitch in a scoreless eighth inning. Battle Creek-native Chet Joslyn (Valparaiso) pitched a perfect ninth in his Bombers debut.
Swain recorded two of the Bombers hits, including a double. Sanderson, Li, and Lund knocked around the other three. Lund’s double was his second extra-base hits in as many games. Budnick knocked in Swann for the Bombers only RBI tonight.
Alex Shake (Ill. Central) made his first start of the year, pitching six innings, allowing just four hits and one run. Jordan Pearce (Nevada) struck out the side in the seventh, but allowed the bases loaded in the eighth and recorded just one out. Jess induced the two key outs in the eighth to end the Bombers bases-loaded threat and then finished off his five-out save in the ninth.
McCoy was the key cog offensively for the Loggers. He went 3-for-4, scoring two runs and knocking in a third. Savage (2-for-4) had the other RBI on a single in the sixth. Luis Trevino (Navarro JC), in his first game back for the Loggers, also recorded two hits and reached on a fielder’s choice in the sixth.
Battle Creek looks for the split with La Crosse tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at C.O. Brown Stadium. It is also Wildcard Wednesday – Cow Appreciation Night – and Chamber Night. There will be a throwback jersey auction.
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)