By Luke Tanaka, Radio Broadcaster
Battle Creek, Mich. – A two-run ninth-inning rally was not enough for the Battle Creek Bombers as they fell to the Kenosha Kingfish 6-4 Friday night.
Kenosha jumped all over the Bombers starter for the second day in a row, bringing a run home in the first. Alex Borglin (Central Michigan) took a pitch to the knee with one out. Then, after Borglin moved to second on a fielder’s choice, Jeremy Vasquez (Florida) drove him home with a base knock.
The Bombers manufactured the tying run in the third inning. Christian Helsel (Penn State) singled and moved to second when Matt Simmons (Gardner-Webb) perfectly executed a sacrifice bunt. Brennon Lund (BYU) knocked in Helsel with a two-out single to center.
After tossing up a pair of zeros, Battle Creek starter Min Hsia (Taiwan) gave up three runs in the fourth, as Kenosha answered the Bombers tying run in a big way. The inning began with a hit-by-pitch as Brody Westmoreland (San Diego State) took one off the arm. Mitch Gasborro (Eastern Illinois) singled to right, moving Westmoreland to third. A Zach Weigel (Seton Hall) fielder’s choice plated Westmoreland, giving the Kingfish the lead again. Three two-out singles knocked in the other runs as Eric Filia (UCLA) plated Weigel and Vasquez recorded yet another RBI, scoring Borglin for the second time.
Kenosha opened up a five-run advantage with two more runs in the sixth. Fred Manke (Minnesota) replaced Hsia with two men on and both inherited runners scored. Gasborro crossed the plate on a Filia sacrifice fly and, once again, Vasquez knocked in Borglin on a single.
Battle Creek chipped into the lead in the sixth with a couple of hits. Cayce Bredlau (Austin Peay) led off the inning by ripping his sixth triple of the year to right-center field. His six triples ranks tied for second in the Northwoods League. Dan Swain (Siena) followed with a base hit to bring home Bredlau and cut the Bombers deficit to 6-2.
After a couple of scoreless innings, the Bombers made it interesting in the eighth, putting Lund and Swain on the corners with one out for Li. Kenosha brought in Ryan Orr (Kalamazoo College) to replace David Meade (Illinois State) and Orr recorded a pair of strikeouts to retire the side.
The Bombers once again put runners at the corners in the ninth, this time with nobody out off of JR Holloway (San Jacinto CC). The Kingfish brought in a lefty Brett Shimanovsky (St. Louis) and the Battle Creek coaching staff answered with a right-handed pinch hitter Niko Pacheco (Cal State Fullerton). Pacheco plated Gary Russo (Miami-Ohio) on a fielder’s choice to cut the lead to three. Blake Swann (Florida Southern) followed with a deep triple to right, scoring Pacheco and making the score 6-4. Shimanovsky settled down from there, forcing a lazy fly out from Lund and a ground out from Bredlau to end the ballgame.
In his first start since the all-star break, Hsia allowed six runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. Manke allowed two inherited runs, but none of his own. Steven Wells Jr. (Florida State) pitched a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and Thomas Sander (Northwest Oklahoma State) tossed a 1-2-3 ninth.
Helsel recorded the Bombers’ only multi-hit game, while Swann and Bredlau both tripled for the loudest Battle Creek hits. Swain and Lund recorded the two RBIs, while Bredlau and Helsel both notched a run scored. Lund, Swain (two), Russo, and Helsel all reached on walks as well.
Offensively for Kenosha, Vazquez plated Borglin on three separate occasions, all with singles. Filia notched a pair of hits and RBIs. Five of Kenosha’s six runs came home on RBI singles, while the other crossed home plate on a fielder’s choice. The Kingfish finished the game with 13 hits and just one extra-base knock, an eighth-inning double by Filia.
Brendan Allen (Eastern Illinois) started the game for Kenosha and pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two earned runs, six hits, and two walks. Meade walked two and struck out two, but allowed the tying run to reach the on-deck circle in the eighth before Orr swept the Bombers rally under the rug with a pair of strikeouts. Once again a Kingfish reliever saved the day in the ninth with Shimanovsky recording the save.
The Bombers will follow the Kingfish to Kenosha for a series at Simmons Field this weekend as part of a six-game road trip. The Bombers return to Southwest Michigan for consecutive doubleheaders against the Kalamazoo Growlers next Thursday and Friday. Friday’s doubleheader will feature both 11:05 a.m. and 7:05 p.m. games at C.O. Brown Stadium.
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)