Bombers Use the Long Ball to Sweep Loggers
By Luke Tanaka, Radio Broadcaster
La Crosse, Wis. – Two home runs and solid pitching lifted the Battle Creek Bombers to an 8-3 victory in La Crosse on Tuesday night.
For Battle Creek (21-39, 8-17 second half), it is their first series sweep since May 31, when they took two from the Kenosha Kingfish. La Crosse (35-26, 16-11 second half) drops into a tie for second place with the Madison Mallards in the Northwoods League South Division second-half standings.
The Bombers used the long ball to take a first-inning lead for the second consecutive game. Brennon Lund (BYU) led the game off with a walk and stole second base. He looked to swipe third, but was picked off by the pitcher Billy Clemons (Gateway CC). A couple of pitches later, Dan Swain (Siena) launched his team-leading fifth home run, a solo shot to left field.
The Loggers tied the score in the third when Mason McCoy (Iowa) singled and advanced to second on a pickoff throw that skipped through Dre Gleason’s (Austin Peay) legs at first base. Two batters later, McCoy scored easily on a Brock Lundquist (Long Beach State) double down the right-field line.
The Bombers quickly retook the lead with a rally of their own in the fourth. The first five batters to the plate in the inning, Swain, Cayce Bredlau (Austin Peay), Gary Russo (Miami-Ohio), Gleason, and Lin Li (Taiwan) all singled. Russo and Gleason scored Swain and Bredlau respectively on their base hits, giving the Bombers a 3-1 lead. Later in the inning, Christian Helsel (Penn State) reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Russo, the third Battle Creek run of the inning.
La Crosse chipped into the lead in the fifth as McCoy made history at Copeland Park. The Logger second baseman reached on a hit by pitch and came around to score on a Jordan Pearce (Nevada) RBI single. With the run scored, McCoy broke the Northwoods League record for most runs scored in a single season with 69.
The Bombers padded their lead with a rally in the sixth inning. Gleason led the inning off with a single, and Lin Li doubled to the wall in center, putting two in scoring position for Matt Simmons (Gardner-Webb). Simmons, who struck out with the bases loaded an nobody out in the fourth, made up for his two earlier plate appearances by blasting a towering home run to right field, giving Battle Creek a 7-2 lead.
Medeiros pitched into the seventh inning, but ran into some trouble in his last frame. McCoy reached for the third time in the game on a single and Will Savage (Columbia) laid down a bunt that Medeiros fielded, but threw past Gleason, placing runners at second and third with nobody out. After Medeiros struck out Lundquist, the Bombers called upon Fred Manke (Minnesota) who walked Jordan Pearce (Nevada) to load the bases. Manke forced the next batter, Jordan Zimmerman (Mesa CC), into a slow ground ball right back to him, but the Bombers pitcher bobbled the ball, allowing a run to score and the Loggers to cut the lead to 8-3. With still just one out, Manke escaped further damage with a pop out and a fielder’s choice.
Manke finished the game for Battle Creek without allowing a hit (one walk, two strikeouts).
Li led the Battle Creek offense with three hits, including two doubles. Gleason also recorded three hits, while Swain and Simmons accounted for four RBIs with their two long balls. Swain reached base in each of his first four at bats, finishing the day 2-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. Bredlau also recorded two hits and a run scored, while Russo and Helsel added RBIs.
Medeiros was stellar, allowing three runs (one earned), six hits, and two walks in 6 1-3 innings. His only strikeout came to the last batter he faced in the ballgame. Manke entered the game in a jam and allowed an inherited run to score, but none of his own. Manke did not allow a hit in his 2 2-3 innings. The Loggers stranded the bases loaded twice against Bombers pitching (the third inning against Medeiros and the seventh inning against Manke).
Clemons started the game for La Crosse, allowing four runs, six hits, and one walk while striking out four in four innings. Michael Echavia (Chabot College) threw two innings and watched four runs cross the plate against him, including Simmons’ home run. Jordan Jess (Minnesota) struck out the side in the seventh in relief of Echavia, but did allow an inherited runner to score. He finished his outing with five strikeouts and no runs in two innings. Pearce moved from first base to pitch a scoreless ninth.
McCoy was the man of the hour for La Crosse, scoring all three times he reached base. Pearce, Zimmerman, and Lundquist accounted for the three Loggers RBIs in the contest.
The Bombers will take a rare day off tomorrow before traveling to Kalamazoo for a doubleheader against the Growlers. Game times are scheduled for 12:00 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. at Homer Stryker Field. With one win, Battle Creek (4-0 vs. Growlers this season) can clinch the I-94 rivalry series.
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)