By Max Gun, Radio Broadcaster
The Battle Creek Bombers swept the day-night double header with their rival Kalamazoo Growlers, winning game two by a final score of 11-7.
The Bombers scored three runs in the very first inning off of Growlers starter Andrew Shepherd (Jackson College) who was erratic and had his outing cut short after reaching the 35-pitch limit after the first inning. Brennon Lund (BYU) led off the game with a single, and Dan Swain (Siena) and Cayce Bredlau (Austin Peay) followed with walks to load the bases with nobody out. After Niko Pacheco (Cal St Fullerton) stuck out, Dre Gleason (Austin Peay) singled to plate Lund and Swain to give Battle Creek a 2-0 lead. Bredlau then scored on an error after Growlers catcher Alex Gosser (Arkansas) tried to pick him off on a snap throw to third base, and it was wide of the bag sailing into left field to make it 3-0 Bombers after their half of the first.
Kalamazoo came right back against Bombers spot starter Chase Tavonatii (Salt Lake CC) to score three runs of their own in the third inning. John Ruiz (Miami) led off the inning with a single, and Marquise Gill (Eastern Michigan) walked. After a sacrifice bunt, Angelo Armenta (USC) singled home Ruiz to cut the Bombers lead to 3-1. Then Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) grounded into a fielder’s choice, but it brought home Gill to bring Kalamazoo within one run. Jordan Stading (Houston) tied the game with a single, scoring Armenta to make the score 3-3 after three innings.
The Bombers biggest inning was the fourth, when they pushed across four runs. With one out, Lund was hit by a pitch and advanced to second base on a balk. Swain then ripped a single into center field, scoring Lund, and Battle Creek regained the lead, 4-3. Bredlau followed with a walk, and Pacheco singled to start another threat for the Bombers. Gleason singled home Bredlau for his third RBI of the day, and then Lin Li (Taiwan) hit a two-run double off the left field wall to score Pacheco and Gleason. That extended Battle Creek’s lead to 7-3 after the fourth inning.
Battle Creek tacked on another run in the fifth inning. Matt Simmons (Gardner-Webb) walked, and Lund hit an RBI double to score him to put the Bombers ahead 8-3.
But the Growlers didn’t go quietly. They tagged the Bombers for four runs in the seventh inning. Gill doubled with one out, and Korey Brown (Bowling Green) singled him home to bring Kalamazoo within 8-4. After Brown advanced on the throw, Armenta singled home Brown. The hit parade continued when Fletcher hit an RBI double to score Armenta to bring the Growlers within two runs of Battle Creek, 8-6. With two out, Stading hit a routine ground ball to Bombers second baseman Helsel, but he bobbled it, and that allowed Fletcher to score and tighten up Battle Creek’s lead, 8-7 after seven innings.
The Bombers pulled away for good in the eighth. Bredlau and Li walked, and after moving up into scoring position after a passed ball, Helsel singled them both home to push their lead to 10-7. They added one more in the ninth when Swain tripled, and Pacheco knocked him in with a single. That made the score 11-7 and Battle Creek won by that score.
Lund, Swain, Bredlau, Pacheco and Gleason all had multi-hit games for Battle Creek.
Tavonatti went the first four innings in his spot start, and allowed 5 hits and 3 earned runs. It was his first start of the season, being pressed into early duty because of the double header. Battle Creek native Chet Joslyn (1-0) (Valparaiso), earned his first win of the season after pitching 2 and one-third innings of relief. He allowed 4 hits and 4 earned runs. Mason Marshall (BYU) slammed the door for the Bombers by earning the five-out save, his sixth save of the season.
Shepard lasted just one inning for the Growlers becasue of his elevated pitch count. He allowed 3 runs and 3 walks in his one inning. Adrian Morales (0-2) (Rochester College) took the loss for Kalamazzo. He allowed 4 earned runs and 4 walks in his 3 innings of work out of the pen.
The win improves the Bombers record to 23-39. They have won four in the row for the second time this season, and the first time since May 31. They have also won six straight games against he Growlers, after clinching the "I-94" rivalry series witha win in the daycap. The home-and-home series shifts to C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek where the Bombers will square off with Kalamazoo in another double-header on Saturday. Game one is at 11:05 a.m. and game two is at 7:05 p.m. Griffin Weir (Stanford) is slated to start game one for Battle Creek.
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.
(Feature story photo courtesy of Battle Creek Photography and Design – Levi Green)