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Pacheco Lifts Bombers in Offensive Showcase

By Luke Tanaka, Radio Broadcaster

Battle Creek, Mich. – For the second consecutive day, the Battle Creek Bombers used a six-run inning to take a lead and hold on for a win against the Kalamazoo Growlers. Today's edition finished as a 14-12 victory. 

With Battle Creek trailing 11-8 and just six outs remaining, Battle Creek sent 10 batters to the plate. Lin Li (Taiwan) led off the inning with a walk and, after advancing to second on a wild pitch, scored on a Dan Swain (Siena) RBI single. Gary Russo (Miami-Ohio) kept the RBI train rolling with a double to the left-center field gap. After a pinch runner Cayce Bredlau (Austin Peay) moved to third on a sacrifice fly, Brennon Lund (BYU) walked, which spelled the end for Growlers closer Nick Wernke (West Virginia). With newcomer Tyler Reed (Spring Arbor University) at the palte, Bredlau scored on a wild pitch to tie the game and Reed helped the Bombers take the lead by ripping his second hit, scoring Lund from second. After a Dre Gleason (Austin Peay) walk, Josh Smith (Grand Valley State), another newcomer, sliced a ground-rule double to right, scoring Reed and Gleason came around to score on a Christian Helsel sacrifice fly. 

The scoring began in the game’s infancy with the Growlers putting up a large number in the first frame. Corey Dempster (Southern California) and Johnny Ruiz (Miami-FL) combined for back-to-back two-RBI singles. 

Battle Creek answered back with two in the home half of the inning. Li and Swain both singled. Li scored on a single by Russo, while Swain came home when Niko Pacheco (Cal State Fullerton) reached on an error. 

But Kalamazoo would not be undone, adding a pair. Bombers starter Griffin Weir (Stanford) walked two batters in the inning and they both came around to score. 

The scoring parade continued with the Bombers taking their first lead of the game in the bottom of the second. Smith lined the first pitch he saw through the right side for base hit. Helsel walked and Smith scored when Li reached on an error. Swain walked to load the bases and, with two outs, Pacheco blasted his third home run in as many days, this time a grand slam to center, putting Battle Creek ahead 7-6. 

After a break from the scoring action, the Growlers put another crooked number on the board in the fifth. Five consecutive Kalamazoo batters reached base with one out, culminating with consecutive two-RBI hits, a double from Kory Brown (Bowling Green) and a single from Angelo Armenta (Southern California), giving Kalamazoo another lead, this time 10-7. 

Battle Creek answered with a run in the fifth as Lund came home on a Gleason RBI single. Kalamazoo retook a three-run lead when Armenta doubled and Stading singled him home. The 10-7 score set up the huge six-run Bombers inning. 

Kalamazoo would not go down without a fight in the ninth. With Mason Marshall (BYU) in the game, Dempster led the inning off with a double, but Marshall battled back with two strikeouts. Down to their last strike in consecutive at bats, two Growlers reached on errors, with Dempster scoring to make the it a 14-12 ballgame, but Marshall forced Armenta to pop out, ending the game.

In an offensive showcase, Pacheco’s grand slam was the main event. Swain, Gleason, and Smith also added two hits each. Swain, Gleason, Smith, Helsel, and Reed each recorded one RBI, while Li and Swain both scored three runs. 

Weir gave up 10 runs in his effort, but the offense propelled him to a no decision. Kaleb McCurry (Mars Hill University) pitched three innings of one-run ball in relief and earned the win. Marshall earned his second save in as many days. 

Dempster (three hits) and Ruiz both tallied three RBIs for Kalamazoo, with Armenta and Brown chipping in with two. Behind Dempster, Ruiz, Armenta, Taylor Hunter (Cleary University), and Brown all noted two base hits. 

Dylan Roberts (Kalamazoo Valley CC) allowed eight of the Bombers runs to score, but half f them were earned. Sean Larner (Northwood) bounced back from a tough outing to throw 2 2-3 innings of shutout ball. Wernke took the loss, allowing four runs and recording just one out. Nathan Coakley (St. Francis) allowed two runs of his own in the eighth. 

The Bombers go for a season-series sweep against the rival Growlers tonight with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch at C.O. Brown Stadium. Dalton Greenwalt (Urbana University) is the scheduled starter on Summer-ween presented by The Melges Group. Fans can get some more use out of their Halloween costumes by wearing them to the ballpark. It is also Freebie Friday. The giveaway of the day is the "Moe Money Moe Problems" Bobblehead to the first 500 fans courtesy of The Melges Group. There will be postgame trick-or-treating.

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)