By Max Gun, Radio Broadcaster
Madison, Wis.—The Battle Creek Bombers surrendered 10 first inning runs to the Madison Mallards Thursday night, and that paved the way for an 13-5 blowout loss in game one of the series.
All nine Mallards hitters scored a run in the first inning, as Madison sent 13 hitters to the plate against Bombers starter Griffin Weir (Stanford). Jean Ramirez (Illinois State) delivered the knock out blow to Weir and the Bombers by clobbering a two out, three-run home run to make it 10-0 Mallards in the first inning. Ramirez had four RBI in the inning, and that spelled the end of Weir’s night. He lasted just two-thirds of an inning.
The Bombers defense was sloppy in the first inning. Josh Smith (Grand Valley) had a tailor made double play hit his way, but after fielding it cleanly, his throw to shortstop Lin Li (Taiwan) sailed wide allowing the inning to continue. Then, third baseman Matt Simmons (Gardner-Webb) tried to get out Matt McCann (Fairleigh Dickson) in a force out at home, and his throw to catcher Nico Pacheco (Cal St Fullerton) beat McCann to home plate, but Pacheco dropped it allowing the run to score.
Madison had five total hits in the first inning. Weir walked two and hit a batter. Because of the errors, seven of the ten runs were earned.
Fred Manke (Minnesota) took over for Weir and he was the bright spot for the Bombers tonight. He allowed just two hits over six and one-third innings pitched, allowing one earned run and stirking out five. It was a homecoming affair for Manke, as he is from the Madison area.
Battle Creek scored two runs in the sixth inning after back-to-back walks to Cayce Bredlau (Austin Peay) and Li. Ryan Budnick (Santa Clara) followed with a two-run double to make the score 11-2. Battle Creek scored their final run of the night when Brennon Lund (BYU) doubled home Simmons, who reached on a walk. That made it a 13-3 contest.
The Bombers scored two runs in the ninth inning. Lund hit an RBI single in the ninth inning to drive in Tyler Reed (Jackson College), and Dan Swain (Siena) doubled home Lund to make it an 11-5 game, and the Mallards won by that score.
Donald Hernandez (Riverside City College) relieved Manke and allowed two earned runs on one hit and three walks, extending Madison’s lead to 13-3.
Battle Creek drops to 26-43 with the loss, with just three games remaining in their 2015 Northwoods League schedule. The Bombers will take on the Mallards in the series finale on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled at 7:05 p.m. CDT and Chase Tavonatti (Salt Lake CC) is the listed starter for the Bombers.
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)