By Max Gun, Radio Broadcaster
Wausau, Wis.– The Battle Creek Bombers struggled in the ninth, but hung on for a one-run win in Wausau against the Wisconsin Woodchucks.
For the first time on the road trip, the Bombers scored first. In the first inning, Dan Swain (Siena) singled with one out, and advanced to third base on a Niko Pacheco (Cal St Fullerton) single. Swain eventually scored after Woodchucks starter Dylan Dwyer (Kentucky) uncorked a wild pitch, making it 1-0 Bombers.
The second inning was the Bombers biggest of the night. They tagged Dwyer for four more runs. Christian Helsel (Penn State) led off with a walk, and Ryan Budnick doubled to put runners at second and third with nobody out. Josh Smith (Grand Valley) followed by hitting a ground ball to Woodchucks third baseman Ryan Day (Duke), but Day couldn’t field it cleanly and the ball dribbled into left field. Both Helsel and Budnick scored on Day’s error, with Smith pulling into second base and the Bombers led 3-0.
But they weren’t finished. With one out, Swain doubled to center field to drive in Smith, and Swain scored on a Pacheco single and that made it 5-0 Bombers after the second inning.
The Woodchucks finally got on the board against the Bombers and starter Nick Medeiros (Santa Clara) in the fifth inning. Alex Cordova (UW La Crosse) walked, and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt. He eventually scored on a fielder’s choice to make it a 5-1 contest.
But the Bombers answered right back in the top of the sixth inning. Lin Li (Taiwan) led off the frame with a walk, and advanced to second base on a passed ball. Swain knocked him in with a single to push Battle Creek’s lead to 6-1. Swain swiped second base, and Cayce Bredlau (Austin Peay) hit an RBI single to make it a 7-1 game.
That’s when the Woodchucks tightened things up. They scored two against Medeiros in the sixth after a Troy Traxlor (Minnesota) single and a fielder’s choice made it 7-3, and that spelled the end of Medeiros’ day.
In the seventh, against new Bombers pitch Dalton Greenwalt (Urbana University), the Woodchucks used one swing of the bat to pull within two. Albee Weiss (Cal St Northridge) clobbered a two-run home run to straight away center field. It was Weiss’s 16th home run of the season, which leads the Northwoods League, and that cut the Bombers lead to 7-5.
Battle Creek was handed a key insurance run in the top of the ninth inning. Helsel singled and stole second base. With two out, Smith hit a routine ground ball, but Day threw it away allowing Helsel to score and giving the Bombers an 8-5 lead.
Bombers closer Mason Marshall (BYU) entered the game in the ninth inning for the save. He walked Yusuke Akitoshi (Cal St Northridge) and then Weiss followed up with second 2-run home run of the night. That made the score 8-7. After giving up a single and a walk, Marshall retied the next three hitters in order to hang on, earning the save (7) and giving the Bombers the game one win.
Medeiros (2-2) picked up for the win for the Bombers after tossing six innings. He allowed six hits, three earned runs and six strikeouts. Greenwalt gave up two earned runs in his two innings of work.
Some offensive highlights for the Bombers: Swain and Pacheco each hit three hits and one RBI. Helsel drew three walks, and Bredlau had an RBI.
The Bombers will play their final game of the 2015 Northwoods League Season on Sunday night; first pitch is at 5:05 CDT. Min Hsia (Taiwan) will toe the slab 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)