By: Ari Ross, Broadcaster
Down 7-2 midway through the fifth inning, the Battle Creek Bombers battled back to top the Kalamazoo Growlers, 8-7.
The Growlers started things off in the second, scoring three runs as they quickly loaded the bases and scored on Connor Olsen's walk and Connor Kopach's 2 RBI single. But the Bombers kept things close in the bottom half of the inning as Nick Walker singled and scored on Daniel Jipping's double. Jipping would score later in the inning on Christian Helsel's RBI groundout to keep the Bombers within one.
Felix Minjarez shut down the Growlers in the third, but Kalamazoo would score two in the fourth and one in the fifth to take a 6-2 lead. Minjarez finished the game with a no-decision, going 5 and 2/3 innings, striking out 8.
In the bottom of the sixth the Bombers would tack on two more, cutting the Growlers lead to 2 as Walker and Jipping were at it again, with Jipping getting another 2 RBIs on a towering two-run blast into the left field seats.
Helsel and Eric Gilgenbach would double in the seventh to cut the Growlers lead to one, but Kalamazoo would make it a two-run game, heading into the bottom of the eight.
In the bottom of the eight, Jordon Gonzalez was wild on the mound, with six of his first seven pitches going for balls, as he walked and hit the first two batters to bring up Jipping. Jipping smacked another double, this one for 2 RBIs, two tie the game at 7. Jipping would finish the evening 3 for 4 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs, earning himself his first Northwoods League Position Player of the Night honors.
Clayton Whelchel would come on in relief for Gonzalez and strike out Cooper Marshall, but Hesel would give the Bombers the lead with his second double of the game. Helsel finished the game 2 for 4 with two doubles, a run and an RBI.
Ahead 8-7, Brandon Guske came on and pitched a scoreless ninth, picking up a save and clinching the first win of the season for Battle Creek.
Kristen Johnson-Battilana picked up the win for the Bombers while Gonzalez took the loss for the Growlers.
The Bombers (1-2) will head to Kalamazoo (1-2) for games two and three of the I-94 rivalry series, presented by the OnStaff Group, before returning to C.O. Brown Stadium for the finale. Game 2 of the four-game series will take place Friday night at Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo at 7:05 and can be heard live on the Bombers UStream page.