By: Ari Ross, Broadcaster
The Battle Creek Bombers hit four home runs en route to a 12-3 win over the Wisconsin Woodchucks Saturday evening at Athletic Park in Wausau, Wisconsin.
It wouldn't take long for the Bombers to get on the board as they continued their recent power surge against Woodchucks' starter Andy Dodson in the top of the first. After Jarrod Watkins led off the inning, reaching first on a hit by pitch, Nick Podkul launched a towering two-run shot, his fifth of the season, over the left field wall to give the Bombers an early 2-0 lead.
But Battle Creek wouldn't stop there as they'd knock Dodson out of the game in the top of the second after just 1.2 innings pitched.
Jacob Blunt led off the top of the second with a single, advancing to third on Cody Sporrer's single. With runners at second and third, Storm Joop walked to load the bases before Christian Helsel would clear them with his grand slam, giving the Bombers a 6-0 lead.
The Bombers would continue to pour on the runs in the third inning as Daniel Jipping led off the inning with a solo home run, his 12th home run of the season, to extend the Bombers' lead to 7-0. Blunt would follow Jipping's home run with a walk before back-to-back singles from Cody Sporrer and Storm Joop would load the bases once again for the Battle Creek Bombers.
Eric Gilgenbach's RBI groundout would give the Bombers an eight-run lead before Watkins' sacrifice fly would extend it to nine heading to the bottom of the third.
Battle Creek would add another run in the top of the fifth as Blunt led off the inning with a hit by pitch, advanced to second on Sporrer's third single of the day, third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball, before the Woodchucks would finally get on the board against Scott Sency in the bottom of the fifth.
Down 10-0, Connor Heady launched a solo shot to get the Woodchucks on the board and cut the Bombers' lead to 10-1.
Once again in the bottom of the sixth, the Woodchucks would cut into the Bombers' lead, as they loaded the bases on two walks and a single, and after an RBI groundout, Krystien Johnson-Battilana came on in relief for Sency with one out and the bases once again loaded.
Johnson-Battilana would settle the storm though as he'd get Chad Fleischman to pop out and then struck out Toran Shahidi for the final out of the inning to keep the Bombers' lead at 10-2.
Sency finished his eleventh start of the season pitching 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out and walking four in his fifth win of the season.
Johnson-Battilana would keep the Woodchucks off the scoreboard in the seventh before Battle Creek would add to its eight-run lead in the top of the eighth as Helsel hit his second home run of the night, this time a two-run shot to deep left. Helsel finished 2 for 5 on the night with two home runs, two runs scored and six RBIs.
The Woodchucks would get another run off Edgar Sanchez in the bottom of the eighth, but Sanchez would strike out Marquise Doherty to strand runners at first and third and send the Bombers to the ninth.
With the win, the Bombers move to 35-29 overall and 17-11 in the second half, while the Woodchucks fall to 29-35 and 16-13 in the second half. And with the win and Kalamazoo and Green Bay's losses, the Bombers magic number to clinch a playoff berth drops to 4.
The Bombers will send Austin Nazabal to the hill Sunday afternoon at 3:05 CST/4:05 EST at Athletic Park as they go for the two-game sweep of the Woodchucks, looking to move one game closer to clinching their first playoff berth since 2011.