Matt Sanders, Bombers broadcaster
The Battle Creek Bombers defeated the Lakeshore Chinooks 7-4 Thursday night at C.O. Brown Stadium, splitting the doubleheader. With the win, the Bombers clinched a spot in the 2016 Northwoods League playoffs, their first postseason appearance since their championship season in 2011. Battle Creek improved to 36-32 on the season and 18-14 in the second half with the win.
The Bombers took the lead early on in the game. Center fielder Dean Miller led off the second inning by reaching on a throwing error. Left fielder Daniel Jipping followed by hitting a ground-rule double, which advanced Miller to third. Third baseman Storm Joop followed by hitting a single, scoring both Miller and Jipping to give the Bombers the 2-0 lead. Joop advanced to second on a stolen base, and after Cody Young and Eric Gilgenbach both struck out, advanced to third on a Cory Sporrer two-out single. The Bombers put on the double steal, with Sporrer stealing second and Joop stealing home to give Battle Creek the 3-0 lead.
The Chinooks would go on to score one run in the third and two in the fifth to tie the game at three.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, second baseman Christian Helsel struck out, but reached first base safely on a dropped third strike. First baseman Nick Podkul followed by walking, which advanced Helsel to second. Both runners advanced 90 feet on a passed ball. Dean Miller then flew out to right field, which scored Helsel to give the Bombers the 4-3 lead.
The Chinooks would tie the game again, this time with an RBI fielder’s choice in the seventh inning.
With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Nick Podkul reached on a one-out single. Dean Miller then hit a two-run homerun over the center field wall to give Battle Creek the 6-4 lead.
The Bombers tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning. With two outs, shortstop Jarrod Watkins reached on a single and came around to score when Lakeshore’s left fielder Joe Duncan misplayed a routine fly ball off the bat of Christian Helsel, giving the Bombers the 7-4 lead, which ended up being the final score of the game.
Nigel Ward had a no decision for the Bombers. He allowed three runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. He walked two batters, struck out five batters and hit four. David Inman picked up the win for Battle Creek by throwing 3.2 innings of one-run baseball. He also allowed two walks and struck out five batters in the victory.
The Bombers and Chinooks face off again Friday night at 7:05 at C.O. Brown Stadium.