Battle Creek Drops Series Opener vs. Rafters
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc. – Battle Creek fell for a third-straight time against the league-leading Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Wednesday night 6-4 in a thrilling affair at Witter Field.
Battle Creek hopped on the Rafters to open the game. Alex Howard (Arkansas State) got on base with a one out single. Nick Walker (Austin Peay) doubled to the gap to score Howard. Walker extended his hit streak to seventeen games. Battle Creek’s Aaron Antonini (Middle Tennessee State) singled up the middle to score Walker, Battle Creek took a 2-0 lead to start.
The Rapids Rafters answered back. A two-out solo home run cut the deficit in half. Battle Creek starter Taylor Horn (Wayne State University) got out of the inning with a putout back to him on the mound. In the second inning, Nikola Vasic (Southern Illinois) singled to left field. Cody Hawken (University of Portland) was robbed of a potential double in left field on a spectacular diving play to deep left. The Rafters were held scoreless by Horn in the second as well.
In the fourth, Alec Trela (University of Memphis) doubled with two outs for his first hit in twelve games. Trela was stranded on second base when Hawken hit another rifle to centerfield. Horn continued his great start, sitting the Rafters down in order in the fourth.
The bottom of the fifth inning sparked big controversy. The Rafters blasted a ball down the left field line which was ruled a home run. Brian Solemsaas, field manager for the Bombers, disagreed with the call and sternly expressed his opinions to the third base umpire. It resulted in him getting thrown out of the game. The home run tied the two teams 2-2.
In the sixth, the Bombers left Tom Stoffel (Virginia Tech) stranded after he singled for the first time in the game. Horn allowed a single to start the sixth and was pulled after that. Unfortunately, Horn finished his fourth start of the summer with the loss, but he tossed 5.1 innings, allowed seven hits, three runs and struck out two. Zach Helsel (Miami-Dade) balked before he threw a pitch, which sent the runner to second base. An error on Howard the shortstop moved the runner to third, and Helsel threw a wild pitch which allowed the Rafters to their first lead of the night 3-2.
With two outs in the seventh, Nick Menken (Virginia Tech) walked. Howard followed him with his third single of the night. A pitching change on Walker didn’t work, as he tied the game up with a single to left center. Antonini stepped in and chopped one to first, it got under the first baseman’s mitt and Howard scored from second on the error. Battle Creek regained the lead 4-3.
The Rafters responded right away. A lead-off double got it started for the Rafters. Helsel then overthrew Stoffel at first on a sac bunt attempt, which allowed a run to tie the game 4-4. The Rafters regained the lead on a sac fly which scored the runner that reached on an error. A solo home run, and the third on the night for the Rafters, extended their lead to 6-3.
The Bombers were retired in the eighth and ninth innings to fall to 0-3 against the Rafters this season.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
He is Sixteen, Goin’ on Seventeen…
- Walker extended his hit streak to seventeen games tonight with his RBI double in the first. He’s batting .412 (26-63) with 14 RBI, 1 home run, six doubles and 11 runs scored. The Spring Hill, Tennessee native recorded his ninth multi-hit game including his fourth in July. He also brought in multi-RBIs in a game for the sixth time this year.
- Howard’s multi-hit game was his sixteenth of the summer and fourth three-hit game. The Albuquerque, New Mexico native has a hit in 27 of his 31 games played this summer. Howard’s average in July is hitting 20-45 (.444).
Glad to Have You Back!
- Antonini recorded his second RBI in his last two games played. He’s 2-8 with 2 RBI and a double since returning from his strained hamstring.
The Bombers will battle the Rafters again tomorrow at 8:05 CT in the final game of this four-game road stand. Battle Creek will look to beat the Rafters for the first time this year. Jake Hromada will have the call ten minutes prior to first pitch on the Bombers Radio Network.
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The Battle Creek Bombers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 160 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.battlecreekbombers.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Bombers as your favorite team.