The Battle Creek Bombers won both games in a day-night doubleheader against their arch-rivals, the Kalamazoo Growlers, on Wednesday. Game one went to the Bombers in a 12-6 decision, while game two saw a pitchers’ duel that Battle Creek won 1-0.
In the first game, which started at 1:05, Battle Creek quickly jumped out to a lead against Growlers starter Dion Henderson, scoring three runs in the first inning, including a 2-RBI double by Roy Thurman. The Bombers added two more runs in the second against reliever Ralph Gambino to push the lead to 5-0. A two-run fourth inning brought Kalamazoo closer, but Thurman would answer back with a solo home run in the bottom half of that same inning.
Walter Talcott went 5.2 innings pitched, allowing three runs, two of them earned. The Earlham College right-handed pitcher also struck out eight Growler hitters and was credited for the win. Kalamazoo made things slightly more interesting in the top of the eight, as a three-run inning cut the deficit to 9-6. Fox Leum hit a two-run home run to left field to cut the deficit, but a bases-clearing double by Josh Sears in the bottom of the eighth made the lead 12-6, which would hold up as the final score.
The second game was an entirely different style, as Calvin Starnes and Brennan Cox were both excellent on the mound. Starnes worked around eight walks, to give the Bombers 5.1 innings on the mound. Pablo Arevalo then contributed 1.2 innings, and the game was scoreless headed into the bottom of the eighth inning. A Hunter Ruhstorfer single, Michael Lee sacrifice bunt, and Erik Owen bunt set up an opportunity for the top of the Bombers lineup. After Kelby Weyler flew out to right field, Sears came up big again with a single to right field to score Ruhstorfer. Mitchell Lee delivered his best performance of the season, throwing two innings and allowing just one walk while striking out five to earn the save.
With the sweep, Battle Creek improves to 8-9 and sits just one game out of the top of the Great Lakes East division. The Bombers and Growlers will play the final game of a four-game set on Thursday at Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Currently in its’ 26th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 200 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.