Bombers Walk Off on Rivets in Dramatic Comeback
The Battle Creek Bombers won their first extra innings game of the season 8-7 via a walk-off wild pitch in the bottom half of the 11th inning.
Battle Creek needed a remarkable six-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning to force free baseball. Down 7-1 entering the inning, Erik Owen led off with a walk and Kelby Weyler continued with a single. A Roy Thurman three-run home run cut the deficit to 7-4, but Battle Creek wasn’t done. John Malcom scored on a double and advanced home on a pair of wild pitches to cut the deficit to two. Johnson then walked, and back-to-back singles for Jack Merrifield and Michael Morrisette brought the Bombers closer.
Rhett McCall grounded into a fielders’ choice to tie the game, and Erik Owen struck out to finally end the ninth. Due to Northwoods League rules, each team started the extra inning with a runner on second base. Neither team was able to score in the tenth, as Burrell Jones was dominant for Battle Creek and Kolby Johnson grounded out with the bases loaded.
In the 11th, Battle Creek was able to complete the job. Kolby Johnson reached second base by rule to begin the inning, Jack Merrifield got hit by a pitch, and Michael Morrisette walked to set up a bases-loaded, nobody out situation for Rhett McCall. McCall never had to put the ball in play, though, as a wild pitch from Joe Dittmar plated Johnson to win the game.
Rockford got out to an early start, scoring two runs in the fifth, one in the seventh, two in the eighth, and two in the ninth. The Bombers almost gave up more in the top half of the ninth, but third baseman Jack Merrifield made a diving play with pitcher Erik Owen on the mound and the bases loaded with two outs. Three Rockford pitchers in the bottom of the ninth, though, were unable to protect the lead, and Battle Creek capitalized.
The two teams will meet again Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.
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.