The Battle Creek Bombers fell 7-1 to the Traverse City Pit Spitters in a game that included 65 substitutions or defensive position changes and a rain delay.
In the final game of the first half of the Northwoods League season, little was on the line after Traverse City clinched the first-half division championship in a ten-inning slugfest in Battle Creek on Monday night. Pit Spitters manager Josh Rebandt sent both Kam Smith and Andrew Morrow to play all nine positions over the course of the game, and Battle Creek threw six different pitchers in the contest.
The Pit Spitters got out to a lead with a three-run frame in the second inning off of Bombers starting pitcher Jack Merrifield, who was making his sixth outing of the season but is primarily a third baseman. A single from Chris Faust and double from Jake Arnold highlighted the inning.
Battle Creek would respond with a run of their own in the bottom of the second inning. Kelby Weyler, who started the game at his primary position of shortstop but would eventually transition to first base, scored Kolby Johnson on an RBI groundout.
In the third inning, Traverse City would score one insurance run off of Trevor Smisek, who was making his debut this season for Battle Creek and is expected to, primarily, pitch. Four more Bombers would toe the rubber, all of them position players. Collin Clayton was the only to have previously pitched for Battle Creek this season.
Clayton, Josh Sears, Michael Morrissette and Michael Lee combined for six innings, giving up three runs on three hits with three walks, while striking out nine Pit Spitters. By the final inning, none of the four Bombers infielders were playing their primary positions. Gabe Sotres, who has only caught this season for Battle Creek, started the game in right field before moving to third base. Ping-Chun Ho, a right-handed pitcher in the Bombers bullpen, played shortstop. Sears, who has only played first base and has served as the designated hitter, moved to second base after his inning on the mound. The everyday shortstop Weyler was playing first base at the conclusion of the game for Battle Creek.
Twelve combined pitchers threw in the contest, which featured a rain delay of approximately 30 minutes before the beginning of the sixth inning. The second half of the Northwoods League season begins on Wednesday, as the Bombers host the Kalamazoo Growlers at C.O. Brown Stadium in the I-94 Rivalry Cup, presented by the OnStaff Group.
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.