Thirty-seven runs and 49 hits were registered between the Kalamazoo Growlers and Battle Creek Bombers over nearly 12 hours and two games, and Kalamazoo came out victorious in both contests.
The first game took place at Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo, in an 11:05 a.m. start on Camp Day in western Michigan. Offense came early and often in that contest, as both Battle Creek and Kalamazoo scored in the first and second innings. Four runs in the second frame for Battle Creek, including a two-RBI double from Josh Sears, gave Battle Creek what was at the time a 5-1 lead. Kalamazoo stormed back in the bottom half of the fourth inning, though, with seven runs to take a lead they would never relinquish.
Battle Creek starter Nick Klee was tagged with the loss after allowing seven earned runs on three hits. One run in the seventh inning for Battle Creek brought the deficit to 11-8, as DJ Moore was called on for a six-out save. The Huntington University right-hander delivered, working a scoreless eighth and ninth innings to finish off Battle Creek in Kalamazoo by the score of 11-8.
The scene shifted to C.O. Brown Stadium for the second episode of the doubleheader, a 7:05 start in Battle Creek. Once again, both offenses got off to hot starts, as both the Growlers and Bombers plated runs in the first inning. Battle Creek starter Lyle Hibbitts navigated the first four innings without allowing a hit, but allowed a knock by catcher Hunter Thorn with one out in the fifth inning. From there, the flood gates opened for the Growlers. Kalamazoo put up seven runs once again, chasing Hibbitts from the game and sending twelve batters to the plate. A 2-RBI single from Thorn in his second at-bat of the inning punctuated the frame.
Battle Creek would storm back in the bottom of the seventh inning, though. A bases-clearing double from Battle Creek’s newest face, Anthony Catalano, followed by an RBI-single from Michael Morrissette tied the game at 8-8. A perfect squeeze bunt and John Malcom error in the eighth inning, though, gave Kalamazoo the lead that they would hold on to. Eamon Horwedel threw two and a third innings to shut the door for the Growlers, and give Kalamazoo an important sweep to move four games above .500.
Kalamazoo takes a 6-4 lead over Battle Creek in the I-94 Rivalry Cup with the sweep. The Bombers return to action on Thursday at Simmons Field in Kenosha, Wisconsin to take on the Kingfish.
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.