BATTLE CREEK, MI., – The Bombers started a home and home series with the Kalamazoo Growlers Monday night with a 5-4 loss at C. O. Brown Stadium. Battle Creek scored first and put up one run in four separate innings, but a five spot for the Growlers in the top of the fourth was the difference.
Lyle Hibbitts got the start for the Bombers but was only able to throw five pitches and retire the first batter of the evening before leaving the game with an injury. Isaac Van Dyke came on in relief of Hibbitts and pitched three and two-thirds innings. He gave up five runs but only two of those earned on three hits.
Battle Creek scored first in the bottom of the third against Kalamazoo starter Hayden Berg. After a fielder’s choice was ruled a double play due to runner interference, Steven Krause had to return to third base after scoring a run. However, on the next pitch, new addition Jack Merrifield drove Krause in with an RBI single.
The 1-0 lead was short lived. Back-to-back walks to start the top of the fourth for Kalamazoo and then a slow tapper in the infield aided by two errors gave Luke Storm the little league home run and the Growlers were up 3-1. Cooper Doughman would supply and RBI single and Dominic Patelli recorded an RBI sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 5-1.
The main reason for Battle Creek’s defeat however was runners left on base. The Bombers stranded the bases loaded in the fourth and the fifth. In the sixth they loaded the bases again and Harold Coll would score on a passed ball to make it 5-2 Kalamazoo. In the seventh Mason Sykes drove in Ed Johnson on an RBI fielder’s choice to cut into the lead again.
The intensity of the game grew as both teams went quiet in the eighth, and then in the bottom of the ninth, the Bombers started to get some base runners again. A walk to Jacob McKeon after the first out of the inning, then a walk to Drew Dyer after out number two put the tying run at first base. Krause hit a line drive single into the outfield to score McKeon from second and make it a one run game. Then, Coll stepped up to the plate. In a 2-1 count, Coll put good wood on the ball but unfortunately for Battle Creek it was a fly out to right field to end the game.
The Bombers would leave a season-high 15 runners on base in the 5-4 loss. Berg records the win and Van Dyke is given the loss as Braden Forsyth gets the save. Battle Creek and Kalamazoo do it again at 6:35 Tuesday night.
By Josh Baker