BATTLE CREEK, MI., – The Bombers defeat the Growlers 4-1 in the first of a two-game series and now the final game of the season between the rivals will decide the I-94 Cup champion. The Growlers lead the series 6-5.
Kalamazoo got on the board first in the second inning as Brett Barrera deposited a solo home run over the party deck in left field and gave the Growlers a 1-0 lead. This would be their only lead and only run of the game.
Battle Creek starter Sean Hoey only gave up that one mistake to Barrera. He went six innings only giving up one run on five hits and struck out five. Hoey recorded a quality start and got the win.
After the home run, Battle Creek would come back. In the bottom of the fourth, Trevor Patterson walked and stole second base. Matt Catalfo would single him to third, and with runners on the corners, Brian Zapp would bloop a single just over the first baseman and tie the game.
After the tie, Hoey would set down 10 Growlers in a row and get some run support in the bottom of the sixth. Patterson led off the inning with a double, Catalfo walked, and Zapp loaded the bases with a bunt single. After a strike out, Ray Hilbrich would get hit by the first pitch and give the Bombers a 2-1 lead. They would leave the bases loaded, however.
Gunner Morris would take the mound in the seventh in relief of Hoey. Morris would give up one hit and strike out three through three innings. That one hit was a single and was erased on a caught stealing so Morris would face the minimum through his three innings of work and record the save.
The insurance runs for Battle Creek came in the bottom of the eighth. Zapp led off with a double, TJ McCormick would lay down a sacrifice bunt and then reach first. Hilbrich singled home Zapp to make it 3-1. After a fielder’s choice, Cameron Dalrymple would drive home Hilbrich on an RBI single to right field.
Growlers went 1-2-3 against Morris in the ninth, and the game was final. 4-1 for Battle Creek and the win sets up a chance for the Bombers to split the season series tomorrow. The final game between the I-94 rivals is set for 6:35 PM on Tuesday. Kalamazoo can claim the cup with a victory, but Battle Creek will look to win the last four games against the Growlers and split the trophy.
By Josh Baker