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Published On: June 26th, 2022

KALAMAZOO, MI — Following a 15-2 loss in the rescheduled game one of a twin bill, the Battle Creek Battle Jacks turned it around with a 8-7 victory in eight innings in game two against the Kalamazoo Growlers Sunday. It was just the second win in eight tries for the Battle Jacks against their rivals to the west. The series finale featured a near-perfect game from Brett Sanchez, and some late-game heroics from Bobby Nichols.

Game 1

Originally started on June 13, the rescheduled game started with the Growlers up 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth. They scored five in the inning, featuring a sky-high three run homer to left by Brandon Moore.

The Battle Jacks got one back in the top of of the fifth. Jace Matkin led off the frame with a single to left, and Pat Mills plated him with a two-out, RBI single.

Kalamazoo responded with two more in the bottom of the inning. Cole Russo came through with his second hit of the game, a two-run single to give the Growlers a 10-2 cushion.

The Growlers scored five more in the sixth. A Colton Coca two-run single and Griffin O’Ferrall RBI knock were two of just three hits in the inning. Kalamazoo held on for a 15-2 win.

Game 2

After dropping the first two games in the series against their rivals, the Battle Jacks (14-14) beat the Growlers (16-12). This will be the last time these two team’s paths will cross in the first half of the summer.

Sanchez was phenomenal through 5.2 innings with a perfect game going into the sixth inning. He only allowed 2 hits and 1 walk to go along with no earned runs.

The Battle Jacks got game two started with a bang as catcher Billy Hancock took the 2-0 pitch 341 feet over the left field wall for a one run lead.

Battle Creek tacked on another run in the fourth as Mills hit his 13th double off the ivy-covered wall in right-center field. Mills leads the league in doubles, as this hit came off that bat at a hot 98 mph. Shortstop Dillon Kark lifted a pop out to center that moved Mills to third as a wild pitch brought him across.

The team to the east was not done, however, as the Battle jacks added 2 more to cushion their lead. It was a hit parade that began with first baseman Aaron Dolney’s eighth double of the season. James Canar squared to bunt, but after fouling two off, drilled a single to put runners at the corners. Fisher Pyatt, the switch hitter, went to the plate from the right side and shot a double into left field that reached the wall and plated a couple more. BC took a comfortable four run lead going into the bottom of the fifth.

BC kept piling on in the sixth as Kark reached on an error and Matkin took a single into left field. Dolney chopped a hit down the left field line that could have plated a run, but Kark took a hard fall rounding third. With the bases loaded, Pyatt worked a walk to plate one and center fielder Rafael Gomez Jr. blooped a ball to left to score another and grab a 6-0 lead.

Sanchez had a perfect game going into the bottom frame of the sixth before a hit-by-pitch broke that up. Catcher Daniel Pruitt hit a single into right to break up the no-hitter as Moore reached on a walk. With two outs and the bases loaded, Anthony Stephan hit a groundball to shortstop Kark that was mishandled by Canar at second and kept the inning alive. With the bases loaded again, DH Ryan Dykstra jacked a triple that cleared the bases and brought the Growlers within one. A wild pitch by Battle Jacks reliever Anthony Tejeda tied the game as Kalamazoo mounted the improbable 6-run comeback.

Tejeda shut down Kalamazoo in the bottom of the seventh with the help of an incredible play over the foul fence by Nichols. The game was sent to extra innings, as it was originally scheduled as a 7-inning game.

Staring down the barrel of a blown 6-run lead, a couple hit-by-pitches proved costly as the bases were loaded for Nichols. He squeezed a ball through the left side of the infield to plate two and take a two-run cushion.

The Growlers threatened after a wild pitch scored a run and two more reached. With the winning run at first, Tejeda shut the door and the Battle Jacks drive home as victors in game 2.

Standouts at the plate for BC include Dolney, who went 2-4 with a double, Pyatt, who went 1-3 with a double, Hancock who went 1/4 with a home run and Nichols, who went 1-4 with a game-winning single.

The Battle Jacks return to action against Traverse City tomorrow at 6:35 p.m. ET back at MCCU Field.