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Published On: July 1st, 2022

Article by Bryce Tinson. Photo by Glizzy Greg (Gregory Pietsch)

Battle Creek, MI–The first half title might already be decided, but that doesn’t take away from the importance of these games. The Battle Creek Battle Jacks knew that and were looking for their second straight win, this time against Rockford. Last night in Mequon, Wisconsin they were able to get it done with the bats, winning 15-7 behind two Joey Grabanski long balls. Tonight was a different story as the Battle Jacks walk it off, 2-1.

Usually, when a game has a walk off that’s the best part of the game. While it was awesome and exciting, the best part today was the master class put on by starting pitcher Garrett Martin. From the jump he had command of every single pitch. He was painting corners effortlessly, making the Rockford look silly. By the end of the second inning he had four K’s to his name. Time and time again he would come out and deal. The zone and the hitters were at his mercy. He went five innings only allowing two baserunners. It was in the sixth that he was tested. Two of the first three batters he faced singled to get on base. That didn’t matter to Martin. He remained stone cold, striking out the next batter. With runners on first and third he induced a pop up in foul territory to get out of the jam. He finished his day with a 1-2-3 seventh inning, striking out the final batter he faced, bringing the tally to nine.

He exited the game with a no decision, even with seven scoreless innings under his belt. Rockford starter, David Mata was going tit for tat with Martin. He exited the game after five scoreless and seven strikeouts.

Finally, in the eighth inning the first run would score. Bobby Nichols led the inning off with a heads up base running double. He would be moved over to third by Patrick Mills, but scored all on his own as a pitch got away from the Rivets catcher. The Rivets responded in the top of the ninth. Matthew Mebane reached on error in the first at bat of the inning, stealing second, then advancing to third on a baulk. It would be a Brody Harding bloop single that scored him. Harding reached second by way of a steal. With two outs, Drew Baker lined a single to centerfield. It looked like the Rivets were going to score the go-ahead run, but Bobby Nichols had other plans. With a cannon shot from centerfield to home, Nichols dusted Harding as Billy Hancock applied the tag. That would set up the ninth. It was a lot less anticlimactic than the Robbie Merced walk off against Kenosha, but it was still thrilling. Fisher Pyatt reached by way of walk and then came around to score on three different wild pitches.

Gavin Knust and Anthony Tejeda were also fantastic in relief for the Battle Jacks, not allowing a single earned run and working out of multiple jams.

The Battle Jacks are at it again tomorrow, looking for the series sweep as they jump to 4-1 against Rockford this season. First pitch is set for 6:35 PM at MCCU Field.