Isaiah Gibbs sliding in safely. (Article by Brendan Nordstrom, Photo by Gregory Pietsch)
BATTLE CREEK, MI – In a game that was the opposite of yesterday’s pitcher’s duel, both offenses exploded as the Rockford Rivets (16-18) defeated the Battle Creek Battle Jacks (17-17) 10-9. The game would see ten pitchers across both teams as the two clubs were neck-and-neck throughout the entire contest.
The Battle Jacks started off the scoring with a dominant four-run lead. One of the Northwoods League walk leaders Fisher Pyatt earned his 29th to start the game, which was followed up by the Northwoods League double leader, Patrick Mills hitting double number 14. Joey Grabanski hit a sac-fly to score Pyatt and scratch the early lead.
The third inning was a big one for Battle Creek as three runs crossed, starting with Rafael Gomez Jr. bunting on and Pyatt earning walk number 30. Patrick Mills decided doubles were not enough, sending a two-RBI triple to right field. Joey Grabanski hit his second straight sac-fly to make it a 4-0 game.
The Rivets were not going to go quietly and responded with two in the fourth. Back-to-back walks started the inning off as Rockford’s Tony Lindwedel was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rockford’s Colton Klein sent a hot shot ball back at Battle Jacks starting pitcher Dominic Hann to score a run. With the bases still loaded, another batter was hit to walk in a run.
The Battle Jacks picked up another in the fifth thanks to an Isaiah Gibbs single, a Gomez Jr. sac-bunt, and a Pyatt RBI single.
The Rivets tied the game up with a big three-run sixth inning after a pair of singles and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases once again. Rockford’s Matthew Mebane hit a bases-clearing double to tie the game at five.
BC retook their lead after Jace Matkin started off the bottom of the sixth with a single and Robbie Merced scored him with a single of his own.
The Rivets then snatched the lead right back after back-to-back walks started the top frame of the seventh. Rockford’s Colton Klein walked to score a run and the Rivets would pull a trick out of their hat, stealing home for the lead.
Battle Creek kept the one-run-per-inning consistency as Pyatt doubled to center field and would score on a miscommunicated pop fly that hit the infield grass.
The team from Illinois unloaded for a huge eighth inning to take a three-run lead beginning with a Mebane single to left. Brantley recorded a hit and Mebane would score on a wild pitch. Rockford’s Dustin Allen worked a walk to load the bases as Klein sent a single up the middle for a huge two-RBI knock and a 10-7 lead.
The script was written for Battle Creek as Matkin and Robbie Merced led off the eighth with back-to-back free passes. Gabe Sotres walked, and Bobby Nichols hit a huge two-RBI single through the infield gap. With one out and runners at the corners, the Battle Jacks could not muster anymore, down a run heading into the ninth.
BC reliever Anthony Tejeda went 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth. Unfortunately, so did the Battle Jacks as they found themselves on the wrong side of an offensive shootout.
Standouts at the dish for Battle Creek include a 2/3 day with two walks and an RBI for Fisher Pyatt and a 2/5 day with a double, a triple, and two RBIs for Patrick Mills.
Battle Creek will close out the first half with a two-game series down in Kokomo, Indiana against the Jackrabbits starting tomorrow at 2:05 p.m.