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Published On: June 6th, 2023

By Sedric Granger

The Rockford Rivets staved off a two-run Battle Jacks 9th inning to win the first game of the series, 4-3. 

The Battle Creek offense struggled for most of the game. Through the first eight innings of the contest, the Battle Jacks only had one run and one hit. Kyle Ratliff (SIUE) kept up Battle Creek’s trend of scoring in the first three innings of the game with his terrific display of base running. Ratliff reached first base on a walk, stole second base, advanced to third base on a passed ball, and scored on a throwing error on Rockford’s catcher. That scoring play gave the Battle Jacks a, 1-0, lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning.

Aside from that sequence, the Battle Jacks were stifled by the Rivets’ pitchers and defense up until the 9th inning. One of the Rockford pitchers that had a lights out performance was former Battle Jacks player Cameron Nohos (Loras College). In his return to the Cereal City, he pitched two scoreless innings, striking out three batters with his lethal fast ball. 

With the offense struggling, it was up to the pitching staff to keep the Battle Jacks in the game. Starting pitcher Blaine Wynk (Findlay) once again had a solid outing for the Dogs.

“I want to see Blaine Wynk follow it up,” said Field Manager Clark before the game. “We talk a lot about stacking days. Hunter had a good start as well as Kam. We want to keep putting one good outing on top of the other.”

Wynk continued the trend of good starts for the Battle Jacks, allowing only a single earned run while impressively striking out eight batters in four and a third innings pitched. Nick George (William Penn), Tre Benjamin (Western Illinois), and Avery Mosseau (St. Anselm College) all came out of the bullpen for the Battle Jacks and pitched well, yielding only three runs collectively. Benjamin had his best outing of the season, going two and one third innings which included a 7th inning where he struck out the side. Overall, the Blue and White were able to limit a Rivets offense that had averaged eight runs per game in the month of June to just four runs. 

The strong performance on the hill gave the Battle Jacks a chance to come back in the bottom of the 9th. Trailing 4-1, Jt Sokolove (Illinois State) and Fisher Pyatt (Central Arizona College) each drew a pair of lead off walks in the frame. With a runner in scoring position, Cam Farrar (Findlay) hit an RBI single to right field, scoring Sokolove. Fisher Pyatt then took advantage of a wild pitch by the Rivets to come across the plate, narrowing Rockford’s lead to just a single run. A few moments later, The Battle Jacks had the bases loaded with the tying run at the third base bag and the potential winning run at second. 

Unfortunately for Battle Creek, that moment is when Rockford’s closing pitcher Zach Kempe (Notre Dame) showed ice in his veins. With two outs in the 9th inning, Kempe struck out the Battle Jacks to retire the side, earn the save, and seal the road victory for the Rivets, 4-3. 

Although the Battle Jacks comeback effort came up just short, their two-run 9th inning marked the first time that Battle Creek has scored in the ninth inning all season. If the Battle Jacks want to win more games this season, it is pivotal for them to be able to continue to score runs late in games.

With this loss, the Battle Jacks (2-7) now fall to five games out of first place in the Great Lakes East Division. Battle Creek will aim to defeat Rockford (5-4) for the first time this season on Wednesday. 


The Battle Creek Battle Jacks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 27th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 250 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB Gold Glove finalist and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set Battle Creek as your favorite team.