By Sedric Granger
Battle Creek, MI- The Traverse City Pit Spitters used a big first inning to dominate Battle Creek Battle Jacks, 14-4.
After the 16 hit day against Rockford, Battle Creek aimed to find sustainability in their offensive output.
“If we could find a way to continue to get offense at the plate and match that with our base running, we can be a team that plays at a high level,” said Field Manager Chris Clark. “As long as we are able to sustain this effort and stack days, we are going to be tough to beat down the stretch.”
Unfortunately for Clark and the Battle Jacks, today was just not their day against Traverse City. The humbling loss showcased how difficult it is to sustain success in the Northwoods League.
Before Battle Creek could grab the bats, the first place Pit Spitters took advantage of the Battle Jacks’ inability to find the strike zone. Traverse City drew five walks in the opening frame, allowing perfect opportunities for their offense to drive in multiple runs by just getting a base hit. The Pit Spitters plated nine runs on three hits and two fielding errors, delivering a knockout blow to the Battle Jacks early.
The Dogs did have some stand out performances. Dylan Howanitz (West Chester) struck out four in two relief innings pitched. Nikolas Clark (Davenport) had a great day both offensively and defensively for the Battle Jacks as he went two-for-three at the plate with a pair of RBIs and a walk as well as a diving catch from his shortstop position. Lastly, Jt Sokolove (Illinois State) continued his hot streak with his second multi-hit performance in a row.
Battle Jacks (3-8) have lost some ground in the playoff race as the first place Pit Spitters (8-3) now hold a five game advantage. The Jacks are now 1-5 in series openers. Fortunately for Battle Creek, they have a chance to get a game back against Traverse City on Friday.
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 www.battlejacksbaseball.com 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.