By Sedric Granger
Battle Creek, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers (25-16) take care of business against the Battle Creek Battle Jacks (15-27), 17-4, to both take first place in the second half playoff race and win their fourth game straight.
Through the first six innings of the game, round seven of the I-94 rivalry game was a contested battle. In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Kyle Ratliff (SIUE) drove in Blake Salamon (Northwood University) on a sacrifice fly to give the Battle Jacks an early lead. After that, Brock Daniels stole home in exciting fashion to put Battle Creek ahead, 2-0. Although Kalamazoo responded with a run in both the 3rd and 4th innings to tie the game, Luke Cheng (Illinois State) had the answer. Cheng scorched a two-RBI double, scoring both Jt Sokolove (Illinois State) and Riley Silva (Nebraska). The Jacks, clad in their camouflage alternates, would take a 4-2 lead into the 6th inning.
Everything went downhill for Battle Creek in the 6th inning when the Growlers scorched a home run to right field to get within a single run. In the 7th inning, Kalamazoo took the lead for the first time behind a clutch hit by Myles Beale (Northwood University), who now has two straight starts in which he drove in the go-ahead runs against Battle Creek. The Growlers then benefited off of a total of 14 walks in the game, to put up 10 insurance runs in the 9th to clinch the victory, 17-4.
With this loss, the Battle Jacks fall into 4th place in the Great Lakes East 2nd half standings with a 5-3 record. The Blue and White are now 2-5 against their I-94 rivals. With their being only 12 games per season, the Battle Jacks must win out against Kalamazoo to win the I-94 Rivalry Cup. Battle Creek will aim to bounce back against Kalamazoo on Tuesday.
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.