By Sedric Granger
Battle Creek, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers (27-15) defeated the Battle Creek Battle Jacks (15-28), 4-2, handing the Jacks their 3rd straight defeat.
Throughout the first five innings, the eighth round of the I-94 Rivalry played out in a back-and-forth manner. Although the Growlers took the lead initially in the top of the third, the Dogs answered with both a Luke Cheng (Illinois State) RBI single scoring Nikolas Clark (Davenport University) and a Brock Daniels (University of Missouri) RBI fielder’s choice scoring Jt Sokolove (Illinois State). In the top of the 5th inning, Kalamazoo took the lead back with a two-run frame for the third and final lead change of the matchup. The Battle Jacks were not able to recover after that.
Defensively, after giving up 17 runs yesterday, the Battle Jacks defense made some great plays to keep the Growlers relatively at bay. Jacob Davis (Kalamazoo College) got the start and had Battle Creek in position to win when he exited the game with an injury in the top of the 4th inning. As a result of the early exit by Davis, Jake Kampf (SIUE)was forced into the game earlier than expected. Despite that factor, Kampf delivered three and one thirds innings of work out of the bullpen with two earned runs allowed. Unfortunately for the Battle Jacks, the run support was not there to compensate for the runs given up. Brandon Markarian (University of Indianapolis) pitched the final two and two thirds innings for the Jacks and gave up just one earned run in that span. Battle Creek’s defense made some big plays behind the pitchers as well including two double plays and a ridiculous diving catch by Jake Allgeyer where he tripped over the mound and still brought the baseball into his glove.
Once again, the big struggle for the Battle Jacks offense today was the inability to push opposing teams into their bullpens. For the third time in their last five home games, Battle Creek fell victim to an opposing starting pitcher going for eight innings. In this game, Eamon Horwedel (University of Michigan) delivered eight solid innings of work, yielding only two earned runs. This start made it easy pickings for Kalamazoo’s closing pitcher to earn the save. The Blue and White will need to improve at driving up the pitch count in their plate appearances.
Since Kalamazoo just won for the sixth time in this twelve game season series, the Growlers have officially clinched at least a share of the I-94 rivalry cup.
With the loss, the Battle Jacks fall to 5-4 in the second half of the season and fall deeper into fourth place in the Great Lakes East. Battle Creek will look to snap their three-game losing streak against Kenosha 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 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.