Battle Creek, MI – The Battle Creek Battle Jacks (25-43, 15-19) produced a well-rounded performance to defeat the Traverse City Pit Spitters (39-29, 16-15), 4-2.
The winning effort all started with the stellar performance from Tyler Mckinstry (Davenport) on the mound.
“I wanted to go out there and compete and give us our best shot to win,” said McKinstry with a smile. “I wanted to keep going in the game so that the bullpen did not have to go too far.”
McKinstry achieved a season-high seven innings pitched with four strikeouts and only two earned runs given up, earning him his second win of the season. The freshman pitcher out of Davenport showed strong command of his breaking pitches, picking up strikes all evening with his curveball. He paired that pitch with an effective fastball that Traverse City had no answer for.
Mckinstry was aided by some solid run support from the Battle Jacks offense. After falling behind by a pair of runs early, the Battle Jacks showed terrific composure en route to scoring four unanswered runs. Jake Allgeyer (Southern Illinois) drove in Cole Mason (Kellogg Community College) on an RBI single to put Battle Creek on the board in the 3rd inning. The Battle Jacks kept their momentum up in the ensuing frame when Spencer Verburg (Central Michigan) tied the game on an RBI double driving in Kyle Ratliff (SIUE).
“We have been playing baseball together forever,” said Verburg after the victory. “It always feels nice when Ratliff and I do something collectively together. It feels nice knowing that we have come a long way. It is special to share the field one last time.”
Ratliff and Verburg played on the same travel baseball team in their teen years. As a result, the outfielder out of SIUE and the catcher out of Central Michigan have had a strong friendship for a long time. Ratliff and Verburg have been a dynamic duo, especially in this second half for the Battle Jacks.
In the 6th inning, the Battle Jacks pushed through to take the lead. First, the Dogs took the lead when Sebastian Kuhns (Huntington) hammered an RBI double to left field, scoring Anthony Aloisio (Davenport). Lastly, Battle Creek added an insurance run when Verburg drove in Kuhns on an RBI single.
With the Jacks up 4-2, closing pitcher Jaylen Morgan (Southern Wesleyan) and the Battle Jacks defense made critical plays to maintain the lead. With two runners in scoring position in the 8th inning, Jay Adams (Concordia) made a nice snag on a line drive to retire the Pit Spitter scoring threat. In the 9th inning, the Blue and White closed the game with a thrilling double play in which Adams made a spinning throw to Mason at 2nd base who subsequently threw the ball down to Aloisio at 1st base to seal the victory. This outing marked the first save of the season for Morgan.
Overall, the Battle Jacks finished the game with four runs on nine base hits. This effort was a huge bounce back from the three hit outing on the prior night. Seven out of the nine batters in the Battle Creek lineup finished with at least one base hit, including two players (Aloisio and Verburg) who finished with two hits.
With this win, although the Battle Jacks finished their 12-game season series against Traverse City with a 4-8 record, the Dogs split the second half series against the Pit Spitters three games a piece. Battle Creek will look to keep up their winning ways against Kalamazoo 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.