Bombers Continue I-94 Road Success
The Kalamazoo Growlers (27-16) and the Battle Creek Bombers (21-22) have maintained a five-year rivalry where the two are only separated by 28 miles of I-94 pavement. During the 2018 season the road team has gotten the best of the series winning the first five games of this seasons rivalry.
Battle Creek has lost 4-of-5 games after being swept by the Growlers at C.O. Brown Stadium. They made their way over to Kalamazoo Wednesday night to try to and even the mark at Homer Stryker Field.
Amani Godfrey (3-3) got the start for the Bombers while the Kalamazoo native Adam Wheaton (1-3) got the start for the Growlers.
Both pitchers got their way out of the first inning unscathed, but the second inning was a whole new ball game. Mike Brown leadoff for Battle Creek and ripped a double. Jalen Thomas was up next and matched Brown’s double with an RBI double to make it 1-0 Battle Creek. Jalen Thomas scored later in the inning after a dropped strike three and ensuing error by Brendan Rivoli of Kalamazoo. Battle Creek lead 2-0 midway through the inning. Kalamazoo would answer back in the bottom half of the inning which started off with a pair of singles and a hit by pitch to get the bases loaded with no outs. Sam Hall earned an RBI on a walk which scored Sam Crail. Jason Sullivan earned an RBI on a walk too which brought home Jared Miller. Brendan Rivoli earned an RBI as well on a fielder’s choice reach which brought home Jordan Bowersox and gave the Growlers a 3-2 lead through the second.
The Bombers had an immediate answer in the third which started with an Alec Cargin hit by pitch reach and a Caleb Henderson single. Cargin scored on an error during the Henderson single and the same error got Henderson to second base. Battle Creek had the game deadlocked at three through three innings.
Both teams found the scoreboard in the fourth as well! Will Baker hit a double to get the part started for the Bombers. Jordan Swiss reached on one of Jared Miller’s three errors on the night to give Battle Creek runners on the corners. Cargin loaded the bases with a walk and Henderson helped empty the load with a sacrifice fly that scored Baker. Zach Gartner followed that up with a single to bring Swiss home and give Battle Creek a 5-3 lead. Amani Godfrey’s night was cut short after a leadoff homerun by George Mendazona, hitting Jason Sullivan and allowing a Rivolia single. Godfrey hit four batters on the night and his final was Niko Kavadas for a second time which ended Godfrey’s night at three and one-third innings. Brett Manis came in with the bases loaded and only allowed one more run on a Crail walk which tied the game back up at 5-5.
The Bombers took a lead in the fifth they would never relinquish after action got underway with a leadoff solo homerun by Brown which was his first bomb of the season. Mason Jones reached on a walk and Roman Trujillo followed that up with his second homerun of the season that scored Jones and himself. Battle Creek took an 8-5 lead midway through the fifth. That scored stayed put all the way until two outs left in the bottom of the ninth when the Growlers added one more run on an error by Alec Cargin. The Bombers held on to win 8-6.
Brett Manis (1-2) earned his first win of the season, however the player of the night for Battle Creek was the centerfielder Jalen Thomas. Thomas went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a walk and an RBI on the night. Thomas also played excellent defense all night in centerfield.
The road team is now 6-0 in this years I-94 rivalry series. The series will get a month to rest now before the Growlers and Bombers meet up in the final two games of the 2018 regular season. Battle Creek will now return back home for four more games at C.O. Brown Stadium. Their next series starts Thursday night as the Kenosha Kingfish come back into town for the last time. The Bombers swept the Kingfish the last time the two teams met, but the Kingfish has gotten off to a hot 7-1 start to the second half of the season. The first pitch for Thursday night’s game is scheduled for 7:05 PM.