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McCraith throws eight scoreless innings; Battle Creek wins tenth straight game

The Bombers (37-33, 22-13) defeated the Lakeshore Chinooks (29-40, 13-21) 3-1 Friday night at Kapco park on the back of Michael McCraith’s 10-strikeout performance to extend their season long winning streak to 10 games.

McCraith pitched eight innings scoreless for the Bombers and gave up just four hits while walking three Chinooks. He improves to 5-3 on the season, and his 10 strikeouts are tied for the most by a Battle Creek pitcher this season.

The Bombers struck first tonight in the top of the third on a two-run home run by Jordan Swiss, his fourth long ball of the season which leads Battle Creek.

The 2-0 lead became 3-0 in the top of the fourth when Connor Bailey led the inning off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a fly out to right field by Riley Tirotta, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jalen Thomas.

Battle Creek was kept off the scoreboard the rest of the night as Lakeshore starting pitcher, Kevin Tibor (4-7), pitched eight innings and allowed just three runs on four hits while walking one and striking out six Bombers. Jake Carlsen relieved Tibor in the ninth and pitched a quick 1,2,3 inning.

Zach Gartner relieved McCraith in the ninth inning with Battle Creek up 3-0. This was Gartner’s second appearance of the season, and his ninth position of the night.

Yes, Gartner played all nine positions Friday night.

He started the game behind the plate catching McCraith, and McCraith threw his first three strikeouts with Gartner there. He then played first base in the second inning and did not see any action. In the third inning, he slid over to second base where he completed a 4-3 putout. After playing second base he headed over to third where he didn’t get a ball hit his way. In the fifth, Gartner moved over to shortstop and the 6’2 220 lb. outfielder/first basemen ranged to his left and made a stop up the middle for a 6-3 putout. In the sixth inning, he went out to left field and made a catch, and in the seventh inning he played center field for the first time in his life and made a grab on a shallow pop fly. After getting nothing hit to him at right field in the eighth inning, Gartner came into pitch the ninth.

“Sheriff”, as his teammates call him, allowed one run on one hit and two walks, but also struck out Jim Govern of Lakeshore and picked up another out on a groundball to Tirotta at second base.

With two outs and the tying run on second, Dillon Seivert relieved Gartner and picked up his third save of the season with a strikeout. The strikeout was a drop-third strike and the game fittingly ended with a throw down to Gartner at first base.

Battle Creek returns to Michigan Saturday to take on rival, Kalamazoo. First pitch is set for 7:05 EST.