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Bombers Concede I-94 Rivalry Cup in Thriller to Kalamazoo

The Battle Creek Bombers went back and forth with their rivals on Saturday night, but the Kalamazoo Growlers won the I-94 Rivalry Cup for the second consecutive season with a 10-9 win over Battle Creek.

The Bombers got out in front early on, as Caleb Balgaard delivered a solo home run to left field in the first inning. Battle Creek sent seven more batters to the plate in the second inning, plating three runs to jump out to a 4-0 advantage over Kalamazoo starter Adam Wheaton. 

The Growlers would respond immediately though off of Battle Creek starter Keith Carpenter. Four batters reached in the bottom of the second inning, including three doubles from Brooks Coetzee, Clay Owens, and Zach Gelof. Two more would come across for Kalamazoo in the bottom of the third to bring the Growlers out in front 5-4.

After an insurance run scored for the Growlers in the fourth inning, the Bombers stormed back to retake the lead in the sixth. A Michael Morrissette ground rule double, coupled with multiple wild pitches and a Josh Sears sacrifice fly, brought the Bombers back into the lead 8-6.

The lead was only momentary, though, as Kalamazoo took the lead right back in the bottom of the sixth inning with three runs of their own. Clay Owens had his second of three triples to drive in a pair of runs, bringing the Growlers back to a 9-8 advantage. 

The lead was 10-8 going into the eighth inning, but Battle Creek wasn’t done. A single from Michael Morrissette, coupled with an error from right fielder Miko Rodriguez, brought one run across for the Bombers and cut the deficit in half. The threat fizzled, though, and the game moved to the ninth still at 10-9.

Pete Joseph came on for his first save for the Growlers, but the Canadian didn’t make things easy for himself. The Bombers put two runners, but Kolby Johnson popped out to first base to end the game.

Kalamazoo captures the I-94 Rivalry Cup with their seventh win in 11 contests. The Bombers and Growlers will meet one more time at Homer Stryker Field on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. 

 

The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Currently in its’ 26th 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 200 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.