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Bombers Complete Comeback to Down Mallards

The Battle Creek Bombers erased two multiple-run deficits to beat the Madison Mallards 8-7 at C.O. Brown Stadium on Thursday night.

Madison, who leads the Northwoods League in batting average and slugging percentage, got out to another hot start in the first inning. All nine Mallards were sent to the plate, and a two-run double from Drew Benefield punctuated a four-run inning for Madison. It was the second consecutive game in which Madison scored four runs in the first frame. 

Battle Creek, coming off of five runs in the final three innings in their last game against the Rockford Rivets, responded well again. John Malcom delivered an RBI-single as part of a three-run inning in the home half of the first to bring the Bombers within one off of Madison starter Daniel Bagwell. Bagwell eventually threw three innings in his season debut. 

In the second inning, Caleb Balgaard reached on an error by the shortstop Benefield to score Josh Sheck, who had reached third base on a single and pair of groundouts. With the score even at 4-4, Madison would respond again in the third inning off of Battle Creek starting pitcher Trevor Smisek. Timo Schau walked with the bases loaded, and a Bombers error brought two more runs across to build a 7-4 Mallards lead. 

After the Bombers bats were quieted by Madison reliever Chase Gockel, they sprang to life once again in the sixth inning. Two wild pitches, paired with a Caleb Balgaard single, completed a three-run sixth for Battle Creek to bring the game even at 7-7. Balgaard, who went 2-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, has now reached base in all 20 games he has played for Battle Creek.

A brief light delay halted play, but once the game resumed the Bombers bullpen continued to lock down the Madison offense. James Reilly had arguably his best outing of the season in relief, hurling 2.1 innings of scoreless baseball, ceding just one hit and one walk. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Caleb Balgaard reached second base on an error to bring Malcom back to the plate. The designated hitter delivered once again, hitting his second RBI single of the game, this time with two outs, to give Battle Creek the 8-7 lead. 

Beaux Bonvillain came into the game searching for his seventh save of the season, but allowed a swinging bunt base hit to start the ninth. After striking out Logan Michaels, Drew Williams stepped to the plate. Bonvillain induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the game, with first baseman Michael Morrissette showing off a long stretch to secure the throw and the game.

With the win, Battle Creek has captured two of their past three games and capture the first contest of a four-game home stand. The Bombers and Mallards continue their series on Friday at 7:05 at C.O. Brown Stadium.  

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.