Mike Ruppenthal – Field Manager
2019 will mark Mike’s 2nd season in the Northwoods League, and 1st as manager of the Bombers. Mike served as the pitching coach for the Bombers in 2018, where he helped improve the team’s ERA and WHIP.
Mike is currently in his first year as the pitching coach/recruiting coordinator at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. Prior to moving to Texas, Mike spent 2018 as the pitching coach at Bethany College (NAIA) in Kansas, guiding the pitching staff to 3rd in conference ERA. He worked as an instructor for Doyle Baseball in 2016-2017, and assisted in develping young athletes at a high level to prepare them for their athletic careers. Mike also spent time working at the Florida Baseball Ranch, where he gained knowledge of optimal training protocols and movement patterns for elite pitchers.
Mike was born and raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and played high school baseball at Brother Rice High School. He went on to play college baseball at Southeastern University (NAIA) in Lakeland, Florida. His father, Barry, played professional baseball in the Angels organization, and his brother, Matt, played at Vanderbildt University and is currenlty in the Houston Astros organization.
When he is not coaching baseball, Mike loves to fish and spend time with his wife, Lyida, and their dog.
Spencer Lightfoot – Pitching Coach
Spencer Lightfoot enters his first season in the Northwoods League and will serve as the Bombers pitching coach in 2019. Spencer is currently in his first season as a coach at Iowa Western University. His duties include working with the hitters and the catchers as well as assisting with recruiting. He is also assisting with travel accommodations and camps while helping with the Grey Squad.
Lightfoot started his coaching career at Southeastern University a NAIA Division 1 School in Lakeland, Florida.
Whilst there he served as the Graduate assistant working with pitchers and catchers. As the head coach for the B-Team his responsibilities included working with hitters, catchers, and pitchers while coaching third base. He also helped with recruiting, as well as run the day-to-day operations with the varsity team. His time at Southeastern was spent coaching 3 NAIA All-Americans, 8 players signed to Professional Contracts, and 3 players drafted to the MLB.
Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Lightfoot graduated from Family Christian Academy where he lettered in 5 sports. He would go on to college at Louisiana College and Southern University, before landing at his dream school of Louisiana State University where he graduated with a bachelors in Business. He completed the 2014 and 2015 seasons with the Tigers making it to the College World Series in 2015.
Zach Gartner – Hitting Coach
Zach Gartner enters his first season as a coach with the Bombers, but it will be his second straight summer in Battle Creek. In 2018, Zach was on the field for the Bombers, primarily as a 1B/DH. He is currently in his first season as a Graduate Assistant Coach at East Tennessee Baptist University.
He is best known for throwing an Eephus pitch that ended up on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” as well as playing all 9 positions in 1 game in 2018.