KALAMAZOO, MI — The Battle Creek Bombers had added 20 of the 29 players on their roster in the past week. It has been a season of upheaval for manager Mike Ruppenthal and company; sitting squarely at the bottom of the Great Lakes East at 18-35, Battle Creek could’ve easily packed it in. However, the Bombers, fueled by new players with something to prove, came out the aggressors in both contests at Homer Stryker Field, and came away with a sweep.
On Monday, the Bombers jumped on Kalamazoo starter Luke Krkovski from the get-go. Four walks and three hits pushed five runs across the plate. The Creek put up three more in the second on reliever Garrett Willis, and added tallies in the fourth and fifth. Needless to say, the Growlers offense had a lot of work to do. KZoo got two back in the first – one of Damon Lux’s two doubles scored Nolan McCarthy, then Lux came home on a Henry Gargus groundout. The Growlers also scored in the fifth, as Jake Gelof doubled in Lux, and in the sixth, as three straight singles and a ground ball brought in two runs. However, the Bombers’ early cushion was too much to overcome, and BC won 12-5.
On Tuesday, Adam Wheaton stepped back into the starting rotation. Kalamazoo had burned scheduled starter Collin Witzke after using four arms, so Wheaton made his last start at Homer Stryker in a fitting fashion against the Bombers. Unfortunately, it ended on a sour note. After going four scoreless, and running extremely close to his 60-pitch limit, Wheaton went back out for the fifth. Battle Creek took advantage, as four of the five Bombers hitters Wheaton faced reached base before manager Cody Piechocki replaced the Lamar commit with Taylor Perrett. BC got five runs out of the frame. Kalamazoo would battle back, thanks to three Luke Storm base hits and RBIs, but the final score was 7-4 as the Bombers tacked on insurance.
Kalamazoo still leads the season series between the two teams 6-4, and needs to win one more game to claim the I-94 Rivalry Cup. The two teams face off in the last week of the NWL season, on August 9th and 10th at C.O. Brown Stadium. The Growlers’ next scheduled game after tomorrow’s league-wide off day is in Rockford at 7:05.