Kalamazoo, Mich. – For the first time since June of 2021, the Kalamazoo Growlers have lost a first-half home series, falling on back-to-back nights to their I-94 rival, the Battle Creek Battle Jacks.
On Saturday night, the Growlers found themselves for a third straight night in an early hole. Two walks and RBI from a double, a groundout, and a single put the Battle Jacks up 3-0 on Growlers starter Dakota West. West in his first start for Kalamazoo would settle in throughout the next five innings, striking out seven and only giving up one more hit.
K-Zoo would bring it back within two after an RBI triple into right from Casen Taggart, scoring Lawson Knight in the third as all would remain quiet until the seventh. The Battle Jacks on two errors, another pair of passed balls, and four hits would add on another three runs in the seventh and ninth, taking a 6-3 lead into the last half of the ninth.
The Growlers would start off the ninth with a spark, hoping to begin another late-inning comeback as Lawson Knight would find his first home run of the season, launching a fastball into the Miller Lite Trap. That would be all the Growlers could put together as Battle Creek’s Dylan Howanitz would shut it down with two fly outs to end the ball game.
Sunday’s matinee would fly by. Both starters in Kalamazoo’s Noah Keller and Battle Creek’s Jacob Davis would cruise through the first four frames, combining for five different 1-2-3 innings on the bump. The Battle Jacks would finally break open the scoreless tie bringing home two runs in the top of the fifth inning. An error on a possible inning-ending double play ball would score the first run of the day and keep the innings going. Jake Allgeyer would follow the error up with his first RBI up against the Growlers this season, hitting a liner into left.
Following a run in the sixth by Kalamazoo, the Battle Jacks would tack on three more runs in the top of the eighth off of a Fisher Pyatt homer to deep right, making it 5-1.
The Growlers once again would start a potential comeback in the bottom of the ninth but it would be to no avail. After Will Furniss was hit by a pitch to start off the inning, Myles Beale, pinch-running would come all the way to score on a throwing error by Howanitz. Following a walk to Cam Conley and an RBI single from Gabe Springer, the Growlers would bring up the game-winning run at the plate with two runners on and nobody out.
Ben Bach would sadly ground into a double play and a popout behind home plate from Liam Regan would end off the ball game, dropping the Growl back down to .500 at 7-7 on the year.
Kalamazoo is back tomorrow night at 6:35 p.m. taking on the Kenosha Kingfish.