BATTLE CREEK, MI – Playing in their first game since flooding washed out the weekend at Homer Stryker Field, the Kalamazoo Growlers made up for lost time by taking the Battle Creek Bombers to 13 innings, eventually falling 4-3 at C.O. Brown Stadium.
The Bombers (13-22) got the rally going on a leadoff single by Christian Helsel (Penn State) single. Michael Sanderson (Feather River College/Cal Poly) then laid down a sac bunt but reached the base on an error by Kalamazoo pitcher Alex Kuisel (Academy of Art). After a groundout and intentional walk, Lin Li (National Taiwan Sport University) hit a sac fly to left to plate Helsel and set off the celebrations in Cereal City.
Evan Dunn (Pepperdine, 1-2) took the win for Battle Creek with a scoreless effort through the 12th and 13th. Kuisel (1-2) took the loss for Kalamazoo by allowing the winning run in 0.2 innings.
The Growlers (8-25) opened the scoring in the top of the first. Kory Brown (Bowling Green) took a leadoff walk and scored four batters later on Jordan Stading’s (Houston) RBI single. The Bombers responded with a pair in their half of the first, as Dan Swain (Siena) scored on an error and Sanderson plated another on a sac fly.
From there, the starting pitchers took control. Keegan Baar (Michigan State) held the Bombers to two runs (one earned) on three hits in six innings, walking three and striking out two. Battle Creek’s Andrew Mitchell (Delgado College) tossed six innings of one-run, five hit ball, walking three Growlers and striking out seven.
Kalamazoo took control again in the top of the seventh. Kory Young (Michigan State) led off with a walk, then after Brown singled, Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) laced a hit-and-run double to left center, scoring both runners to make it 3-2 Kalamazoo.
The lead didn’t last long, though, as the Bombers evened it up in the eighth. Swain reached on a one-out single and went to third on a Helsel single two batters later. Growler pitcher Ryan May (LSU) then bounced a pitch to the plate, allowing Swain to score to make it 3-3.
Battle Creek nearly won the game in the bottom of the 10th, as Hank Truluck (Florida State) drew a leadoff walk against Akaash Agarwal (California) and got to third with one out. Aaron Tadian (Kent State) came on to put out the fire and did so in style, striking out Swain and Steven Wells, Jr. (Florida State) to end the inning. Tadian again stranded a man in scoring position in the 11th, tallying back-to-back strikeouts to push it to the 12th. Tadian finished with 2.2 scoreless, one-hit innings.
Brown led the way for Kalamazoo, reaching base four times and scoring twice. Fletcher went 3-for-5 with a double, sac bunt, and two RBIs.
Dylan Busby (Florida State) and Alex Gosser (Arkansas) made their Growler debuts in this game. Busby went 0-for-6 with a pair of strikeouts, while Gosser singled in the fourth to go 1-for-6.
After a scheduled day off on Tuesday, the Growlers will begin the second half of the Northwoods League season at Madison on Wednesday. First pitch from Warner Park is set for 8:05 p.m. EDT.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 22-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit http://www.northwoodsleague.com.