Battle Creek, Mich. – The Kalamazoo Growlers would play their third extra innings game in five days and so much baseball finally caught up to the Growlers as they fall to the Battle Creek Bombers for the first time this season, 5-4 in 11 innings.
After a silent first inning, the Bombers (16-19) would earn their only lead of the night in the bottom of the second inning after Colby Bortles (Ole Miss) in his first at-bat of the season and the little brother of NFL quarterback Blake Bortles, belted a monster home run over the center field wall to give the Bombers the 1-0 lead.
It wouldn't take long for the Growlers (13-22) to regain that lead as a sacrifice fly out by Ryan Spaudling (Ball State) tied up the game and newcomer Karl Sorenson (St.Cloud) kept his hot bat going as he singled down the left field line scoring Troy Montgomery (Ohio State) from third to give the Growlers the 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Bortles would prove to be the only offense for the Bombers as he rocketed a ball through the left side, scoring the runner from third with two outs to tie the game at 2-2.
It would stay that way for awhile as both teams would go four straight innings without scoring a run, although there were many chances for both teams. That would all change in the top of the eighth when catcher Ryan Lidge (Notre Dame) blasted a two-run home run to left center field to unlock the tied score and give the Growlers the 4-2 lead.
The Bombers made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth with three straight singles to score one run and then a bloop single with two outs would score the runner from second to tie the game up at 4-4 and the Growlers would head to their third extra innings game in five games.
The Growlers would load the bases in the top of the tenth but a pop-out would end the inning and end the threat for the Growlers. Then the lightning would strike and the rain would fall at C.O. Brown Stadium for about 30 minutes before played resumed once again. Here is a link to the video of a lightning strike right outside the stadium via our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1639428949615581
The Bombers would strike lightning of their own in the bottom of the 11th as with the bases loaded, a slow chopper to a five-man infielder, the Growler shortstop could not make the throw home and the Bombers walked-off in dramatic fashion and defeat the Growlers, 5-4.
Ryan Lidge was the "Growler of the Night" as he went 2-for-5 with the go-ahead home run and two RBI's. The 2-3-4 hitters for the Growlers were incredible on the night going 6-for-16 with one run scored and two RBI's.
The Growlers have concluded the first half of the Northwoods League season and will receive a day off tomorrow before heading back out on the road for a two game series against the Madison Mallards. The Growlers will be back home on July 4th for the Red, White and Boom Fireworks show, the ONLY Fireworks show in Kalamazoo. Read more about this one of a kind even here: http://northwoodsleague.com/kalamazoo-growlers/2014/06/27/3907/
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods 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, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit http://www.growlersbaseball.com.