Kalamazoo, MI. — In another intense back-and-forth affair against their I-94 rivals, the Kalamazoo Growlers (31-26, 15-10) held on for the 10-9 triumph over the Battle Creek Bombers (20-39, 7-17) at Homer Stryker Field Saturday evening. Both teams combined for 19 runs on 26 hits.
Battle Creek struck first quickly in the opening frame on a solo jack from Caleb Balgaard to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage. The Bombers then stretch their lead to 4-0 in the second, taking advantage of three Kalamazoo errors.
Kalamazoo commenced its comeback trail in the bottom of the second, starting with an Austin Knight (Tennessee) RBI groundout to make it 4-1. Zack Gelof (Virginia) followed with a two-run double to cut the deficit to 4-3. The Growlers took their first lead in the third as Clay Owens (USC) tied the game on a RBI single, while Miko Rodriguez (Texas A&M) followed with a RBI double to put Kalamazoo in front 5-4. The Growlers added an insurance run in the fourth on a Nick Neville (South Carolina) RBI single to make it 6-4.
Both teams soon combined for seven total runs in the sixth. Battle Creek tallied four runs in the top half to regain the advantage at 8-6. Kalamazoo would claw its way back again in the bottom frame, starting with a Shea Kramer (Utah) RBI single to trim the margin to 8-7. Owens answered with a clutch two-run double to put the hosts back ahead 9-8.
The Growlers scored on an important insurance run in the seventh as Rodriguez scored on a fielder’s choice to extend the lead to 10-8. Battle Creek would not go away in the eighth as Michael Morrissette drilled a RBI single to left to make it 10-9. However, Kalamazoo secured the one-run victory in the ninth to claim the I-94 Crosstown Cup for the second straight season.
Kalamazoo relief pitcher JT Rogoszewski (Central Michigan) earned the win, improving to 2-0. Pete Joseph (Northwood) recorded his first save of the season.
The Kalamazoo Growlers conclude the season series with Battle Creek tomorrow afternoon at Homer Stryker Field. First pitch is slated for a 3:05 p.m. start.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Currently in its’ 26thseason, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 200 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.