The Rivets offense was on full display on Thursday night against the Battle Creek Bombers, as they took the series opener by a score of 13-3. Zack Jones got the win for Rockford, and Ty Shoaff received the loss for Battle Creek. Jones goes to 3-0 on the season, as Shoaff falls to 1-3.
Rockford was in firm control from the beginning, as they were able to score nine runs in the 1st inning. Jake Vander Wal got things started with his 5th home run of the season which made it 2-0 Rivets. After this point, the bases ended up loaded for Tom Josten, who took advantage of the opportunity and drove two in on an RBI double. The Rivets would go on to score five more in their half of the 1st, which was good enough to chase the Bombers starting pitcher after just 0.2 IP.
Though there were many offensive standouts for the Rivets during the contest, Jake Vander Wal filled up the stat-sheet by going 2-4 with a home run, two walks, and four RBI. In the last week, the outfielder from Long Beach State University is hitting .263 with three home runs, eight runs batted in, to go along with a .737 slugging percentage and a 1.070 OPS. When asked about Vander Wal’s recent success, manager Josh Keim said that he has taken a mature approach at the plate, which results in him having quality at-bats and seeing the ball well.
Vander Wal now owns a .272 batting average on the season with 5 HR and 26 RBI. He is also being patient at the plate, and that is seen in his .380 OBP and his 26 walks on the season. He will look to carry this success at the plate into the second half of the season as the Rivets look to secure a playoff spot.
On the mound for the Rivets was the right hander out of Rockford University, Zack Jones. Jones as stellar on the evening as he completed seven complete innings on the rubber allowing one run on only two hits. His final line was 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K. This lowers his season ERA to a respectable 3.45 on the season. Josh Keim was high on praise for the righty, saying, “Jones always gives us a chance to win. Yesterday he was in control from the first pitch.” This was perhaps his best start for the Rivets this season, and he will also look to continue the good form down the stretch.
The Rivets matchup for one more against the Battle Creek Bombers on Friday night before returning home for two games against the Traverse City Pit Spitters. Rockford now sits at 6-8 in the second half which is 4.5 games back of the first place Pit Spitters.
The Rockford Rivets are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 25-year old summer collegiate 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 former 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 portal. For more information, visit www.rockfordrivets.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rivets as your favorite team.