A few changes have come to the Northwoods League for 2019, and it is all for the better for the sustainability of the league and the Battle Creek Bombers.

The Bomb Squad prepare for the 12th of summer collegiate baseball in the Cereal City with two new teams and name change for a team established the same season the Bombers arrived into the Northwoods.

For starters, the Northwoods League has expanded to 22 teams this season, with the two new franchises playing in the newly-named Great Lakes Division. The league has split into the 12-team Great Lakes and the 10-team Great Plains (with teams representing Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and Ontario). Each division will hold East and West divisions.

This leads to the expansion teams. This year, there is a new franchise in Traverse City that will be named in the coming weeks. There was an ownership change of the former Traverse City Beach Bums of the independent Frontier League, with the Wuerfel family selling their rights to the ownership of West Michigan Whitecaps CEO Joe Chamberlin, who is heading up Traverse City Baseball, LLC. Wuerful Park will be still be the home of the new franchise, which is located just south of town in Chums Corner. The Wuerfel family built the stadium from their own private funds and has been the home of the Beach Bums for the past decade. The Traverse City franchise has also hired last season's Bombers manager Josh Rebandt as their inaugural coach.

The second expansion team is an established team that is shifting summer collegiate leagues, and is also the first Northwoods League franchise in Indiana. The Kokomo Jackrabbits join the league after their first three seasons of existence in the Prospect League, competing against teams in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and West Virginia. The Jackrabbits also finished runner-up in the Prospect League in their final season there. There is also a Bombers connection at Kokomo. Their manager the last two seasons has been Gary McClure, who led the Bombers in 2016.

Finally, the name change. The Green Bay Bullfrogs had been in the Northwoods League since 2007. Their home opener was against the expansion Bombers (side note - I did play-by-play for the inaugural week of the Bombers, all on the road). After an ownership change in 2013 to Big Top Entertainment (who also owns three other teams in the Northwoods), they announced a new stadium being built in neighboring Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, earlier this year. Just before the schedule was released this week, the Bulfrogs became the Green Bay Booyah. The green, black and orange, is now blue, yellow and red for the franchise. The new Capital Credit Union Park will be ready for the upcoming season. Unfortunately for the Bombers, they will not play Green Bay this season unless it is in the postseason.

Now let's get into the schedule. With the new Great Lakes East and West, the Bombers are part of the East with the Kalamazoo Growlers, Traverse City, Kokomo, the Rockford Rivets and the Kenosha Kingfish. There are 72 games this year, split between two halves.

The champions of each half for each sub-division will play a one-game playoff, followed by the winners of the East and West playing a one-game playoff. The champs of the Great Lakes and Great Plains will then play a three-game series for the Northwoods League title. This year's All-Star Game is Tuesday, July 16th in Waterloo, Iowa, home of the Bucks. The seventh-annual Major League Dreams Showcase will take place again in Madison, Wisconsin, home of the Mallards, on Tuesday, August 6th.

Here it is, the 2019 Battle Creek Bombers schedule. Home games are bold. All times Eastern.

Tuesday, May 28 - vs. Lakeshore Chinooks - 7:05pm
Wednesday, May 29 vs. Lakeshore Chinooks - 10:05am
Thursday, May 30 - vs. Fond du Lac Dock Spiders - 7:05pm
Friday, May 31 - vs. Fond du Lac Dock Spiders - 7:05pm

Saturday, June 1 - @ Traverse City - 7:05pm
Sunday, June 2 - @ Traverse City - 2:05pm
Monday, June 3 - vs. Kokomo Jackrabbits - 7:05pm
Tuesday, June 4 - vs. Kokomo Jackrabbits - 7:05pm
Wednesday, June 5 - @ Kalamazoo Growlers - 7:05pm
Thursday, June 6 - vs. Kalamazoo Growlers - 7:05pm
Friday, June 7 - vs. Kokomo Jackrabbits - 7:05pm
Saturday, June 8 - vs. Komoko Jackrabbits - 7:05pm
Sunday, June 9 - @ Kenosha Kingfish - 5:05pm
Monday, June 10 - @ Kenosha Kingfish - 7:35pm
Tuesday, June 11 - vs. Kalamazoo Growlers (DH) - 1:05pm & 7:05pm
Wednesday, June 12 - vs. Kalamazoo Growlers - 7:05pm
Thursday, June 13 - @ Kalamazoo Growlers - 7:05pm
Friday, June 14 - vs. Rockford Rivets - 7:05pm
Saturday, June 15 - vs. Rockford Rivets - 7:05pm
Sunday, June 16 - vs. Kenosha Kingfish - 1:05pm
Monday, June 17 - vs. Kenosha Kingfish - 7:05pm
Tuesday, June 18 - @ Rockford Rivets - 7:35pm
Wednesday, June 19 - @ Rockford Rivets - 7:35pm
Thursday, June 20 - vs. Traverse City - 7:05pm
Friday, June 21 - vs. Traverse City - 7:05pm
Saturday, June 22 - @ Kokomo Jackrabbits - 7:05pm
Sunday, June 23 - @ Kokomo Jackrabbits - 7:05pm
Monday, June 24 - Off
Tuesday, June 25 - vs. Rockford Rivets - 7:05pm
Wednesday, June 26 - vs. Rockford Rivets - 7:05pm
Thursday, June 27 - @ Traverse City - 7:05pm
Friday, June 28 - @ Traverse City - 7:05pm
Saturday, June 29 - @ Rockford Rivets - 7:35pm
Sunday, June 30 - @ Rockford Rivets - 2:05pm

Monday, July 1 - vs. Traverse City - 7:05pm
Tuesday, July 2 - vs. Traverse City - 7:05pm - End of first half
Wednesday, July 3 - vs. Kalamazoo Growlers - 7:05pm
Thursday, July 4 - @ Kalamazoo Growlers - 7:05pm
Friday, July 5 - @ Traverse City - 7:05pm
Saturday, July 6 - @ Traverse City - 7:05pm
Sunday, July 7 - @ Lakeshore Chinooks - 2:35pm
Monday, July 8 - @ Lakeshore Chinooks - 7:35pm
Tuesday, July 9 - @ Kokomo Jackrabbits - 7:05pm
Wednesday, July 10 - @ Kokomo Jackrabbits - 7:05pm
Thursday, July 11 - vs. Kokomo Jackrabbits - 7:05pm
Friday, July 12 - vs. Kokomo Jackrabbits - 7:05pm
Saturday, July 13 - vs. Traverse City - 7:05pm
Sunday, July 14 - vs. Traverse City - 1:05pm
Monday, July 15 - All-Star Break
Tuesday, July 16 - All-Star Break
Wednesday, July 17 - All-Star Break
Thursday, July 18 - vs. Rockford Rivets - 7:05pm
Friday, July 19 - vs. Rockford Rivets - 7:05pm
Saturday, July 20 - @ Kokomo Jackrabbits - 7:05pm
Sunday, July 21 - @ Kokomo Jackrabbits - 1:05pm
Monday, July 22 - vs. Kenosha Kingfish - 7:05pm
Tuesday, July 23 - vs. Kenosha Kingfish - 11:05am
Wednesday, July 24 - @ Kalamazoo Growlers (DH) - 11:05am & vs. Kalamazoo Growlers - 7:05pm
Thursday, July 25 - @ Kenosha Kingfish - 8:05pm
Friday, July 26 - @ Kenosha Kingfish - 7:35pm
Saturday, July 27 - @ Kalamazoo Growlers - 7:05pm
Sunday, July 28 - @ Kalamazoo Growlers - 3:05pm
Monday, July 29 - Off
Tuesday, July 30 - @ Rockford Rivets - 7:35pm
Wednesday, July 31 - @ Rockford Rivets - 7:35pm

Thursday, August 1 - vs. Madison Mallards - 7:05pm
Friday, August 2 - vs. Madison Mallards - 7:05pm
Saturday, August 3 - vs. Kenosha Kingfish - 7:05pm
Sunday, August 4 - vs. Kenosha Kingfish - 1:05pm
Monday, August 5 - @ Madison Mallards - 7:35pm
Tuesday, August 6 - Major League Dreams Showcase @ Madison
Wednesday, August 7 - @ Madison Mallards - 7:35pm
Thursday, August 8 - @ Fond du Lac Dock Spiders - 7:35pm
Friday, August 9 - @ Fond du Lac Dock Spiders - 7:35pm
Saturday, August 10 - @ Kenosha Kingfish - 7:05pm
Sunday, August 11 - @ Kenosha Kingfish - 2:05pm