Bombers Beat – All-Star Break Shortens Week, The Battle Cats Return
The Battle Creek Bombers returned home after a long road trip, but struggled to keep up their first winning streak in a while. The toughest part was doing it against an expansion team with the Bombers number all season long.
It was a busy week for the squad as they inched closer to the Northwoods League All-Star Break. With just one player making their way to Waterloo this week, it could set up for a solid remainder of the season for the Bombers. Here's a look back at last week -
Monday, July 8th - (at) Lakeshore 12, Battle Creek 3
It seemed like nothing was going to let the Bombers catch up with the Chinooks in their series finale in Mequon, Wisconsin. Lakeshore scored at least one run in every inning except the first to hand the Bombers their seventh loss in July. John Malcom (Vanderbilt) reached base in all four plate appearances, providing two of the Bomb Squad's six hits with an RBI. Kelby Weyler (Lamar) and Kolby Johnson (Central Arkansas) also knocked in a run each. Pablo Arevalo (Barry College) took his first loss in relief, allowing five runs in three innings.
Tuesday, July 9th - (at) Kokomo 9, Battle Creek 3
The Bomber bats remained quiet with just three hits in the Jackrabbits romp. John Malcom's RBI triple followed by a Trace Peterson (Lake Erie College) sacrifice fly provided the first inning spark for the Bombers, but they wouldn't finally answer until Kokomo scored three runs in three separate innings. Michael Lee (Panola College) also drove in a run in the loss. Ty Shoaff (Notre Dame College) allowed six runs in five innings to take the loss, falling to 1-2 on the season.
Wednesday, July 10th - (at) Kokomo 4, Battle Creek 2
The Bombers losing skid continued as they allowed all four Jackrabbit runs in the third and fourth innings. Caleb Balgaard (Iowa Western) had two of BC's four hits, as John Malcom and Michael Morrissette (Miami, OH) drove in a run each. Jordan Rhodes (McDaniel College) fell to 1-4 on the season, allowing all four Kokomo runs in five innings in just his second start of the season (16th) appearance.
Thursday, July 11th - Battle Creek 3, Kokomo 2
The Bombers were able to escape disaster with four errors and two late Jackrabbit runs to end a three-game skid. John Malcom had an RBI on a sacrifice fly to continue his hot hitting. Trace Peterson had two hits and punched in a run to continue his impressive debut with the Bomb Squad. Lyle Hibbitts (Tyler Junior College) tossed 7 1/3 solid innings, allowing both Kokomo runs to earn his first win on the season. Beaux Bonvillain (Central Oklahoma) closed it out in the ninth for his team-leading fourth save.
Friday, July 12th - Battle Creek 4, Kokomo 1
It was a sloppy game with eight combined errors, but the Bombers put together their first two-game winning streak since mid-June. Michael Lee drove in three runs on the night with Jack Merrfield (LSU-Eunice) having two of the Bomb Squad's seven hits. Keith Carpenter (Maryland Eastern Shore) allowed the lone Jackrabbit run in five innings of work for the victory on the mound. Beaux Bonvillain picked up another save after another solid ninth inning for his fifth save.
Saturday, July 13th - Traverse City 5, (at) Battle Creek 3
The Bombers had an early 3-0 lead slip through their fingers against the first half champs of the Great Lakes North in the Pit Spitters. The Bomb Squad had their largest crowd on the season (1,923). Jack Merrifield had two hits and an RBI for the Bombers, with All-Star Josh Sears (Freed Hardeman) and Trace Peterson accounting for the other two RBI. Ping-Chun Ho (Barry College) let the lead slip in the fifth inning, part of his two innings of relief, to drop him to 2-2 on the year.
Sunday, July 14th - Traverse City 10, (at) Battle Creek 0
The Bomb Squad entered the All-Star Break with a thud, getting one hit by the Pit Spitters in the final game against the expansion club this year. It also wraps up a 1-11 record against Traverse City, losing nine straight. Traverse City used six pitchers on the afternoon. Jack Merrifield had the lone Bombers hit in the fourth inning. James Reilly (Rockland CC) was hammered for six runs in his start that ended in the second inning to take his first loss in three appearances.
The Northwoods League takes a break for a few days, but it could give the Bombers a reason to reset for a late-season surge. The Pit Spitters are trying to run away with the second half title as well, but the playoff spot will be contested for with the best overall record in the division. The Kalamazoo Growlers are leading that race.
- As mentioned last week, first baseman Josh Sears will be the lone Bombers representative at the Northwoods League All-Star Game in Waterloo, Iowa on Tuesday. He still leads the team in hitting at .306 in 37 games.
- Lyle Hibbitts has been impressive in the starting rotation for Battle Creek. He has a 2.62 ERA in eight starts this season, good for tenth in the Northwoods League. His 44 2/3 innings is fifth-most in the NL. Hibbitts has a 1-3 record on the season.
- Following the All-Star Break, the Bombers will spend a majority of their remaining schedule on the road. With 24 games left, the Bomb Squad will only have nine games at C.O. Brown Stadium. The road schedule includes two seven-day trips, including the final week with three stops in Wisconsin (Madison, Fond du Lac and Kenosha). They also have four games with the rival Kalamazoo Growlers, with three in Kzoo.
- The biggest promotion for the Bombers takes place this week as they throw back to 1995, the first year of the Michigan Battle Cats at C.O. Brown Stadium. The team was announced in the fall of 1994 after the Madison (Wisconsin) Hatters announced the move to Battle Creek in the low-A Midwest League. The Battle Cats would be the affiliate for the Boston Red Sox from 1995 to 1998, following by an affiliation with the Houston Astros from 1999 to 2002. The Bombers will don the old Battle Cats logos and uniforms for their contest with the Rockford Rivets on Friday.
The Upcoming Week - Home games in Bold
Monday, July 15th - Off Day - All-Star Break
Tuesday, July 16th - Northwoods League All-Star Game in Waterloo, Iowa - 8:05pm
Wednesday, July 17th - Off Day - All-Star Break
Thursday, July 18th - Bombers vs. Rockford - 7:05pm
Friday, July 19th - Bombers vs. Rockford - 7:05pm (Back to the Battle Cats Night)
Saturday, July 20th - Bombers at Kokomo - 7:05pm
Sunday, June 21st - Bombers at Kokomo - 1:05pm