Bombers Beat – Woes Continue, Just One to All-Star Game
(Photo - Nathan Adams)
With the second half on the horizon, the Battle Creek Bombers looked to end a downward trend in the win column over the past two weeks. They would run into the hottest team in the Northwoods League in two separate series and continue their I-94 rivalry with the Kalamazoo Growlers, all part of the first of three week-long road trips this season.
Here's a look back at first week of July -
Monday, July 1st - Traverse City 12, (at) Battle Creek 9 - 10 innings
The Bombers looked to knock off the hottest team in the Northwoods League, but saw the Pit Spitters wrap up the first half title in the Great Lakes North. The Bombers held a 9-5 lead through five innings, capitalizing on five TV errors. Michael Morrissette (Miami Ohio) had four hits on the night and Collin Clayton (Missouri State) drove in two runs. Mitchell Lee (Lamar) allowed four runs in four innings of relief to take the loss to fall to 1-2 on the season.
Tuesday, July 2nd - Traverse City 7, (at) Battle Creek 1
In the final game of the first half, both teams had several players play multiple positions during the contest with division wrapped up the night before. Kolby Johnson (Central Arkansas) had two of the Bombers five hits. Jack Merrifield (LSU-Eunice), known more for his production at the plate, got the start and allowed three runs in two innings to take the loss in his sixth appearance on the mound.
Wednesday, July 3rd - (at) Battle Creek 11, Kalamazoo 9
The largest crowd of the year at C.O. Brown Stadium saw the fireworks start with a three-run, two-out seventh inning rally for the come-from-behind victory. Caleb Balgaard (Iowa Western) drove in three runs in his first game of the season for the Bomb Squad. Kolby Johnson punched in three runs as well, with six players each having two hits. Ping-Chun Ho (Barry College) tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win. Burrell Jones (Wabash Valley College) tallied his third save of the season with another 1 2/3 scoreless innings to close it out in his final appearance with the Bombers.
Thursday, July 4th - (at) Kalamazoo 13, Battle Creek 1 - Game 1
In a pair of seven-inning games on the 4th of July in Kalamazoo, the Bombers started the day off with a sluggish showing at the plate. The Bomb Squad managed just two hits in the opener, with Kolby Johnson driving in the run on a fielder's choice. Jack Merrifield and Josh Sears (Freed Hardeman) had the lone hits. Jordan Rhodes (McDaniel College) allowed nine Growlers runs in five innings to take the defeat on the mound.
Thursday, July 4th - (at) Kalamazoo 12, Battle Creek 7 - Game 2
The Bombers found their hitting sticks in the nightcap of their double header, but the bullpen allowed five runs in the sixth inning that was too large to come back from. Michael Lee (Panola College) and Michael Morrissette each hit their first homers of the season in the Bombers fourth loss of the week. Rhett McCall (Lamar) drove in three runs on the night. Mitchell Lee allowed five runs in just 2/3 of an inning to take his second consecutive loss in relief.
Friday, July 5th - (at) Traverse City 5, Battle Creek 3
The second stop in the eight-game, seven-day road trip headed north to Traverse City, where the Pit Spitters stayed hot. Traverse City scored all five runs in the first four innings, but the Bombers made a game of it late. Josh Sears and Michael Morrissette each drove in a run, but the Bomb Squad left 10 runners on base. Lyle Hibbitts (Tyler Junior College) allowed all five runs with just one earned in seven innings of work, falling to 0-3. Battle Creek had four errors on the night.
Saturday, July 6th - (at) Traverse City 6, Battle Creek 0
The Traverse City winning streak stretched to 15 as they shut out the Bombers, who left on another nine men on base in the loss. Kelby Weyler (Lamar) supplied two of the Bombers five hits on the night. Walter Talcott (Earlham College) gave up just two runs on a hit in five innings to drop to 2-3 on the year.
Sunday, July 7th - Battle Creek 5, (at) Lakeshore 4
The Bombers scored all five of their runs late and held off the Chinooks in a Sunday afternoon matinee. Kelby Weyler and Michael Lee each had three hits with Jack Merrifield, Roy Thurman (Akron) and Gabe Sotres (Michigan State) each snagging an RBI. Ping-Chun Ho earned the win in relief, even though he allowed a run in 1 1/3 innings after a five-inning start from Keith Carpenter (Maryland Eastern Shore). Beaux Bonvillain (Central Oklahoma) tallied his third save with a perfect ninth.
With the second half underway, Traverse City is already starting to run away but Kalamazoo is keeping pace. Both teams were able to use wins against the Bombers to elevate themselves in the Great Lakes North standings.
Note - Streaks and Last 10 records include first half games
- First baseman Josh Sears was named as the lone Bombers representative to this year's Northwoods League All-Star Game in Waterloo, Iowa. Sears leads the team in hitting at .312 with two homers and 16 RBIs in 33 games. He also leads in on base percentage (.420) and on base-slugging percentage (.842), and second in slugging (.422).
- A few Bombers that started the season with the club and played significantly this summer have left to return to school including infielder Erik Owen (Tyler Junior College), Burrell Jones, Josh Hranicky (Lamar), Coloma native Calvin Starnes (Northwest Florida State) and a Bomber from last season, Amani Godfrey (Saginaw Valley State).
- The Bombers sit at next-to-last in the Northwoods in team hitting, batting .225 on the season. They sit in 21st out of 22 teams, but hold a 10-point lead over the league's worst hitting team, the Green Bay Booyah.
- The woes on the mound are starting to show in the NL's statistics. The Bombers ERA has slipped to 17th in the league at 4.90. The Thunder Bay Border Cats are ahead of them at 4.63. The league's best is owned by the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters at 2.98, with Traverse City just behind at 3.10.
The Upcoming Week - Home games in Bold
Monday, July 8th - Bombers at Lakeshore - 7:35pm
Tuesday, July 9th - Bombers at Kokomo - 7:05pm
Wednesday, July 10th - Bombers at Kokomo - 7:05pm
Thursday, July 11th - Bombers vs. Kokomo - 7:05pm (Thirsty Thursday)
Friday, July 12th - Bombers vs. Kokomo - 7:05pm
Saturday, July 13th - Bombers vs. Traverse City - 7:05pm
Sunday, June 14th - Bombers vs. Traverse City - 1:05pm