The Northwoods League All-Star Game has come and gone. Now, the Battle Creek Bombers have a long road over the next three weeks to inch closer to a playoff bid.

With their biggest promotion of the year, the Bombers had an very exciting, up-and-down week with just four games on the docket. Here's a look back at the week --

Monday, July 15th - Off Day - All-Star Break
The start of the All-Star Break allowed the Bombers to stay home, expect for Josh Sears (Freed Hardeman), who was the lone Bombers representative for the Great Lakes Conference.

Tuesday, July 16th - Great Lakes 5, Great Plains 2 (All-Star Game at Waterloo, Iowa)
Two eighth inning runs gave the Great Lakes Conference a little more cushion from 3-2 to win the Northwoods League All-Star Game. Josh Sears had a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning for the Lakes squad, grounding out to short in his only role in the game.

Wednesday, July 17th - Off Day - All-Star Break
One more day to rest up and prepare for the remainder of the Northwoods League season, starting with a pair at C.O. Brown Stadium.

Thursday, July 18th - Rockford 13, (at) Battle Creek 3
It was a slow start out of the gate for the Bombers, allowing nine runs in the first and another three in the second in the drubbing. Josh Sheck (California-Irvine) drove in a run in his Bombers debut, along with John Malcom (Vanderbilt) and Michael Morrissette (Miami OH). Ty Shoaff (Notre Dame College) was touched up for all nine first inning runs, throwing just a third of a inning to take the loss.

Friday, July 19th - (at) Battle Creek 13, Rockford 8
The Bombers came back on "Back to the Battle Cats" night, thanks to a five-run fifth in front of the second largest crowd of the season (1,637). Josh Sheck, Caleb Balgaard (Iowa Western) and Jorge Gutierrez (Lamar) each drove in two runs on the night, and Trace Peterson (Lake Erie College) had three hits out of the lead-off spot. Pablo Arevalo (Barry College) allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings of relief, but earned the win to move to a team-best 4-1 on the year.

Saturday, July 20th - (at) Kokomo 9, Battle Creek 7
The Bomb Squad put together six runs in the final three innings, but a six-spot from the Jackrabbits in the fourth inning had put the game out of reach. Caleb Balgaard went 3-for-5 and drove in four runs, three of them on his first homer of the season in the seventh inning. Walter Talcott (Earlham College) allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings to take the loss on the mound, falling to 2-4 on the season.

Sunday, July 21st - Battle Creek 8, (at) Kokomo 5
The Bombers earned another series split, putting together six runs in the seventh and eighth to hold off the Jackrabbits. Josh Sears went 3-for-4 and punched in two runs in the seventh with his third homer of the season. Four others each pushed across a run on the afternoon. Ping-Chun Ho (Barry College) tossed two scoreless innings of relief to up his record to 3-2. Mitchell Lee (Lamar) closed it out in the ninth for his first save this season.

With three weeks remaining in the Northwoods League regular season, the Bombers have two tough tasks at hand this week. As the first half-winning Traverse City Pit Spitters start to pull away from the pack to hold the second half title in grasp, Battle Creek's only hope for a postseason spot may be with the overall record. In that race, the Bombers are seven games behind the Kalamazoo Growlers and Rockford Rivets in that race. More detail will come next week, as the Great Lakes North looks like this -

Great Lakes Conference-East DivisionWinLossPercentageGames BackStreakLast 10
Traverse City Pit Spitters133.813-3W7-3
Kalamazoo Growlers99.50056L3-7
Kokomo Jackrabbits89.4715.51L5-5
Kenosha Kingfish710.4126.53W5-5
Rockford Rivets611.3537.53L4-6
Battle Creek Bombers611.3537.51W4-6

The other tough task for the Bomb Squad is another seven-day, six-game road trip that begins Thursday. They will embark on their second of three week-long trips. The good news is that they do have a day-off at home, as they return to Kalamazoo for the weekend and head out to Rockford after. It is the shortest of the three trips at 730 miles combined.

- The Major League Dreams Showcase is just around the corner for the Northwoods League, with a pair of games scheduled for Tuesday, August 6th in Warner Park in Madison, Wisconsin, home of the Madison Mallards.. The Bombers have just one player selected to play, with John Malcom as the lone representative for the club. The freshman from Vanderbilt is batting .280 in 45 contests for the Bombers, leading the team in RBI with 23. He will be playing in the 8:35pm contest. Malcom won't have to go far to the game, as the Bombers will already be in Madison for a pair of games on August 5th and 7th. For the complete rosters, click here.

- Kelby Weyler (Lamar) continues to cross the plate for the Bombers. The sophomore shortstop is tied for seventh in the Northwoods League in runs scored with 38 in 50 games. Wyatt Ulrich of the Bismark Larks leads the NL with 50 runs.

- Jack Merrfield (LSU-Eunice) has definitely taken his lumps this year. The freshman third baseman as one of the top junior college's in the country has displayed his versatility for the Bombers on the field. At the plate, he has been hit by 10 pitches this season, tied for the sixth most in the Northwoods. Troy Beilsmith of the Eau Claire Express has the most hit by pitches in the league with 18.

- Lyle Hibbitts (Tyler Junior College) has been an asset in the starting role for the Bombers pitching staff. When he starts, he goes deep into games and gives the relievers a breather. His 48 2/3 innings pitched is third in the Northwoods in nine starts. He averages just over 5 1/3 innings per start. He received the no decision in the Bombers 13-8 win over the Rockford Rivets Friday. He also sits outside the top ten in the league in strike outs with 42.

- The Bombers hitting woes have continued as they sit at .222 as a team, the Northwoods worst, behind the Kenosha Kingfish at .225. The team's pitching has slipped in recent weeks with a 5.17 ERA, good for 18th out of 22 teams.

The Upcoming Week - Home games in Bold
Monday, July 22nd - Bombers vs. Kenosha - 7:05pm
Tuesday, July 23rd - Bombers vs. Kenosha - 11:05am (Camp Day)
Wednesday, July 24th - Bombers at Kalamazoo - 11:05am, Bombers vs. Kalamazoo - 7:05pm (Day-Night Home and Home doubleheader)
Thursday, July 25th - Bombers at Kenosha - 8:05pm
Friday, July 26th - Bombers at Kenosha - 7:35pm
Saturday, July 27th - Bombers at Kalamazoo - 7:05pm
Sunday, June 28th - Bombers at Kalamazoo - 3:05pm

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