Bombers Beat – The Road Takes Over Final Week
The Northwoods League schedule continues to wind down and several teams still have a shot to make it into the postseason, with four wins needed for a title.
The wins, on the other hand for the Battle Creek Bombers, have been tough to come by this year. After putting together a few wins last week, the Bomb Squad had the opportunity to put a few more together in front of their home fans in the final appearances at C.O. Brown Stadium.
Monday, July 29th - Off Day
The final scheduled day off comes in amidst a long road trip and a seven-game skid. The best part was that the part of the road trip was after a weekend series in Kalamazoo, so a stay at home for a day is not a bad thing.
Tuesday, July 30th - Battle Creek 9, (at) Rockford 8
The Bombers almost let another game slip through their fingers but they held on to end the long losing skid. Leading 9-5 in the final inning, the Rivets scored three runs before a strike out with the bases loaded ended the game. Caleb Balgaard (Iowa Western), Jorge Gutierrez (Lamar) and Michael Morrissette (Miami OH) each drove in two runs to propel the Bomb Squad offense. Sawyer Allen (Hillsdale College) allowed three runs in five innings to get the win in his Bombers debut. Beaux Bonvillain (Central Oklahoma) stopped the Rivets threat with his team-leading sixth save with his finishing strike out.
Wednesday, July 31st - (at) Rockford 8, Battle Creek 5
The Bombers put together a comeback of their own in their attempted sweep of the Rivets. Rockford put up six runs in the sixth inning to take an 8-0 lead. The Bombers would score in each of the remaining innings, including three in the ninth. Four Bombers each drove in a run, led by Anthony Catalano (North Iowa Area CC) and his two-hit night. Seth Tucker (Hendrix College) allowed two runs in five innings to take the loss in his first start of the season.
Thursday, August 1st - (at) Battle Creek 8, Madison 7
The Bombers opened up their final homestand of the season with another come-from-behind victory. After allowing seven Mallard runs in the first three innings, the Bomb Squad scored three in the sixth inning and the eventual game-winning run in the eighth to earn the win, capitalizing on three Madison errors. There was just three RBI on the night for Battle Creek, with John Malcom (Vanderbilt) leading the way with two as part of a 2-for-4 night. Kevin Smith (Compton College) picked up the win in relief in his second Bomber appearance. Beaux Bonvillain closed it out in the ninth for his seventh save.
Friday, August 2nd - Madison 5, (at) Battle Creek 2
Even with five of their six hits coming the first five innings, the Bombers struggled to put runs on the board until the eighth inning. Trace Peterson (Lake Erie College) had two of the hits, including the two-RBI double that broke the shutout. Keith Carpenter (Maryland Eastern Shore) had his best start since July 12th, allowing three runs in five innings to take the loss and fall to 1-1.
Saturday, August 3rd - Kenosha 15, (at) Battle Creek 5
The largest crowd in paid attendance this season at C.O. Brown Stadium (1,926) saw the Bombers allow the most runs this season in a single contest. The Kingfish capitalized on six errors on the night, three of them in the first two innings, to put the Bomb Squad behind 8-0 with a six-spot in the second. The Bombers showed signs of life with three runs in the ninth, coming from Kolby Johnson's (Central Arkansas) two-out bases-clearing double. Trace Peterson drove in two more runs on his three-hit night. Blaine Parker (Panola College) was credited for eight runs in 1 2/3 innings to fall to 0-3 on the season.
Sunday, August 4th - Kenosha 6, (at) Battle Creek 3
In the home finale for the Bombers, they were playing catch-up with the Kingfish all afternoon. They kept pace with a one-run deficit after a three-run third from Kenosha, until the Kingfish put it away with two runs in the eighth. John Malcom smacked his third homer of the season, a solo shot in the fifth inning, to put the Bombers behind 4-3. Trace Peterson and Seth Tucker also drove in a run each. Sawyer Allen took the loss on the mound, allowing three runs in his two-inning start to fall to 1-1.
The Bombers season at home has come to a close, but they have one more week that remains. That week involves the third and final seven-day road trip that involves six contests. This trip will take them a total of 751 miles, including their trip home after the season concludes Sunday. The Wisconsin swing will have Madison, Fond du Lac and Kenosha. The Madison Mallards are playoff bound after winning the Great Lakes West first half. The Fond du Lac Dock Spiders are within three games of the top spot in the West with a shot at the postseason.
Which leads us to Kenosha during the weekend. The Kingfish are four games behind the Kalamazoo Growlers for the final playoff spot in the Great Lakes East. With the Traverse City Pit Spitters winning both halves, the remaining spot for the one-game East playoff is determined by overall record. Heading into the final week, the Growlers lead by just a game over the Rockford Rivets and four ahead of the Kingfish. The Kokomo Jackrabbits are seven games behind Kalamazoo and have a pair of double headers at Homer Stryker Field in the final week and a pair at home with Rockford. Here's the current second half standings in the Great Lakes East.
|Great Lakes Conference-East Division
|xy - Traverse City Pit Spitters
|Battle Creek Bombers
x - First Half champion; y - Second Half Champion; z - Playoffs by overall record
- The Major League Dreams Showcase is on Tuesday for the Northwoods League, with a pair of games scheduled 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 .289 in 59 contests for the Bombers, leading the team in RBI with 35. 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.
- The Bombers have six players on the roster that have been with the team since the beginning of the season. Several players have returned to their respective schools to prepare for their fall semester and baseball schedules. Three pitchers remain, including Ty Shoaff (Notre Dame College), Mitchell Lee (Lamar) and Beaux Bonvillain. The other players include John Malcom, Kolby Johnson and Michael Morrissette. A Bomber from last season, pitcher Walter Talcott, returned to the club in June.
- Speaking of Kolby Johnson, the Central Arkansas outfielder is just one of four players in the Northwoods League that has played in every contest for their franchise. He is also one of just two players in the Great Lakes Conference to achieve that feat, along with Rockford Rivets outfielder Matt Higgins.
- Several large crowds came through the C.O. Brown Stadium gates late in the season, including the largest attendance this past week. In 35 dates, the Bombers averaged 852 in paid attendance each game, down slightly from last season's 898. It's the fourth straight season of decline, coming from the 2015 season which averaged 1,314. The expansion franchises in Traverse City and Kokomo saw pleasant debuts in the Northwoods.
The Upcoming Week
Monday, August 5th - Bombers at Madison - 7:35pm
Tuesday, August 6th - Major League Dreams Showcase at Madison - 5:05pm & 8:35pm
Wednesday, August 7th - Bombers at Madison - 7:35pm
Thursday, August 8th - Bombers at Fond du Lac - 7:35pm
Friday, August 9th - Bombers at Fond du Lac - 7:35pm
Saturday, August 10th - Bombers at Kenosha - 7:05pm
Sunday, August 11th - Bombers at Kenosha - 2:05pm