When Mitchell Buban scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Kenosha Kingfish snagged a 1-0 lead over the Battle Creek Bombers in what appeared to be shaping up as a pitcher’s duel Sunday afternoon at Simmons Field.
It didn’t turn out that way.
Battle Creek scored the game’s next nine runs to pull away from the Kingfish for a 9-2 Northwoods League victory in the first of a two-game set.
The teams play again at Simmons Field at 6:35 p.m. today.
After Sunday, both teams are 5-8, tied for last place in the six-team Great Lakes East Division. They are, however, just two games back of division leaders Kokomo and Kalamazoo, who are both 7-6.
The offensive stars for the Bombers on Sunday were Jack Merrifield and Kolby Johnson.
Merrifield blasted a solo home run in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 1-1 and finished 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI, while Johnson went 3-for-5 with a run and three RBI.
After tying the game in the fifth, Battle Creek surged ahead with a three-run sixth and poured on five more in the seventh.
It took three relievers to get through the seventh for the Kingfish, as Matt Helwig, Jon-Anthony Caban and Colton Gordon all pitched in the frame.
Starter Kaleb Schmidt dropped to 1-1.
He went 52/3 innings, allowing four runs (all earned) on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Kenosha’s offense, meanwhile, mustered just four hits, as Battle Creek starter Josh Hranicky (1-2) allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts over six innings.
Buban, a Tremper graduate, had two of Kenosha’s hits and also stole his fourth base.
RJ Pearson’s sacrifice fly scored Nate Thomas in the bottom of the seventh for Kenosha’s second run.