Battle Creek Bombers

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Battle Creek Bombers
BC Bombers Primary 350x250.jpg Battle Creek Bombers Home Cap Logo.jpg
Team logo Cap insignia
League Northwoods League
Location Battle Creek, Michigan
Ballpark C. O. Brown Stadium
Year founded 2007
League championships 1 (2011)
Division championships 1 (2011)
Colors Scarlet, Black, Grey
Ownership Dick Radatz, Jr.
Manager Gary McClure
Media Battle Creek Enquirer
Website battlecreekbombers.com

The Battle Creek Bombers are a baseball team that plays in the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league. All players on the team must have NCAA eligibility remaining in order to participate. Their home games are played at the C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek, Michigan. The team is currently owned by the Northwoods League.

Rivalry[edit]

The Bombers compete for the I-94 Rivalry Cup with the Kalamazoo Growlers. The rivalry began in 2014 when the Growlers entered the Northwoods League, ending the Bombers reign as the only team in the league from Michigan. The Bombers lead the yearly series 2-1 as well as the all-time series 14 games to 6.

2007 season[edit]

The Battle Creek Bombers began play in 2007 as an expansion team in the Northwoods League. First year manager Brian Murphy guided the team to a record of 26-41.

Attendance for their first season was 27946,[1] including a game on August 2, 2007 which was nationally televised on ESPNU and drew 4087 fans in a 3-2 loss to the Rochester Honkers.[1]

The Bombers announced on October 15, 2007 that Matt Fonteno would be their field manager for the upcoming 2008 season. Matt has 3 years of experience as an assistant coach in college baseball.[2]

2008 season[edit]

The Bombers announced on May 1, 2008 that former intern Nate Mueske will replace Jake Thayer as Assistant General Manager.

2008 total attendance grew slightly from 2007 to 29,497. The Bombers finished the first half of the 2008 season in last place and they finished the second half in 6th place, missing the playoffs for the second straight season.

2009 season[edit]

Under guidance of new field manager Tom Fleenor, the Bombers set a franchise record for wins in a season, going 37-30. The Bombers won 21 games in the first half of the season, finishing a game-and-a-half back of the Eau Claire Express. They finished four games back in the second half, barely missing out on the playoffs.

On the final night of the season, the Bombers drew a record crowd of 4,424 fans. Prior to the game, Chris Lewis was named team MVP for his outstanding season. Lewis broke 8 franchise records, and was in the top 2 of the league in seven offensive categories.

The Bombers sent a record 7 players to the Northwoods League All-Star Game, and 3 of those players (Chris Lewis, Matt Talley, and R.J. Hively) were selected to the Northwoods League Postseason All-Star Team.

2011 Season[edit]

The Battle Creek Bombers capped of their most successful season in franchise history hoisting the Northwoods League Championship trophy at C.O. Brown Stadium as they were crowned winners of the Summer Collegiate World Series.

Without a doubt the most memorable season in Bombers history, the 2011 campaign began on uneven ground: a new GM (Brian Colopy), new field manager (Donnie Scott), new pitching coach (Brandon Higelin), new logos, new front office employees, and, of course, new players. After an abysmal 2010 season in which the Bombers finished 20-50, the team, and town, needed a new era to begin. During the off-season, Colopy brought back hitting coach Thad Frame of Huntington University and together they assembled a lineup of veteran local standout talent mixed with younger players from big name schools . For the majority of the season, Battle Creek's lineup consisted of players from Central Michigan University, Taylor University, Evansville University, Northern Illinois, Western Illinois, Texas-San Antonio, and Miami (Ohio).

The ultimate "player's coach," Scott brought major league playing experience and minor-league managing experience to his players, and the combination thrived. The Bombers jumped out to an early Southern Division lead, and didn't lose a series until nearly three weeks into the regular season. The success continued, and after a down-to-the-wire race for the first-half championship, the Bombers clinched their playoff berth based on head-to-head records after tying Eau Claire and Green Bay for the best record.

Scott kept the team focused in the second half; eventually helping the Bomb Squad to a 2nd half championship and home field advantage in the divisional series against 2nd-place finisher Green Bay. After finishing 30 games under .500 in 2010, the team finished the regular season 43-26, by far the best season in franchise history. Battle Creek faced their Southern Division rival, Green Bay, in the Southern Division playoff, and the Bombers took the pennant in two straight games before doing the same in the Northwoods League Championship against the Northern Division's Mankato Moondogs. Including the Championship win, the Bombers finished the 2011 season on an 11-game winning streak, and never lost more than three games in a row through the 73-game season.

With the Bombers 47-26 overall record, they officially completed the largest turnaround in the Northwoods Leagues 18-year history. The team improved their record by a dramatic 27 games in 2011. This blew out the former record of 19 set back in 1995 when the Kenosha Kroakers improved their 21-31 record to 40-18. Scott claimed all credit goes to his players, and it's clear to see why he believes it: Bryce Redeker broke the previous team home run record when he blasted 11 during the 2011 campaign (most of which came in Battle Creek, the league's deepest field), Jordan Dean set records for hits (89), doubles, and at-bats, Danny Rockett bought in a franchise-high 53 RBIs, and Martinez finished second in the NWL in walks (53) blowing out the old team record.

Not only did Battle Creek see success on the field, attendances numbers reached an all-time high at 1,176 fans a game in 2011. Compare that to last season's 778 fans a game, attendance increased by a dramatic 49%. The last team to have such a large increase was the Madison Mallards in the 2003 season when they increase their attendance from 1,973 fans a game (in 2002) to 4,411 fans a game in 2003 (124% increase).[3]

2012 season[edit]

The Bombers attempted to defend their first ever Northwoods League championship with new coaches taking the reins of the on-field squad. Former pitching coach Brandon Higelin took over for former manager Donnie Scott.[4] New coaches joining Higelin's staff were Joseph Ramos[5] and Brad Gschwind.[6] The Bombers ended their season with 26 wins and 43 loses.

2013 season[edit]

The Bombers finished their 2013 season with a team record of 29 wins to 41 loses. Higelin returned as manager and Joseph Oliveira, Cody Piechocki and Chris Smith joined the staff as hitting coach, pitching coach, and assistant coach respectively. The Bombers had an active roster of 18 players from 12 different NCAA universities.

2014 season[edit]

The 2014 season with a team record of 32 wins to 40 loses. Higelin returned as manager and Jimmy Correnti joined the staff as the assistant coach. Bill Murphy and Robbie Robinson took over for Higgling as manager. The Bombers also began new stadium renovations at C. O. Brown Stadium that increased stadium capacity.

2015 season[edit]

Under the direction of field manager Robbie Robinson, the Bombers ended the 2015 season with a record of 27-44. Although the team took a step back from the 2014 season, they managed to still stay ahead of rival Kalamazoo in the final standings.

Dan Swain and Niko Pacheco led the team with five home runs each. Alex Hermeling was the ace of the team and was selected to the Northwoods League all-star team. He led the team with 52 strikeouts in 53.2 innings. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and current plays for their Class A affiliate, the Great Lakes Loons.

2016 season[edit]

Coaching Changes: The Battle Creek Bombers have announced the hiring of Gary McClure as field manager for the 2016 season.

McClure, the former Austin Peay State University Head Coach, came to the Bombers with almost three decades of division one coaching experience.[7]

Mascot Reveals: The Battle Creek Bombers revealed its new mascot design on April 17 at a public event at C.O. Brown Stadium.[8]

The team also announced major ballpark renovations that will drop the seating capacity of C.O. Brown Stadium from more than 4,000 to 2,300. The marquee renovation includes the introduction of an all-new “Home Plate Club,” which features 10 granite half-moon tables situated directly behind home plate. Each table also features four stadium chairs sourced from Camden Yards. Each table has access to its own all-inclusive menu, including both beer and wine pairings.

“The Champions Club,” now shifts down the first and third base lines. These areas feature additional legroom and a food and beverage railing in front of each seat. This renovation allows for a more comfortable fan experience and gives the Bombers 98 Champions Club seats for 2016.

References[edit]

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