Whitecaps Ride Waves in Back-and-Forth Contest, Defeat Loons
COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – After the West Michigan Whitecaps held them hitless in the first five innings, the Great Lakes Loons exploded for four runs on four hits in the sixth frame Thursday to take a 5-4 lead. In the bottom of the sixth inning at LMCU Ballpark, West Michigan
COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – After the West Michigan Whitecaps held them hitless in the first five innings, the Great Lakes Loons exploded for four runs on four hits in the sixth frame Thursday to take a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth inning at LMCU Ballpark, West Michigan took the lead right back.
A rollercoaster of a game eventually swung West Michigan’s way as they defeat the Loons, 7-6, to pull within one game of the Lake County Captains for the final spot in the Midwest League playoffs with three games left in the regular season.
The Loons (76-53, 36-27 second half) took the lead in the second inning on no hits in the frame. After two walks and an error loaded the bases, Yunior Garcia hit a sacrifice fly, collecting his first RBI as a Loon to give the team a 1-0 lead.
West Michigan (70-59, 39-24) went in front in the bottom of the third inning, scoring two runs on four singles in the inning. Josh Crouch hit an RBI single that nearly scored two runs, but
The Whitecaps, High-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, extended their advantage in the fourth inning. Ben Casparius (L, 1-4) entered the game and allowed a walk, a triple and a sacrifice fly to the first three batters he faced, putting the home side ahead 4-1.
Great Lakes, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ High-A partner, couldn’t get to West Michigan starter Keider Montero. He held the Loons hitless, and the second-inning run he allowed was unearned. He walked three batters and struck out five, qualifying for the win when he left the game.
But the West Michigan bullpen would not hold up for Montero to get the win – with his exit, the Loons immediately pounced on the Whitecaps relief corps.
West Michigan had the immediate answer. A walk and a Danny Serretti RBI double began the bottom of the sixth inning before a two-out, go-ahead, two-run homer from Justice Bigbie, his first with West Michigan and his third of the year overall. That gave the Whitecaps a 7-5 advantage.
The Loons got back within a run in the top of the seventh inning.
And that’s as close as they would get.
With the win and Lake County’s loss, West Michigan remains in the hunt for the final spot in the Midwest League playoffs, trailing the Captains by one game with three to play. In the event of a tie atop the standings, Lake County holds the tiebreaker based on second-half winning percentage, as they have played two fewer games, so West Michigan must gain two games in the final three to make the postseason. Either they win three and Lake County wins no more than one, or they win two and Lake County loses the final three. Any other scenario sees the Captains facing the Loons come the first playoff game Tuesday.
West Michigan takes a 2-1 lead over the Loons in this six-game set, but Great Lakes leads the season series, 8-7. The weekend portion of the six-game series begins at 6:35 p.m. Friday at LMCU Ballpark. Robbie Peto (6-0, 3.79 ERA) toes the rubber for the Loons, opposing fellow righty Dylan Smith (7-6, 4.31 ERA) for the Whitecaps. ESPN 100.9-FM pregame coverage kicks off with the Loons On-Deck Circle, driven by Garber Chevrolet Midland, at 6:20 p.m.
The Great Lakes Loons have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team’s home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.