Five hours and 22 minutes into the game is as good a time as any to get your first hit in the game.
That's what centerfielder James Baldwin and the Great Lakes Loons must be thinking after he hit a game winning double against the West Michigan Whitecaps in the sixteenth inning after going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts.
"It feels wonderful (to get the game winning hit to end a slump)," Baldwin said. "I just need to carry it over into tomorrow."
Each team had a few chances to win the game much earlier than 16 innings.
The Loons had a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth and two outs before the Whitecaps rallied with three-straight singles off closer Yimi Garcia to tie the game up.
"We should've beat them a long time ago," Baldwin said.
The Whitecaps had a runner on third with one out in the fourteenth and fifteenth but two collisions at the plate put a halt to their momentum.
In the fourteenth inning West Michigan tired to take the lead off a suicide squeeze but pitcher Jose Lima fielded the bunt bear handed and threw the runner out at home after catcher Jan Vazquez held on to the ball after a collision.
In the fifteenth inning Baldwin caught a fly ball in centerfield and threw out the runner at home after a great throw and another collision at the plate for Vazquez.
After the second collision the benches cleared when Vazquez and Whitecaps second baseman Eugenio Suarez started talking after the their encounter at the plate.
"Stuff like that happens," Baldwin said. "We're here to win."
The Loons were excited to get home after an 11-game road trip where the team went 5-6 losing the last five games.
"The guys were really tired at the end of the road trip," said head coach John Shoemaker. "We weren't playing well in Lake County and suddenly we got home and they kind of got new life."
The pitching staff will be tired tomorrow because they used seven different pitchers on the night leaving the bullpen with just one pitcher left.
"We had a lot of contributors and this really counts as a team victory today," Shoemaker said.
Loons Win 16 Inning Marathon
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