Great Lakes Loons
Down by three runs in the ninth inning against the premier closer in the Midwest League? No worries. Trailing by a run in the bottom of the 11th inning against another elite reliever? Never a doubt.
With Rall E. Camel in the house and a team that refused to give up, the Great Lakes Loons won the most dramatic game in franchise history, rallying from four deficits and finally topping the Fort Wayne TinCaps, 11-10 in 11 innings, in the first game of the best-of-three Midwest League Eastern Division Championship series.
The box score will show that Jerry Sands delivered the game-winning hit, but every single Loon contributed to a most improbable win that pushed Great Lakes to the brink of the Midwest League Championship Series.
Game Two of the Eastern final is this afternoon in Fort Wayne, and a Loons win will close the series and avoid a winner-take-all Game Three on Monday night.
Sands was the last Loons batter to get a hit on Saturday night, but what a hit it was. It came three batters after Anthony Hatch picked up his first hit, a single to left field that put runners at the corners with one out.
Hatch was lifted for pinch runner Parker Dalton, who eventually scored the winning run on Sands' base hit. Alfredo Silverio tied the game with a sacrifice fly before Sands' heroics.
For the second night in a row, Jaime Pedroza powered a game-changing home run, this one a three-run blast off lockdown TinCaps closer Brad Brach in the bottom of the ninth.
After Nick Buss and Dee Gordon opened the inning with singles, Pedroza launched a deep drive to left centerfield that just cleared the wall and tied the game at 9-9 immediately after Fort Wayne had scored three runs of its own in the top of the ninth.
Pedroza's long ball came on his 23rd birthday and one night after his top of the 10th inning blast at West Michigan moved the Loons into this Eastern Division Championship Series.
The Loons fell behind 4-0 to start the game in the first two innings. A two-run homer off Loons starter Josh Walter in the top of the first started things, then the 'Caps took advantage of Walter's wildness to load the bases and score a run on three walks and a single to start the top of the second.
Walter was replaced after a bases-loaded walk by Steve Smith, who worked out of the jam with minimal damage, allowing only one more run on a broken bat flare and then used a double play to escape the frame.
With Smith dealing on the mound, the Loons offense clawed back with two-spots in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Back-to-back infield singles from Kyle Russell and Alfredo Silverio started the bottom of the fourth, and consecutive sacrifice flies by Sands and Becker combined with aggressive base running and an narrowed the margin to 4-2.
In the fifth, a leadoff triple by Buss was followed by a Dee Gordon RBI double, and a third sac fly by Hatch tied the game at four through five innings.
Fort Wayne reclaimed a two-run lead in the seventh on a two-run double but the Loons answered right back with two of their own in the bottom half. Gordon cut the lead to 6-5 with a RBI single and then tied the game when he scored on a wild pitch later in the inning.
After pitching a scoreless eighth inning, Loons reliever Daigoro Rondon was touched up for three runs in the top of the ninth inning. Fort Wayne needed only three outs to head home up 1-0 in the series and got the outs but the Loons had tied the score.
Great Lakes used seven pitchers, with Smith pitching a career-high 5.2 innings and allowing only one run with nine strikeouts.
Geison Aguasviva finished the seventh in relief of Smith, and Rondon pitched the final two innings of regulation. Robert Boothe got the first two outs of the 10th before Jon Dutton got a big strikeout with a runner on third to end the inning.
After Dutton gave up a double and a run-scoring single to start the 11th, Jordan Pratt came in to get the final three outs and picked up the win when the Loons rallied to win it.
The Loons and TinCaps continue the Eastern Championship Series today. Right-hander Bobby Blevins, who pitched in relief on Thursday night against West Michigan in the first round, starts for the Loons against TinCaps right-hander Stiven Osuna.
Score by Innings Fort Wayne 220 000 203 01-10 Great Lakes 000 220 203 02-11 Great Lakes ab r h bi ave Gordon ss 5 3 3 2 .444 Pedroza 2b 4 2 2 2 .267 Hatch 3b 4 0 1 1 .333 Dalton pr 0 1 0 0 1.000 Russell rf 5 1 1 0 .176 Silverio lf 5 1 2 1 .235 Sands 1b 5 0 1 2 .250 Becker dh 4 0 1 1 .267 Wallach c 5 0 1 0 .143 Buss cf 5 3 3 0 .313 --------------------------------- Totals 45 11 15 10 Fort Worth 45 10 15 9 Error- Buss (1). 2B- Gordon (1). 3B- Buss (1). HR- Pedroza (2). RBI- Sands 2 (4), Becker (2), Gordon 2 (4), Hatch (2), Pedroza 3 (4), Silverio (2). SF- Sands; Becker; Hatch; Silverio. LOB- Great Lakes 8, Fort Wayne 10. SB- Becker (1), Buss (1), Russell (1). DP- Pedroza, Gordon and Sands. Great Lakes in h r-er bb so era Walter 1.0 3 4-4 3 1 36.00 Smith 5.2 3 1-1 1 9 1.35 Aguasviva 0.1 2 1-1 0 0 2.45 Rondon 2.0 4 3-3 2 3 13.50 Boothe 0.2 1 0-0 0 0 0.00 Dutton 0.1 2 1-1 1 1 27.00 Pratt (1-0) 1.0 0 0-0 0 1 4.50 WP- Rondon, Dutton. HBP- Gordon; by Aguasviva. T- 4:15. Att- 4,029.Owlz Peck Ogden 7-2
Orem took up where they left off in the regular season, whacking Ogden 7-2 in the opener of a best-of-three playoff series. The Owlz topped the Raptors five of the last seven times they met during the regular season.
The Orem Owlz used strong pitching and a 10-hit attack to dump Ogden in their only home game of the three-game set. The next two games, if needed, are in Ogden.
The Owlz limited the Raptors to just six hits and scored the final six runs of the game after Ogden had taken a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning.
Allen Webster (0-1) started for Ogden, and set down the first eight men before a solo homer in the bottom of the third. It was Witherspoon's fourth home run of the season against the Raptors.
Clay Calfee plated Angelo Songco with a two-out single, and Nick Akins followed with an RBI double and that signaled the end of the Ogden offense for the evening.
The Owlz used an infield single and two hit batsmen to open the inning and an RBI single tied the score. A sac fly and a two-run triple untied it, knocking Webster out of the game.
Single runs against Jordan Roberts in the fifth and Nick Gaudi in the eighth to provide the final margin, and Ogden was held hitless after the fifth inning.
Ogden returns home tonight looking to stave off a season-ending loss. Brett Wallach will get the ball for the Raptors against the Owlz' Tyler Kehrer.
Score by Innings Ogden 000 200 000-2 Orem 001 410 01x-7 Ogden ab r h bi ave Ruggiano 3b 4 0 0 0 .000 Guerrero ss 4 0 1 0 .250 Galvez cf 4 0 0 0 .000 Songco lf 4 1 1 0 .250 Erickson c 4 0 1 0 .250 Wise dh 3 0 0 0 .000 Calfee 1b 3 1 1 1 .333 Akins rf 3 0 1 1 .333 Hernandez 2b 3 0 1 0 .000 --------------------------------- Totals 32 2 6 2 Orem 36 7 10 7 Errors- Ruggiano (1), Erickson (1). 2B- Akins (1). RBI- Calfee (1), Akins (1). RBI- Calfee (1), Akins (1). LOB- Ogden 5, Orem 4. DP- Guerrero and Ruggiano 2; Ruggiano, Hernandez, Guerrero and Ruggiano. Ogden in h r-er bb so era Webster (0-1) 3.1 4 5-5 0 0 13.50 Roberts 2.2 4 1-1 0 2 3.38 Suiter 1.0 0 0-0 1 1 0.00 Gaudi 1.0 2 1-1 0 1 9.00 HBP- by Webster 2. PB- Erickson (1). T- 2:10. Att- 3,699.