Loons Loss Sets Up Winner-Take-All Contest Friday
MIDLAND, Mich. – After a 7-2 win Tuesday at the home of the Lake County Captains, the Great Lakes Loons returned Thursday to the friendly confines of Dow Diamond with two chances to secure one win and punch their ticket to the Midwest League Championship Series. Now, they have one
MIDLAND, Mich. – After a 7-2 win Tuesday at the home of the Lake County Captains, the Great Lakes Loons returned Thursday to the friendly confines of Dow Diamond with two chances to secure one win and punch their ticket to the Midwest League Championship Series.
Now, they have one chance for that one win.
The Captains pitched a 2-0 shutout, holding a Loons’ offense which collected 10 hits Tuesday to just three hits Thursday, to keep their season alive and force a winner-take-all Game 3 on Friday at Dow Diamond.
Lake County (1-1) scored their first run in the fourth inning. Connor Kokx walked to lead off the frame against Loons righty Adolfo Ramirez (L, 0-1). After two outs, Yordys Valdez doubled down the right field line to score the run and give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, the Loons (1-1) were held to just three hits in the first five innings, thanks to a tremendous performance from Tommy Mace (W, 1-0). The right-hander tossed 5 1-3 shutout frames and allowed just three hits, walking two batters and striking out six batters. This comes after five starts against Great Lakes this season in which he allowed 16 earned runs in 15 1-3 innings.
The Captains, High-A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians, had great appearances from their bullpen as well. Alaska Abney did not allow a hit in his 1 2-3 innings, walking a pair and punching out a pair. Left-hander Raymond Burgos (SV, 1) spun two near-perfect innings, with the lone runner against him reaching on a hit by pitch. He also struck out two batters.
Great Lakes, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ High-A partner, also saw good work from its relief corps.
Lake County’s final run came in the eighth inning against Hobbs. Kokx hit a two-out double and, after a walk, Micael Ramirez drove in a run with a single up the middle.
The formula for Great Lakes’ win Tuesday certainly did not continue Thursday. Loons pitchers Tuesday struck out 15 Lake County batters and did not surrender a walk. Thursday, the Captains struck out 10 times and drew eight walks.
On the offensive side for the Loons, every batter in the order reached at least once Tuesday as eight hitters combined for 10 hits. On Thursday, the team mustered three hits from three different players, and the Loons only had multiple runners on base in three frames. Great Lakes did not have an inning with three baserunners Thursday night. After going 4-for-9 as a team with runners in scoring position Tuesday, the Loons put a runner in scoring position just three times Thursday and went 0-for-3.
The series continues to a winner-take-all Game 3 on Friday night at Dow Diamond, with the winner playing for the Midwest League Championship beginning Sunday. Great Lakes is searching for just the second Championship Series appearance in franchise history, the first and only prior coming when they won the league in 2016.
In Game 3, Great Lakes starts
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.