LumberKings Win Second-Half Western Division
Clinton, IA - It took 13 innings at Ashford University Field on Tuesday night, but the LumberKings weren't going to be denied their second-half Western Division championship. Mike Dowd delivered a one-out sac fly with the bases loaded to score Dillon Hazlett as the winning run in the bottom of the 13th inning for a 6-5 win.
It was a seesaw affair early as the River Bandits jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning only to see Clinton tie it on Patrick Brady's run-scoring double. In the fourth, Jharmidy De Jesus lifted a three-run homer off the scoreboard in left-center for a 4-1 lead.
Quad Cities bounced right back with four runs in the fifth inning to take a 5-4 lead on David Medina's mammoth three-run blast that went over the Lumber Lounge. In the bottom of the inning, Mike Dowd drew a bases loaded walk to even the score at 5-5. Dixon Llorens relieved starter Dail Villanueva and struck out three straight to end the inning and limit the damage to the one run.
Neither team would score until Dowd's game-winner in the 13th, but both teams had plenty of opportunities. In the River Bandits half of the 11th inning, Anthony Melchionda was on first when Juan Castillo laced a liner into the left-field corner. Patrick Brady raced to the ball and delivered a throw to shortstop Bryan Brito who fired a perfect one-hop relay to Dowd who slapped the tag on a sliding Melchionda to end the inning and keep the game tied.
Josh Corrales worked the top of the 13th inning for Clinton and struck out Matt Williams and Nick Martini to start the frame. Colin Walsh doubled to left-center and Clinton elected to intentionally walk Stephen Piscotty. Melchionda was next and he lined a base hit to right field. This time it was Kevin Rivers who delivered a two-hop throw to Dowd who picked it and slapped the on a sliding Colin Walsh with what would have been the go-ahead run.
Robert Stock got the ball for the River Bandits in the LumberKings half of the 13th inning and promptly walked Ji-Man Choi to start the frame. He then hit Ramon Morla to put runners and first and second. Dillon Hazlett pinch ran for Choi and moved to third when Jabari Blash was hit. With the bases loaded and one out, Dowd hit a fly ball just shy of the track in center field to easily score Hazlett and give Clinton the win.
The win is number 42 for Clinton in the second-half and is the most by any "LumberKings" team since they switched after the 1993 season from the Clinton Giants. Coincidentally, the 1993 Clinton Giants won 44 games, the most in a half by any Clinton baseball team in its 76 years of existence. The last time the LumberKings won a half was in 2008 when they turned in a 41-26 first place finish in the first-half.
Clinton opens a three-game series with the Burlington Bees who are trying to fend off Kane County for the wild-card. Left-hander Rusty Shellhorn (1-1, 3.75) starts for Clinton against right-hander A.J. Cole (6-3, 1.99) for the Bees. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30.
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