Valera Hits Inside-The-Park Grand Slam
LANSING, Mich. - The Great Lakes Loons had only hit five inside-the-park home runs in their franchise history entering Monday night. Then, 20-year-old Leonel Valera hit the sixth and did it in a historic way to aid the Loons in an 11-7 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts.
Valera stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the top of the second inning squaring-off against Lansing starter Troy Miller. With Chris Roller on third, Sam McWilliams on second and Dan Robinson on first, Valera belted a ball off the center-field wall at Cooley Law School Stadium and took the wave-around from assistant coach Jason Bourgeois all the way home.
The second-inning round-tripper became the sixth grand slam for the Loons in 2019 tying them for the most in the Midwest League. Before this season, the Loons had never tallied more than four grannies in the same year. It is also the 30th grand salami in franchise history.
After the Loons put up five runs in the second frame, Lansing countered with three runs in the bottom of the inning and three more in the third to take the lead. Stephen Kolek departed after allowing six runs on eight hits in three innings.
The Loons did not stop after falling behind to a playoff-hungry Lugnuts group and proceeded to score four-unanswered runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings. Justin Yurchak had another big day extending his hit streak to 12 games going 3-for-5 with a HR, double and single. Roller also had three hits including two doubles. Andy Maguire (L, 0-1) gave up three runs in the middle innings for Lansing.
Justin Hagenman (W, 6-1) ceded six hits in less than three innings but still got the win. Edward Cuello (Sv, 2) came in to record the final out.
Great Lakes goes for the current-series win and the season-series win in the finales tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. EDT.
Miguel Vargas and John Shoemaker were both named to the Midwest League Postseason All-Star roster on Friday.
Vargas became the first player to make the team since Alex Verdugo in 2015. The 19-year-old's .325 BA was the highest among any Loons players with at least 70 games played in franchise history. He becomes the 11th player to ever earn the honor.
Shoemaker becomes the second manager in team history to be named MWL Manager of the Year, joining 2010 manager Juan Bustabad.
Aug 28: BINGO Night
Aug 29: Hockey Night w/ the Saginaw Spirit
Aug 30: Hat Giveaway and FIREWORKS!
Sept 5: Midwest League Playoffs vs. Lake County Captains
The Great Lakes Loons have been the 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.
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