Whitecaps Outslug Loons in 11-10 Shootout - Whitecaps 11, Loons 10
Midland, Mich. - The Great Lakes Loons (21-13) and West Michigan Whitecaps (21-13) went toe-to-toe in a high-scoring matchup that showcased 21 runs, 24 hits and saw a one-run Whitecaps victory in front of the largest crowd in Dow Diamond history, 6,906 on a 69-degree partly cloudy day.
The Loons left the potential tying run 90 feet away, down 11-10 in the ninth. After two two-out singles from Griffin Lockwood-Powell and Chris Alleyne, the third strikeout of the inning ended the ball game.
The second, seventh, and ninth were the only innings to not see any runs.
West Michigan jumped out to an early lead, a Eliezer Alfonso RBI single was the highlight of a three-hit first. Great Lakes took the lead, the first of five lead changes. Austin Gauthier reached on a walk, and Yeiner Fernandez was hit by a pitch. Gauthier was plated by an Alex Freeland RBI double, and Taylor Young's sacrifice fly scored Fernandez.
Great Lakes exploded in the bottom of the third, for four runs. Yeiner Fernandez doubled, and then Taylor Young doubled for his second RBI. Damon Keith and Griffin Lockwood-Powell were next and delivered back-to-back home runs, the first time a Loons duo has done that in 2023. Lockwood-Powell's homer was 449 feet, a no-doubter surpassing the left field concourse.
The Whitecaps trailing 6-2, would tie it up entering the bottom of the fifth. Yon Castro, worked a scoreless second and third but allowed his first home run of the year, an Austin Murr two-run shot. Castro got the fifth, which was led off, by Izaac Pacheco. Pacheco demolished a ball 453 feet to right-center. Franklin De La Paz took over, he hit a batter and allowed a single. Danny Serretti, lined the first pitch he saw to right field to score both.
Robert Campos, a 19-year-old for West Michigan pushed the Whitecaps ahead with a two-run homer in the sixth against Carlos De Los Santos.
The Loons first three batters in the sixth all reached and all scored. Griffin Lockwood-Powell singled, and then Chris Alleyne, powered his first home run of the season, a high fly over the right field fence. Great Lakes proceeded to load the bases, Alex Freeland, who had two hits and 10 RBI with bases loaded this season, grounded into a fielder's choice to bring home a run, making it 9-8 Loons.
West Michigan supplied their fourth multi-run inning, a three-run eighth. Christian Suarez surrendered three straight singles, Chris Meyers a two-run base knock. The Whitecaps' back end of the bullpen did enough to finish the job. Austin Gauthier smashed a 2-0 pitch, a homer, to begin the bottom of the eighth. The next three batters were retired.
The Loons and Whitecaps are tied atop the Midwest League East Standings. Game two is tomorrow Wednesday, May 17th, with a 6:05 first pitch. Wednesday is Paws & Claws night at Dow Diamond.
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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