2011 Midwest League Championship Series

Quad City River Bandits vs. Lansing Lugnuts

Posted In: Sports, Local Sports, Great Lakes Loons,   By: Thomas Baird

15th September, 2011     0

The Lansing Lugnuts hosted the first game of the 2011 Midwest League Championships in Lansing, Michigan under a cloudy, cold and damp setting at Thomas Cooley Law School Stadium on Wednesday September 14, 2011.   The Western Division Champs the Quad City River Bandits would be the opponents in the best of 5 championship series.  The Lugnuts were playing in their first Championship since 2003 when they won the Midwest League title.   The 16 team Class A Midwest League which includes the Midland based Great Lakes Loons would have two of the hottest teams playing. 

The game started after a 25 minute rain delay and a great job by the Lansing ground crew to get the field in shape to start the game.   The game time temperature was 55 degrees but seemed much cooler.  The Lugnuts with only one day to promote the game saw the Lugnuts draw a very small crowd for the Opener.  However, Bay City native and Lansing Lugnuts front office staff member Nick Brzezinski pointed out" that they expect to have a good crowd on Thursday for game 2 because of the year long Thirsty Thursday promotion which draws big numbers. "  He further stated "Our staff will have more time to contact groups to attend the Championship Game."     These will be the only two games that Lansing will host with games 3-5 returning to Quad City.

The Lugnuts who finished the season with a 77-60 record surprised most followers by winning the first two rounds of the Midwest League playoffs by defeating the Dayton Dragons and the Fort Wayne Tincaps.   Lansing started Sean Nolin shut down the River Bandits for the first 5 innings and getting out of a big jam in the 4th inning.  Nolin walked the bases loaded and then struck out the next three batters.  He touched 97 and 96 mph several times in the 4th inning on the Stadium radar gun. 

The River Bandits would do the damage in the late innings getting their four runs off the losing Lugnuts pitcher Daniel Webb in the 7th and 8th innings.   The Lugnuts did manage 10 hits in the game but never really could mount any type of offense.  The Lugnuts a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate will try to even up the series tonight by sending LHP Justin Nicolino to the mound to face River Bandit starter Anthony Ferrara.  Ferrara is the Bandits top pitcher in 2011 with a 13-7 record.  Drew Benes picked up the victory in the Quad City 4-2 win.   Drew is the son of former Major League pitcher Andy Benes.   


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