GREAT LAKES LOONS 2016 Midwest League Champions

Loons beat Lumberkings 9-8 and clinch series 3 games to 1

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

19th September, 2016     0

The long 10 year wait is finally over for the Great Lakes Loons and the Great Lakes Bay region with the team winning their first ever Midwest League Championship.  The Loons did that by defeating the Clinton Lumberkings on Sunday 9-8 and clinching the best of five series 3 games to 1.   On a perfect weather day at Dow Diamond 3,305 fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when the final fly ball was caught by Brendon Davis and the wild celebration started.  The Loons playing in the Midwest League playoffs for the fifth time in their ten year history but never advancing to the Championship series decided it was their time. 

For a team that struggled for a majority of the season the Loons got hot about the second week of August and qualified for the Midwest League playoffs as the wild card team.  Then the magic began by rolling through the first two series to get to the Championship series against the Clinton Lumberkings.  They would defeat both the Bowling Green HotRods and the West Michigan Whitecaps 2 games to 1 to advance.   Manager Gil Velazquez had to deal with 70 players on this season's roster which proved to be a challenge.   He made the most of it with some recent additions to the roster late in the season.

Sunday's game proved to be quite the game with the Loons battling back from two 3 runs deficits only to take the lead for good in the bottom of the 6th inning.   Trailing 7-4 going into the bottom of the 6th the Loons take advantage of 4 walks, sacrifice fly and a double to push across 5 runs for a 9-7 lead.   The Lumberkings would make things a little interesting by pushing a run home in the 8th to make it 9-8.  The fans held their breathe for the next three outs in the top of the ninth.   The fans would be the loudest that I have heard from them all season and the mood inside Dow Diamond  that they wanted this to be the last game of the season. 

Landon Logan got the key hit in the 6th with a two run double to secure the win.   Big Matt Jones would have nearly half of the teams 9 hits on the day with four hits himself.  Karch Kowalczyk would come on in relief in the 6th and pick up the win.    16 million dollar bonus baby Yadier Alvarez would struggle a bit through 3 innings and probably make his last appearance at Dow Diamond.   

The final inning was were all of the excitement began with the Loons quickly getting the final three outs and the crowd getting extremely loud.   When Brendon Davis caught the final fly ball the players all threw their gloves into the air.  Players raced from the dugout and started the celebration in the middle of Dow Diamond.   After things calmed down Midwest League President Richard Nussbaum was on hand to present the team the League Championship flag for the 2016 season.    Then he presented the George H. Spelius Championship trophy to the team and the champagne began to flow.    All in all a great historic season for the Great Lakes Loons in 2016.    I will follow this final season article up with a season in review article shortly.  


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