The Great Lakes Loons and the Burlington Bee’s played the final game of their recent 3 game series Thursday evening at Dow Diamond. The Loons were hoping for a little bit more of what they did on Wednesday night, when the Loons came back from a 2 run deficit in the bottom of the 9th inning to win in heroic fashion. Unfortunately for the Burlington Bee’s, it was Déjà vu all over again.
Thursday evening, the Loons came back from a 2 run deficit in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Midwest Leagues best team. Twenty four hours earlier, Jesse Bosnik hit a “walk off single” to win Wednesday night’s game. Thursday, it was Bobby Coyle’s turn to be the hero. Coyle’s “walk off triple” in the bottom of the 9th gave the Loons their 2nd win in the 3rd and final game of this 3 game series against an extremely powerful Burlington Bee’s squad. “We were very fortunate to get the win,” Loons DH Bobby Coyle said. “Anytime you get a win like this against an organization like Burlington, it’s always a good win.”
Burlington drew first blood in the top half of the 3rd inning when Bee’s shortstop, Wade Kirkland singled to start the inning. Kirkland advanced to 2nd base on a throwing error by Loons shortstop, Bryant Hernandez. Kirkland moved to 3rd base when center fielder, Tyreace House laid down a sacrifice bunt. With 1 out, Burlington catcher John Nester grounded out to first base, allowing Kirkland to score from 3rd base, giving the Bee’s a 1-0 lead.
The Loons came right back, tying the game at 1 run apiece in the bottom half of the 3rd inning. Loons 3rd baseman, Christian Lara singled to start the inning. Lara advanced to 2nd base on a throwing error by Bee’s shortstop Wade Kirkland. Lara then reached 3rd base on a wild pitch. Sound familiar? With 1 out, Loons shortstop Bryant Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly ball to right field, scoring Lara.
Burlington 2nd baseman, Nino Leyja opened the top half of the 4th inning with a double to the gap. Tony Thompson followed Leyja with a broken bat single to shallow center field. The “shallow field” broken bat single held Leyja at 2nd base. Left fielder, Douglas Landaeta then singled to load the bases. Loons starting pitcher, Bret Montgomery was in a bit of a jam, but he dug in and struck out the next 2 batters. Unfortunately, the 3rd strike to his 2nd “strikeout victim,” was a wild pitch that allowed Leyja to now score from 3rd base. With 2 outs, Wade Kirkland drilled a single to right field. Tony Thompson came in to score easily from 3rd on the Kirkland hit, with Landaeta following close behind him. As Landaeta rounded 3rd base, Loons right fielder, Jon Garcia threw a “BB” to home, gunning down Landaeta at the plate for the 3rd out of the inning. Garcia’s “rocket arm” limited the Bee’s lead to 3-1, and would prove to be one of the keys to the Loons victory, in more ways than one.
The top half of the 6th inning was looking like a repeat of the 4th, when Burlington’s Tony Thompson walked to start the inning. The Bee’s Doug Landaeta then singled on a ball that was ruled a hit, but could’ve easily been ruled an error. Loons 3rd baseman, Christian Lara compensated for the “short hop” on Landaeta’s hard hit ground ball. Instead of the (anticipated) “short hop,” the ball stayed down and went “5-hole” through Lara’s legs, “Bill Buckner style!” With runners on 1st and 2nd, Burlington 1st baseman Josh Whitaker ripped a 1 out single to right field. Respecting Garcia’s arm in right field, Burlington’s 3rd base coach held Thompson up at 3rd base. The decision to hold Thompson at 3rd proved costly, when A.J. Kirby-Jones hit a grounder to 3rd base for the 5-2 “fielder’s choice” force out at home plate. Bee’s shortstop, Wade Kirkland then grounded to short for the 3rd out of the inning, stranding all 3 Burlington runners.
Great Lakes catcher, Mike Pericht has been the most consistent hitter on the Loons roster as of late. Wednesday, he tied the game in the bottom of the 9th with a base hit RBI. Pericht would not disappoint, as he came through with some late inning heroics again on Thursday. With 1 out in the bottom of the 8th inning, and his team trailing 3-1, Pericht launched a solo home run over the left field wall. Pericht’s “dinger” traveled 395 feet, landing on the thin patch of grass near the left field seats, due east of the outfield flag poles. The Loons would head into the bottom of the 9th trailing by 1 run.
Casio Grider singled to lead off the bottom half of the 9th inning. Grider advanced to 2nd base when Joc Pederson laid down an absolute perfect bunt. A wild pitch by Bee’s closer, Daniel Tenholder moved Grider over to 3rd base. Chris Jacobs walked, prompting Loons “skipper,” John Shoemaker to insert Preston Mattingly as a pinch runner. Mattingly is the son of former major leaguer, and current Dodger manager, Don Mattingly. The stage was set for Loons DH, Bobby Coyle. Coyle stared down Burlington closer, Daniel Tenholder and hit a “walk off triple” to the deepest part of the right center field gap, scoring both Grider and Mattingly. “I was just trying to do what I needed to do to get the hit,” a ‘shaving cream covered’ Coyle said. “I was just in the moment, trying to see the pitch then react, and stay away from hitting into a double play.”
Three Loons pitchers, Bret Montgomery, Mike Drowne, and Loons newcomer, Ryan Ascot combined to give up 12 hits, 3 runs (2 earned runs), and 2 walks, while striking out 5 Burlington batters. Ascot (1-0, 0.00 ERA) was awarded the win.
Burlington’s Tyler Vail went 5 and 2/3rd’s innings, only giving up 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, while striking out 6. Drew Tyson gave up 1 hit, 1 run, and 1 walk, striking out 1 batter through 1 and 2/3rd’s innings of work. Jeff Erlaub pitched 2/3rd’s of an inning while closer Daniel Tenholder was charged with the blown save. Tenholder was also charged with the loss for the Burlington Bee’s. Tenholder pitched 1 inning, giving up 2 hits, 2 runs, and a walk, with no strikeouts.
The Loons begin another 3 game series at home, as Peoria comes to Dow Diamond Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday and Saturday’s games are set to start at 7:05 p.m., while Sunday’s game is set to begin at 2:05 p.m. We definitely hope to see you down at “The Dow,” Dow Diamond that is….