The Great Lakes Loons' offensive juggernaut steamrolled the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) 12-3 at Dow Diamond tonight.
Eight of the nine Great Lakes batters had at least one hit for a combined total of 16 team hits tonight. Seven batters had multiple hits, and eight different Loons also scored runs tonight.
Great Lakes -whose overall record is (46-63) and (17-22) in the second half of the Midwest League season- remain 1.5 games behind the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) for the final eastern division playoff spot. The top two teams in each of the two divisions -at the end of each half- earn spots in the post season, consisting of 8 teams (four from each half).
Second Inning: 3-0 Loons
Back to back one out singles by DH Erick Meza and Catcher Garrett Hope set the table for outfielder Darien Tubbs who ripped his second rbi double in as many nights.
Meza would score on the Tubbs double and Hope scored on a sac rbi grounder by Loons center fielder Saige Jenco. Tubbs, who was held at second on the Jenco sacrifice, stole third on the next pitch, then scored on a wild pitch by Lake County starter Trevor Foss for an early 3-0 Great Lakes lead.
Third Inning: 5-1 Loons
Great Lakes left fielder Luke Raley led off with a double and advanced to third base on a sac bunt by recently promoted first baseman Ibandel Isabel.
Raley scored when Dodgers 2015 5th round draft pick Brendon Davis -who turned 19 years old a week ago tonight- took Foss deep with a 346-foot 2 run home run (5) over the left field wall at Dow Diamond for a 5-1 Loons lead.
Davis has been the catalyst of this recent offensive surge over the past couple weeks. He's eyeing the post season as he and his team track down Lansing for the final eastern division playoff spot.
“We just grind everyday, trying to make the best out of this season because we still have a chance (at the playoffs),” Davis said. “So, we're just trying to grind it out and have good at bats, team at bats. When guys get on base they're gonna give us a chance to drive them in and that's what we were doing tonight.”
The Captains managed to get on the board in the top of the third inning when a sac fly by Lake County first baseman Anthony Miller drove in outfielder Bobby Ison. Tubbs threw an absolute laser that would've gotten Ison out at home, but Loons catcher could not hold onto the ball.
Fourth Inning: 6-1 Loons
Tubbs ripped his second straight double with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning. He stole third base for the second time and scored when the Lake County catcher sailed the throw to third base into left field.
Tubbs was 2 for 4 with two doubles, 2-runs scored, 2 stolen bases, and an rbi. He sees this Loons team starting to put things together as they push toward the end of the regular season.
“The past few days we went on a little skid but coach gave us a talk and we finally started to figure it out, now we're starting to bond a little bit,” Tubbs said. “I think Lake County is right behind us, so all we need is to come out and play hard and then we'll see what happens.”
Seventh Inning: 10-1 Loons
After Raley was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, Loons newcomer Isabel showed his .351 average -in the pioneer league- was no fluke when he drove a line drive single to center field for his second hit of the night.
Davis pulled -what everyone at Dow Diamond thought would be- his second home run of the night 374-feet over the left field wall.
However, after Raley and Isabel celebrated with Davis in the dugout, Lake County manager Tony Mansolino asked field umpire Jesse Gonzalez to confer with home plate umpire Ricardo Estrada to see if the ball had gone foul before traveling over the wall. Gonzalez convinced his partner that it was in fact a foul ball, much to the dismay of the 4,113 Loons fans in attendance. Davis battled through a few more pitches but struck out for the first out of the inning.
With Raley and Isabel back on first and third respectively, Loons third baseman Zach McKinstry walked to load the bases. Loons DH Erick Meza drove a deep fly ball that hit the top of the left-center field wall for a double, clearing the bases and scoring three runs. Meza moved to third base on a wild pitch then scored on an rbi single by Hope.
Meza led all Loons hitters, going 3 for 5 with a double, one run scored, and 4 rbi.
Eighth Inning: 12-3 Loons
Omar Estevez led off with a single to right field, followed by a Raley walk. Davis got some sweet revenge with an rbi single to right field, scoring Estevez. Meza rounded out the Loons' scoring with another rbi single to center field, scoring Raley.
The Loons piggy-backed the starters tonight and Mitchell White was perfect throughout the first two innings, striking out 3 Lake County batters in the process.
Dennis Santana (4-8, 2.93 ERA) earned his fourth win of the season -taking the second half of the start- allowing just 1 run on 2-hits and 2-walks, while striking out 6 batters through five impressive innings.
The Loons return to Dow Diamond tomorrow with a chance to take the rubber-match in the series against Lake County. The Captains will send the Cleveland Indian's 2015 first round draft pick Triston McKenzie out to face the Loons.
Davis and McKenzie are longtime friends from travel ball and high school. Davis will be looking to keep their friendly rivalry going when he bats against his old friend tomorrow.
“Yeah, that's my buddy,” Davis said of McKenzie. “I actually played against him in high school and travel ball. We faced each other, and he got me, he struck me out with a pretty good change up. But, I faced him last year (in the pioneer league) and I got a little pay back, so we'll see what happens.