The Saginaw Sugar Beets (24-16-1) completed the 2018 Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League regular season with a 9-5 road victory over the St. Clair (Windsor, ON) Green Giants (26-16-0) at Lacasse Field in Tecumseh, ON tonight.
Despite Sunday's win, the Sugar Beets finished behind the Green Giants in the standings, but clinched the third and final playoff spot, while St. Clair automatically advances to the Northern Division Championship Series as the No. 1 seed behind the second place Lima Locos (26-16-0) who lost the tie-breaker after the Green Giants finished with a better head-to-head regular season record.
Just six teams makeup the entire GLSCL playoff structure, with the top three seeds from each division (3 from the northern division, 3 from the southern division) qualifying for the post-season. The top seed from each division automatically advances to the (best of 3-games) divisional championship series; while the No. 2 seed from each division host's a (one and done) 'play in game' against the respective No. 3 seed from each division.
The Locos will now host the Sugar Beets in a (win-or-go-home) 'play-in game' at Simmons Field in Lima, OH at 7 pm on Tuesday night with the winner advancing to the (best-of-three) Northern Division Championship Series.
Saginaw jumped out to an early lead when Beets first baseman Noah Marcoux (Davenport University) led off the game with a solo home run, his seventh of the season, for a 1-0 Sugar Beets lead in the top half of the first inning, however, St. Clair would answer with 2-runs, taking a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning, before the Sugar Beets responded with 2-more runs in the top of the fourth when catcher Matthew Houle (Davenport University) and RF Sean Fannon (Lawrence Tech) each scored following respective bases-loaded walks to Beets third baseman Daniel Page (Hofstra University) and Marcoux for a 3-2 Saginaw lead midway through the fourth inning.
The Green Giants managed to tie the game in the sixth when outfielder Miguel Cienfuegos (Northwest Florida State College) scored following a bases-loaded walk to St. Clair second baseman William Kleffner (Ohio State University) which tied the game at 3-runs apiece in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Saginaw kicked off a big rally in the seventh when pinch-hitter Max Trucks (Alma College) singled to lead off the inning, while shortstop Cooper Marshall (Western Michigan University) followed with a walk, putting runners at first and second with nobody out, before Saginaw's Adam Proctor (Michigan State University) crushed a 3-run bomb, his fourth HR of the season, to give the Sugar Beets a 6-3 lead in the top of the seventh inning.
St. Clair bounced back with 2-runs, cutting the Beets' lead to one run (6-5) in the bottom of the eighth, but the Sugar Beets would put the game out of reach in the ninth when Saginaw DH Brady Wood (Adrian College) drove in CF Ryan Missal (Western Michigan University) with an RBI-double, before Wood and Fannon would eventually cross home plate after Sugar Beets outfielder Connor Charping (Western Michigan University) reached on a fielders choice for a 9-5 Saginaw lead midway through the ninth.
Saginaw starting right-hand pitcher Jack Tagget (Kalamazoo College) allowed just 3-walks, with 1-strikeout through 2-innings in a quality start for the Sugar Beets, while lefty reliever Kyler Seeman (University of Northwestern Ohio) picked up his first win of the season after giving up just 1-run on 4-walks, with 1-strikeout through 1-inning of relief for the Beets.
The red-hot hitting Proctor (who has 2-HR's with 8-RBI's in his last three games) finished 1 for 3 with 3-RBI's to lead the Saginaw offense, while Wood was 2 for 4 with 1-RBI, 1-run scored, and 1-walk, followed by Trucks, who was 2 for 2 with 1-run scored, and Marcoux, who finished 1 for 2 with 2-RBI's and 1-walk, including his team-leading seventh home run (which ties him, along with Cooper Marshall, for second in the GLSCL HR race) of the season.
The Sugar Beets will now shift focus to the post-season, where they will need to beat the Lima Locos Tuesday night in order to advance and set up a meeting with the Green Giants in the GLSCL Northern Division Championship Series.