The Great Lakes Loons hosted the top team in the Midwest League on Wednesday night at Dow Diamond. After losing 1-0 in the 10th inning on Tuesday night, and with only 1 win in their last 10 games, the Loons were in desperate need of a win on Wednesday evening.
The Loons would ultimately get that win in a dramatic, come from behind effort. Four different Pitchers teamed up to give the struggling team a much needed victory. Not to mention, the comfort and security of knowing that their losing ways may possibly be behind them. “It’s a great win for us,” said Loons Manager John Shoemaker. “Sometimes you just need a win like this.” “A win like this can turn things around for the whole season.”
Gustavo Gomez got the start for the Loons on Wednesday night. Gomez retired the first 2 batters, before giving up 3 consecutive singles to Tony Thompson, Josh Whitaker, and Douglas Landaeta respectively. Thompson scored on Landaeta’s RBI single. Gomez finally struck out Yordy Cabrera to end the top half of the 1st inning.
After his shaky 1st inning, it seemed as if Gomez had settled in and was well on his way to a great night. Gomez struck out the first two batters of the 2nd inning. He then had Burlington catcher, John Nester on the ropes with a 2-2 count. Gomez seemed poised to strike out the side in the 2nd inning, when the un-thinkable happened. His next pitch was a called ball, which made the count “full” at 3 balls and 2 strikes, but something seemed terribly wrong. As he followed through with that particular pitch, Gomez fell to the ground (in front of the “Pitching rubber” at Dow Diamond) while holding what appeared to be his pitching shoulder. As Gomez rolled around in obvious pain, it was quite clear that he would be done for the game, and likely, quite a bit longer.
Raul Burgos came in and threw the 3rd strike to Hester, teaming up with Gomez to strike out the side in the top half of the 2nd inning. The pair gave up 6 hits, 2 runs, and 2 walks, while striking out 4 batters through 5 combined innings. Gomez gave up 3 hits, 1 run, no walks, with 4 strike outs through 1 and 2/3rd’s innings, while Burgos gave up 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, and 1 strike out through 3 and 1/3rd innings of work.
Andrew Pevsner and Pete Budkevics combined to pitch the next four innings for the Loons. Pevsner pitched the 6th and 7th innings, allowing only 1 hit, no runs, 1 walk, while striking out 3 Burlington batters. Budkevics pitched the 8th and 9th innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, while striking out 3 batters. Ultimately, the four Loons pitchers combined to give up 10 hits, 4 runs, 6 walks, and 11 strikeouts.
Jonathan Joseph was the starter for the Burlington Bee’s. Joseph gave up 4 hits, 3 runs (2 earned runs), and 4 walks, while striking out 2 Loons batters through 5 innings of work. Pedro Vidal replaced Joseph in the 6th inning. Vidal was virtually untouchable as he gave up no hits, no runs, no walks, while striking out 2 batters through 3 innings of work. Great Lakes shortstop, Christian Lara would prove to be Vidal’s only base runner. He reached 1st base on an error in the 6th inning. Lara hit a 2 out, routine grounder to the right side that Burlington 2nd baseman, Nino Leyja had trouble controlling. Lara was ultimately thrown out to end the inning when he was caught trying to steal 2nd base. Zach Thornton finished the game for the Bee’s, giving up 3 hits, 2 runs, no walks, and no strike outs in the 9th inning. The 3 Burlington pitchers combined to give up a total of 7 hits, 5 runs, 5 walks, and 4 strike outs.
The Loons got their bats going in the bottom of the 4th inning when slugger Jon Garcia drilled a liner off of the right field wall for a 1 out double. Christian Lara followed Garcia with a hit of his own, reaching 2nd base on an error. What followed was a crazy sequence of events that put 3 runs on the board for the Great Lakes Loons. With Garcia on 3rd, and Lara on 2nd, a wild pitch by Burlington Bee’s pitcher Jonathan Joseph, scored Garcia. During the very same play, after Burlington Catcher John Hester ran down the wild pitch all the way to the “backstop,” he tried to throw Garcia out at home plate as pitcher, Jonathan Joseph covered home. Hester committed a throwing error on his toss back to Joseph. Hester made a good throw, but the ball hit Garcia directly on top of his helmet as he slid home. The ball THEN bounced off of Garcia’s helmet and ricocheted over to a spot near the Burlington dugout, this time scoring Lara. With the bases cleared, Loons catcher Mike Pericht ripped a double to left field. Pericht eventually reached 3rd base on a passed ball, then scored from 3rd on yet another wild pitch by Joseph. The Loons came away from the bottom half of the 4th inning with a 3-1 lead.
Burlington would get to within 1 run of the Loons in the top half of the 5th inning. Bee’s speedy center fielder, Jose Rivero hit a 1 out single, and scored from 1st base when John Nester singled during the following at bat. The score would remain 3-2 in favor of the Great Lakes Loons until the top half of the 8th inning.
Loons Pitcher, Pete Budkevics hit a batter and walked a batter to start the 8th inning. Yorgi Cabrera’s 2 RBI double, gave the Burlington Bee’s a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom half of the 8th inning.
The Loons failed to score in the bottom of the 8th, but got a big rally going in the bottom of the 9th inning. Blake Dean popped out to center field to start the bottom of the 9th inning. Loons slugger, Jon Garcia, followed with a 1 out single. Coach Shoemaker quickly inserted the Speedy Casio Grider as a pinch runner for Garcia. Christian Lara gave the Loons some hope when he was walked, putting runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. With the outfield playing way back, Loons catcher, Mike Pericht went to the opposite field with a single that scored the speedster Grider from 2nd base, knotting the game at 4 runs apiece. “I saw that the outfield was back, and they had a big shift on the right side,” said Pericht. “I saw the opening, so I just tried to place the ball to the right side, it worked out great and Casio was able to score.”
Pericht’s RBI set the stage for Jesse Bosnik’s heroics. With 1 out in the bottom of the 9th inning, and the game now tied, Bosnik ripped a line shot, “walk off” single to center field, bringing Christian Lara home to score the game winning run. “We’ve been struggling lately,” said Bosnik. “It was really great to get this win as a team.” “We battled back in the 9th inning, and we did what it took to win the game.”
Pete Budkevics got the win for the Loons, improving his record to 2-3 for the season. Zach Thornton was charged with the loss for the Bee’s as his record fell to 2-2.
The Loons will try to take 2 out of 3 against the best team in the Midwest League tomorrow (Thursday night) as they play the 3rd and final game of this 3 game series. Tyler Vail (0-2, 5.54 ERA) will be on the hill for Burlington, while the Loons will send out Bret Montgomery (0-1, 5.06 ERA). The first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. We hope to see you tomorrow down at “The Dow,” Dow Diamond that is….