MIDLAND, MI - The Great Lakes Loons (32-36, 66-72) started their final series of 2012 on the right foot, holding the South Bend Silver Hawks (31-37, 66-72) to one hit in the 3-0 victory before a season-high crowd of 6,052. The Loons have won eight of their last 10 games and have two more games remaining.
Combing for the Loons sixth shut out of the year was spot starter Joel Lima, alongside relievers Matt Shelton and Craig Stem. Lima delivered a quality start, fanning four Silver Hawks over six innings before Shelton racked up three strikeouts in two hitless frames. Stem picked up his fourth save with a spotless ninth.
The Hawks only hit came in the second inning, from third baseman Ryan Court, who touched Lima for a right-field single.
Despite two consecutive strikeouts with runners on the corners, the Loons managed to score their first run in the second inning on a designed double-steal.
"Normally with two outs and the double steal on, as soon as the catcher gets up and is ready to release the ball we're supposed to go," first baseman O'Koyea Dickson explained. "But I left [third] a little late, so I had no choice but to try and knock the ball out."
With Dickson bearing down, Silver Hawks catcher Roidany Aguila took his eyes off the incoming ball and never gained full control, but that did not stop Dickson from crashing into him to be sure he was called safe.
Jesus Arredondo added another Loons run in the eighth inning, driving a ball to the right-field wall for a triple that scored Darnell Sweeney from first base. Two walks loaded the bases for the Loons and a sacrifice fly from Nick Akins scored the final run.
The Great Lakes Loons will play their second-to-last game of the season Sunday at Dow Diamond. Starting for the Loons will be RHP Raydel Sanchez (3-8, 4.70) while LHP Andrew Barbosa (2-5, 4.94) gets the start for South Bend. After the 2:05 p.m. game, kids will have the opportunity to run the bases courtesy of Farm Bureau Insurance.
The Great Lakes Loons are a sixth-year Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and are in the middle of their 5th Anniversary Celebration, which kicked off in August 2011 and will continue throughout the 2012 season. For more information about the Loons, visit Loons.com or call 989-837-BALL.