Clinton, IA - Despite a ninth-inning rally to force extra innings, the Clinton LumberKings still found themselves on the wrong end of a 9-6 score. Beloit scored four times in the top of the tenth inning to take a 1-0 advantage in the opening round of the Midwest League Playoffs.
The lineups started slowly before the LumberKings opened the scoring with a bang. Tyler Marlette launched a solo home run off the scoreboard in left-center for a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning.
Clinton added another in the fifth inning, but the LumberKings missed an opportunity for more damage. After a walk and a single, Clinton had runs on first and second with no outs. Poor execution doomed the rally as Martin Peguero failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt, instead reaching on a fielder's choice as the lead runner was thrown out at third. Zach Shank was then picked off trying to steal third. Janelfry Zorrilla delivered a two-out RBI single, but that was all the LumberKings managed in the frame.
One swing of the bat made it a brand new ballgame in the seventh inning. First, Chris Bostick lined the first pitch of the seventh inning into left field. After the single, Renato Nunez smashed the next pitch for a game-tying home run. Beloit erased a 2-0 deficit in the span of moments.
Victor Sanchez worked valiantly into the ninth inning, but he could not hold onto the lead. Another long ball gave Beloit a 3-2 lead as Bostick delivered the go-ahead home run. After Sanchez departed, George Mieses surrendered another home run, a two-run shot by Nick Rickles.
With Beloit leading 5-2, Clinton rallied in the ninth inning with the help of several Beloit miscues to force extra innings. Singles by Gaby Guerrero and Marcus Littlewood sparked the comeback. Guerrero eventually scored on a fielder's choice by Martin Peguero.
After a double by Brock Hebert, the LumberKings had runners on second and third with two outs, trailing 5-3. A wild pitch on ball four to Janelfry Zorrilla brought home Peguero, and moved the tying run to third base. Dario Pizzano bounced a grounder to second, but Bostick mishandled it. Hebert scored on the error with two outs in the ninth to tie the game 5-5.
Clinton failed to deliver the game-winner, giving Beloit a chance in the tenth. The Snappers capitalized with four runs, with Bostick playing the hero with a bases-loaded three-run double. Marcus Littlewood hit a solo blast in the bottom of the tenth, but it was not enough for another comeback for the LumberKings.
Austin House earned the win for Beloit, after the reliever suffered a blown save in the ninth. George Mieses took the loss for Clinton, putting the first three runners aboard in the tenth inning before Bostick's bases-clearing double. Sanchez settled for a no-decision despite pitching 8 1/3 strong innings for Clinton.
Clinton travels to Beloit needing to win to stay alive in the playoffs. The LumberKings must win both games in Beloit to advance, while the Snappers will move to the next round with one more victory. Clinton turns to right-hander Dylan Unsworth (4-1, 2.32) against Beloit right-hander Dylan Covey (1-1, 4.75). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM CT at Pohlman Field.