Clinton beat Burlington 9-5 on Thursday night. The LumberKings scored three runs in the top of the first off Bees starter Keith Rogalla. They were in cruise control, scoring twice more in the fifth and four more times in the seventh.
In the middle of the seventh the Bees were staring at the wrong end of a perfect game. Clinton starter Remey Reed had not allowed a hit or walk. His defense was unmarked, and he had thrown just 76 pitches.
But, this is minor league baseball where pitch count and innings pitched are regulated strictly. In addition, the LumberKings had just clinched a playoff berth. Reed is a regular starter, who will be need in the post season.
Elkin Alcala came in to face the Bees in the bottom of the seventh. Things changed quickly. Livan Soto led off with a ground single through the right side. Perfect game, no hitter gone. Adrian Rondon followed with a shot to the wall in the left field power alley, and Soto scampered home. Shut out gone, too.
Now down 9-1, Burlington continued turning it around. After an out, Nonie Williams was hit by a pitch. Francisco Del Valle then singled to left to load the bases. A shallow single to center scored Rondon to make it 9-2. Keinner Pina singled to left. Williams and Del Valle scored. 9-4 Clinton.
Kevin Maitan's no doubter off the scoreboard in right center with two out in the eighth brought it to the final 9-5 score.
Rogalla took the loss to go to 1-2. He settled in after the first, holding the LumberKings hitless through the next three. He finished the night having given up 3 runs on 4 hits. He walked none and struck out eight.
Ethan Clark tossed 2.1 scoreless frames to close out the contest. He fanned seven, and walked one.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.