MIDLAND, Mich. - The bases were loaded with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning. Everything was in place for a dramatic end to the season, but a ground out to third base from longtime Great Lakes Loons catcher Stevie Berman ended the threat and the Loons season finished with a 10-8 defeat to the Lake County Captains on Monday afternoon.
Despite winning the first two games of the series, the Loons still needed a Labor Day win to complete the sweep and guarantee a winning record for the campaign. With the loss, Great Lakes finishes the season with a 69-70 record while welcoming 202,433 through the gates at Dow Diamond for the year.
With neither team qualifying for the Midwest League Playoffs, both knew these would be the final three games of their 2017 seasons which made for high-scoring, free-flowing baseball. In the series, the teams combined for 44 runs on 65 hits.
Seven extra-base hits came from the Loons in the finale with Cody Thomas and Moises Perez each going 3-for-4. Perez supplied some of the power with a double, triple and two runs batted in. Jeren Kendall also had a double and triple.
The Loons made their play for victory two different times. Trailing 6-3 heading into the bottom of the 6th inning they clobbered four extra-base hits in the frame to plate four runs and take a 7-6 lead. Then after Lake County had stormed back to take the lead heading into the 9th, Gavin Lux scored on Kendall's triple to make it 10-8 before the Loons loaded the bases in one last gasp.
Lake County had six different players with two hits as they racked up 14 hits in the game. Emmanuel Tapia was one of them as he went 2-for-5, including his franchise-record 29th home run of the season. Tapia also finished as the MWL home run champion.
Melvin Jimenez was perfect in his start for the Loons going three innings not allowing a baserunner and striking out four batters. Colby Nealy (L, 0-1) took the loss while Alsis Herrera (W, 6-2) and Dalbert Siri (SV, 14) rounded out the pitching decisions.
With that, the 11th season of Loons baseball comes to a close. Opening Day will take place on Thursday, April 5, 2018, against the Lansing Lugnuts at Dow Diamond.
The Great Lakes Loons are the 2016 Midwest League Champions and have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2007. Dow Diamond, home of the Loons, also houses ESPN 100.9-FM and the Michigan Baseball Foundation. For tickets and more information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.