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Late Loons Rally Falls Short in Peoria Series Finale

For second straight day, Chiefs get walk-off with no hits in final inning
April 17, 2022

Entering the top of the eighth inning Sunday afternoon at Dozer Park in Peoria, Ill., the Great Lakes Loons had been held scoreless and had mustered just four hits, all singles. In the eighth, the rally began. The Loons scored five runs on five hits in the frame, including three

Entering the top of the eighth inning Sunday afternoon at Dozer Park in Peoria, Ill., the Great Lakes Loons had been held scoreless and had mustered just four hits, all singles.

In the eighth, the rally began. The Loons scored five runs on five hits in the frame, including three for extra bases, and took the lead for the first time.

After the Chiefs came back in the bottom half to take the lead, so too did Great Lakes, tying the game at six in the ninth inning. But Peoria had the final say, earning its third walk-off win of the six-game series, 7-6.

The eighth inning began with a walk to Jonny Deluca, then Jorbit Vivas followed it up with a single. Those two moved up to scoring position on a balk from Peoria right-hander Nick Trogrlic-Iverson. That set the table for a two-run single by Ismael Alcantara, which tied the game at two.

The Loons (2-7) didn’t stop there. Eddys Leonard doubled to put two men in scoring position with no outs again, and Trogrlic-Iverson made way for righty reliever Ryan Loutos (W, 1-1). His first pitch to Leonel Valera was wide, scoring Alcantara and giving Great Lakes its first lead of the day, 3-2. Valera then smacked a triple off the wall in left field, and was batted in by a Zac Ching sacrifice fly. Five runs for the Loons in the eighth inning to take a 5-2 lead.

Come the bottom of the frame, though, the Loons couldn’t hang onto the lead. The Chiefs got it done mostly on small ball, plating four runs in the eighth on four hits, all singles. The blow which put Peoria back in front, 6-5, came off the bat of Matt Chamberlain, a two-run hit. All runs in the inning were charged to Great Lakes righty Michael Hobbs, who began the frame but only recorded one out. Antonio Knowles (L, 0-2) came in to relieve Hobbs and surrendered the hit to Chamberlain before recording the final two outs of the inning.

Peoria (6-3) has shown resilience throughout the series, coming from behind in each of their four wins this week. The Loons showed admirable tenacity today as well. In the ninth inning, freshly surrendering the lead, Great Lakes did not go quietly, thanks to a solo home run from DeLuca, his fifth longball of the year. Those five big flies have DeLuca tied atop the Midwest League in the home run category. After that one-out blast, Loutos retired the next two loons to give the Chiefs a chance to win it in the bottom half.

And the Chiefs had enough in the tank to win their fifth straight game. After Knowles recorded two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Mike Antico reached second base on consecutive errors from Ching and Knowles. Masyn Winn, who had two hits and two runs in today’s contest, got on base via another Knowles error, which plated Antico and won the game for the home side. The Loons, who had committed just six errors total in the first eight games of the season, committed six in this game alone, including three costly ones in the bottom of the ninth.

The Loons and Chiefs combined to score 11 runs in the final two innings, and just two runs in the first seven. Peoria struck first for the first time in the series, when Winn scored on a Jacob Buchberger ground ball fielder’s choice in the third inning. That was the lone run allowed by Loons righty starter Gavin Stone, who racked up five strikeouts and did not walk a batter in his three innings of work. The run itself was unearned, as Winn advanced to third due to an error earlier in the frame.

Peoria, the St. Louis Cardinals affiliate, got its second run in the fifth inning on three singles against lefty reliever Julian Smith, who walked a pair and surrendered four hits in 1 2-3 innings, while striking out three.

Great Lakes, partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, got some terrific relief work from southpaw Jose Hernandez, who walked two but did not allow a hit or a run in his two innings of work, while striking out three.

Peoria’s pitchers, meanwhile, kept the Loons off the board in the first seven innings of play. Austin Love, the Chiefs right-handed starter, tossed an excellent five innings, allowing just two hits and three walks while punching out 10 Loons. Michael YaSenka followed that up with two scoreless innings of two-hit ball. Love exited the game in line for the win, but the late-game action made him a non-factor in the decision.

The Loons now return home for a six-game series against Lake County (4-5), Cleveland’s High-A affiliate, beginning Tuesday night at Dow Diamond in Midland, Mich. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m., with the year’s first Hometown Heroes night at Dow Diamond: active duty military, veterans, first responders, and healthcare workers receive a free hot dog meal at the game. Tickets are still available at Radio coverage begins at 5:50 p.m. with the Loons On-Deck Circle, driven by Garber Chevrolet Midland.

The Great Lakes Loons have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team’s home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit