Loons Run Away with Playoff Opener

Five runs in both the 5th and 6th gives Great Lakes series lead

By Matt DeVries / Great Lakes Loons | September 8, 2016 4:16 PM

MIDLAND, Mich. - You don't expect your postseason to start the way the Great Lakes Loons and Bowling Green Hot Rods had theirs begin this week. After getting three and a half innings in before the rain on Wednesday, both teams came back to Dow Diamond on Thursday to resume their suspended game in which the Loons emerged with a 15-1 victory. 

It's the most runs scored and the largest margin of victory by Great Lakes in franchise history (17 games). It's also the first win for the Loons in the postseason since 2010. The Loons now have a 1-0 series lead in the Midwest League Eastern Division Semifinals. The best-of-three series will shift to Bowling Green, Ky., for the final two games beginning on Friday.

Over the two days Gage Green and Omar Estevez paced the offense combining to go 7-for-9 and drive two runs in. Green also set himself up for a chance at the natural cycle by hitting a single in the 3rd inning, a double in the 5th and a run-scoring triple in the 6th. The Loons also had five other players with multi-hit games, including catcher Jake Henson who went 3-for-5 with three doubles and four runs batted in.

Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Yadier Alvarez initially started on the mound for the Loons and pitched all four innings scattering five hits without allowing a run. He added two strikeouts before the game was suspended at 8:15 p.m. ET.

Despite Bowling Green getting runners on base in each of the first three frames, the scoreboard remained at zeroes until the bottom of the 3rd inning when Great Lakes rallied with two outs.

Green roped a single into center field and came all the way around to score a soft fly ball from Saige Jenco that hugged the left field line. After Zach McKinstry walked to put two runners on base, a wild play that started with a single from Omar Estevez ended with both Jenco and McKinstry scoring thanks to two errors committed by Bowling Green.

Fast forward 16 hours and both teams were back on the field and the Loons did not take their foot off the gas pedal as they plated five runs a piece in both the 5th and 6th innings.

It was five runs on five hits in the 5th, highlighted by a double off the wall from Henson. It was then another two bagger from the Loons catcher that was the feature play in the next frame that propelled the Loons into the stratosphere. Matt Jones capped off the afternoon with a two-run shot to dead-center field in the 8th.

The bullpen shut down the Bowling Green offense all afternoon over the final five innings. Dean Kremer (W, 1-0) tossed the first three frames and allowed one run on three hits. Ivan Vieitez and Shea Spitzbarth each had a scoreless inning to open their postseason lines.

Headed to Bowling Green for the rest of the series, Game 2 will start at 7:35 p.m. ET on Friday. Pregame coverage with Chris Vosters will take the air at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN 100.9-FM and Loons.com.

Fans can follow along and be part of all the excitement by liking the Loons Facebook page, along with following on Twitter throughout each game and getting a full recap on Loons.com following every game.

The Great Lakes Loons, hosts of the 2017 Midwest League All-Star Game, have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team's inception in 2007 and are in their 10th season. 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.

View More