MIDLAND, MI – In a must-win situation, the Great Lakes Loons (63-56) fell to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (58-60) in ten innings Saturday night at Dow Diamond, 8-6. Despite outhitting the Rattlers nine to seven, the Loons dropped their fourth game of the week to allow Wisconsin to take the
MIDLAND, MI – In a must-win situation, the Great Lakes Loons (63-56) fell to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (58-60) in ten innings Saturday night at Dow Diamond, 8-6. Despite outhitting the Rattlers nine to seven, the Loons dropped their fourth game of the week to allow Wisconsin to take the final series of the season.
Entering Saturday, the Loons trailed the Cedar Rapids Kernels by two games out of the final spot in the postseason picture with two games to play. Along with hoping for a Loons win, Great Lakes needed the Kernels to fall at Dozer Park to Peoria to keep their postseason hopes alive. Cedar Rapids defeated the Chiefs, 6-3, shutting the Loons postseason window.
Los Angeles Dodgers 2021 6th rounder Emmet Sheehan made his High-A debut Saturday night, striking out his first three batters faced. Exiting with two outs in the second, Sheehan surrendered three walks to load the bases and departed with four strikeouts and no hits allowed. Sheehan joins fellow 2021 draftees Michael Hobbs, Lael Lockhart, and Antonio Knowles as the fourth member of this year’s Dodgers draft class to reach the High-A level.
Zac Ching led the Loons offense with three runs driven in with a 2-for-5 night, recording his 13th double of the season in the bottom of fourth to score two runs and pull within a run from Wisconsin. The Rattlers began the scoring with a four-run frame in the second.
Following an early 4-0 deficit, Great Lakes limited Wisconsin to one run through the next seven innings, steadily chipping away to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth from a leadoff triple from Leonel Valera. With two aboard in the tenth, Chad McClanahan hit his eight HR of the year to push Wisconsin in front for good.
Following Sheehan’s start, Great Lakes used four consecutive left-handers in relief, beginning with Braidyn Fink who inherited the bases loaded in the second inning. Wisconsin tagged Fink for two two-run doubles to take the early 4-0 lead.
After a scoreless third from Fink, Lael Lockhart contributed two scoreless innings, striking out four batters on 28 pitches. Jeff Belge followed Lockhart’s act by allowing a run in two innings, striking out three batters and walking one. Jose Hernandez tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, striking out and walking a batter.
Michael Hobbs (L, 1-1) allowed three runs in the tenth on the McClanahan home run, striking out two batters and walking one in the Loons loss.
Rattlers’ southpaw Nick Bennett struck out seven batters in his quality five-inning start, surrendering three runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Kent Hasler relieved Bennett for an inning, striking out two batters and allowing an unearned run. Nash Walters was pulled after 1 2/3 innings, striking out three batters and walking two.
Walters put two in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but ended his night with a strikeout for Evan Reifert (W, 1-2). Wisconsin needed 2 1/3 innings from Reifert, who finished with five strikeouts and one earned run, to deliver the Saturday decision.
The Loons left nine men on-base in the Saturday loss, finishing 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position. Wisconsin also left nine aboard, ending 4-for-12 with runners at second and third.
Great Lakes concludes their 2021 season on Sunday at Dow Diamond with a 1:05 P.M. EDT start time, concluding their final series of the season against Wisconsin. Right-hander Hyun-il Choi takes the mound for the final start of the season, his ninth since joining Great Lakes at the beginning of August. Wisconsin sends TJ Shook to the mound for his fifth start with the High-A Rattlers, as he’s struck out 21 batters in 16 innings in four previous starts.
The final broadcast of the season begins with a 12:35 P.M. EDT Loons On-Deck Circle, Built by Three Rivers on ESPN 100.9 FM, your home for Great Lakes Loons baseball.
The Great Lakes Loons have been the 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 Loons.com.