MIDLAND, MI – The 2021 season concluded for the Great Lakes Loons (63-57) on Sunday, as they fell to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (59-60) at Dow Diamond. Entering the final series of the regular season, Great Lakes found themselves out of the playoffs by a game, but dropped five of
MIDLAND, MI – The 2021 season concluded for the Great Lakes Loons (63-57) on Sunday, as they fell to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (59-60) at Dow Diamond. Entering the final series of the regular season, Great Lakes found themselves out of the playoffs by a game, but dropped five of six to Wisconsin to end their postseason hopes.
Sunday featured a bit of a bittersweet atmosphere at Dow Diamond, with a beautiful 74-and-sunny afternoon capping one of the most historic offensive campaigns the Great Lakes Loons have seen in their club’s 14 seasons. In a shortened, 120-game year, the Loons led the High-A Central as a team in home runs, total bases, at-bats, and combined OPS, and finished second in batting average, runs, and runs batted in.
In 2021, Great Lakes returned to the diamond after a 2020 hiatus due to the global effects of COVID-19, a 604-day drought of baseball at Dow Diamond that stretched to September 2019’s postseason series versus South Bend. Featuring 14 former and returning Loons, Miguel Vargas quickly stamped his mark on the season with the longest hitting streak, and still, of professional baseball at 26 games to set the franchise record.
On July 20, James Outman recorded his franchise-best 27th HR at Classic Park, surpassing Kyle Russell’s 26 from 2009. One night later, Outman went deep again against the Captains, leaving the bar at 28 career Loons long balls.
In the same series that the Loons finished with a season-high 20 home runs in Eastlake, Great Lakes spun their first no-hitter in franchise history with a 14-0 win against Lake County that featured 2020 1st rounder Bobby Miller striking out seven batters in five innings and walking one at Classic Park.
Finishing 7-10 in September to close the season, the Loons topped West Michigan on September 7 with a franchise-most 18 runs on an Andy Pages four-hit night. This came in the same series the Loons committed a season-worst 10 errors against the Whitecaps. Forcing a split, Great Lakes capped a comeback win with a six-run ninth on the second home run of the night for Pages to call ballgame on arguably the win of the season.
Andy Pages concludes what should go down as the most historic offensive campaign in Great Lakes Loons history, finishing as the league’s leader in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage, OPS, extra-base hits, total bases, and runs. With a start in Sunday’s season finale, Pages becomes the only Loon to ever play in every game of the season. In his 120 games played, the 20-year-old Pages led the league in wRC (weighted runs created) with 104, 17 more than his teammate, Ryan Ward.
The Loons ended their season with 187 home runs, obliterating their previous 2009 record of 127. Great Lakes has never had more than one 20+ HR hitters, in 2021, they had three. Brandon Lewis joined Great Lakes on June 29 after hitting 10 HRs with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga. Lewis would go on to record 20 with Great Lakes, fitting right in with Pages (31) and Ward (27).
In the Sunday loss, Hyun-il Choi (L, 0-3) finished with his second consecutive quality start and his fourth since joining the Loons roster at the beginning of August. Choi struck out three batters while also surrendering a solo blast off the bat of Zavier Warren in the top of the third, which stood as the game’s only run for the next five innings.
Cole Percival made his final appearance of the season with two scoreless innings on two hits, walking and striking out one. Andrew Shaps walked the bases loaded in the eighth but allowed none to score, ending the inning with a ground ball to second-baseman Eddys Leonard. Julian Smith surrendered the second and final run on two hits from Wisconsin.
Jorbit Vivas extended his on-base streak to 23 games with a walk and a base hit, leading the Loons offense. Great Lakes struggled, finishing 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Wisconsin’s TJ Shook struck out four batters in his four-inning start, walking one batters and giving up two hits in just his fifth appearance with the Rattlers. Milwaukee signed Shook as an undrafted free-agent in 2020 out of South Carolina, and began the year with the Carolina Mudcats. Freisis Adames (W, 5-2) threw three innings in relief, allowing no runs on just one hit and a walk.
As of Sunday, the historic 15th season of Great Lakes Loons season is 200 days away, with the 2022 schedule announced on Wednesday. The Loons feature 66 games at Dow Diamond, beginning Friday, April 8 against the Detroit Tigers’ High-A affiliate West Michigan Whitecaps. Different than 2021, next year’s schedule includes 132 games in the regular season, 12 games more than 2021’s 120-game format. New ticket package sales and reservations for groups will begin on October 4.
A full look at next season’s schedule, along with any offseason updates, can be found at Loons.com.
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.