MIDLAND, Mich. -- The longer we watch this Great Lakes Loons team, the more it feels like 2010 all over again. The latest in a string of great performances over the last two months came on Saturday night when the Loons took down the South Bend Cubs 8-3 in front of a crowd of nearly 4,000 at Dow Diamond.
Loons fans might remember that 2010 team that won 90 games in the regular season, the best record in all of Minor League Baseball and the only team to win 90 games in the minors that year. They came within one game of going to the Midwest League Championship series. This year's group, sitting at 38-21 entering play on Sunday, is off to as good a start as you can hope for.
The best first half in Loons franchise history came in '10 when they finished with a 43-26 record (62.3%). The Loons' current win percentage is 64.4%. All this year's team needs to do is finish the current half with a 4-4 record to finish with the highest first half win percentage in franchise history. The highest win percentage for any half is within reach, but the Loons would need to finish the half with a 7-1 record.
Stephen Kolek (W, 4-3) started the murmurs throughout the ballpark when he didn't allow a hit through the first four innings for the Loons. He ended up tossing 6.2 innings and left to a standing ovation from the crowd. Guillermo Zuniga (H, 2) retired all four batters he face before Brett de Geus came on the close the door.
Apart from the five wild pitches, the Loons offense also drew seven walks and clobbered 11 hits to keep the bases jam-packed seemingly all night long. The big inning was the bottom of the 4th when Great Lakes sent eight batters to the plate, highlighted by a two-run triple into the right-field gap off the bat of James Outman.
Multi-hit nights were provided by the top three hitters in the lineup: Miguel Vargas, Hunter Feduccia and Jacob Amaya, while Central Michigan product Dan Robinson continued his solid campaign with a perfect 3-for-3 night.
The Loons' magic number to clinch a playoff berth is down to just '5' (Bowling Green, Lake County). It would be the Loons' 8th playoff appearance in the team's 13-year history, but only the 3rd time clinching in the first half (2010, 2015).
Dan Robinson: 3-for-3, 2 RBI
James Outman: 1-for-4, 3B, 3 RBI
Miguel Varags, Hunter Feduccia, Jacob Amaya: 2-hit nights
Stephen Kolek: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 SO… carried no-hitter into 5th
Sunday: Lou E's Kids Club Takeover feat. Mascot Madness; Pregame Youth Clinic
Monday: Military Monday; all active duty military and veterans eat for free
June 14: PRIDE Night; postgame concert by 'Valentiger'
June 15: Home Improvement Night feat. appearance by Richard Karn (Al Borland)
June 16: Prostate Cancer Awareness Day feat. postgame Father's Day catch on the field
June 17: Midwest League All-Star Game (South Bend, Ind.)
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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.