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Wild Six-Run Ninth Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive

Andy Pages hits historic 30th home run, Loons trail Kernels by a game with six to play
September 12, 2021

COMSTOCK PARK, MI – In one of the wildest games of the season, the Great Lakes Loons (62-52) found another way to amaze with a six-run ninth inning on Sunday, completing the comeback against the West Michigan Whitecaps (56-58), 10-7. Homering earlier in the sixth inning, Andy Pages hit his

COMSTOCK PARK, MI – In one of the wildest games of the season, the Great Lakes Loons (62-52) found another way to amaze with a six-run ninth inning on Sunday, completing the comeback against the West Michigan Whitecaps (56-58), 10-7. Homering earlier in the sixth inning, Andy Pages hit his second of the game with two outs in the ninth to give the Loons an 8-7 lead.

Pages, 20, is the only player amongst all minor-leaguers to eclipse 30 home runs in 2021 with one club, sitting tied for fifth for the most HRs this year overall. Pages is tied with teammate Brandon Lewis, who has slugged 20 with Great Lakes after hitting 10 in Low-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Sunday’s regulation game needed a franchise record-tying four hours and four minutes, needing a franchise record-tying seven GL pitchers. The Loons surrendered 12 walks to set a new season-high, but held the Whitecaps to finish 4-for-18 with runners in scoring position. The ‘Caps left 16 runners aboard.

Great Lakes answered a 1-0 deficit with two runs in the fifth inning and reached the scoreboard on a double from Leonel Valera, his first of two hits of the game. The Loons extended their lead with the first Pages HR in the sixth but got an ensuing two-run sixth from West Michigan to re-tie Sunday’s series finale.

Following the second hit from Valera, Ryan Ward smoked his 20th double of the season off the center field wall to help give the Loons a 4-3 lead. West Michigan responded by putting their first two men aboard in the bottom of the eighth for Gage Workman, who seemingly provided Sunday’s game with the biggest blow to put West Michigan in front, 7-4, with three outs left.

The six-run rally began with Jonny DeLuca popping out on three pitches from Sandel De La Cruz (L, 1-3). January hit his tenth HR in the next at-bat, still leaving the Loons with two runs to account for. Deacon Liput continued to heat up the offense with a double, bringing the game’s tying run to the plate with one out.

De La Cruz responded with a strikeout on Valera and threatened the Loons’ rally, along with their post-season chances. Ward walked to put two on with two out in the ninth, a moment that called on Pages one more time. De La Cruz hung an off-speed pitch on the first offer to Pages, who left no doubt if it would clear the left-field wall.

Not quite finished, Great Lakes increased the intensity with a Jorbit Vivas walk and single from Eddys Leonard. As the ninth batter of the inning, Zac Ching was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs, recalling DeLuca to the plate for the second time in the inning. DeLuca also went first-pitch hunting, driving a single into left to score two and insuring the Loons lead.

Needing three more outs to complete the Sunday stunner, Braidyn Fink (W, 2-4) recorded two outs on three pitches before allowing a two-out single from Jake Holton, who reached base safely in six trips to the plate. Sunday’s game still had more theatrics, as Gage Workman popped up to the Loons infield in the next at-bat, which fell out of the glove of Zac Ching and brought the tying run to the plate. After a 3-1 start to the count, Fink picked up back-to-back strikes to mail in the win.

A Sunday win felt essential to keep playoff hopes alive for Great Lakes, entering the day two games out of the final playoff spot. Along with a Sunday Cedar Rapids loss, Great Lakes will begin a six-game series at Dow Diamond against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Tuesday, as they eye an opportunity to clinch the final playoff spot in the High-A Central.

Quad Cities (73-39) previously clinched one of two allotted spots earlier this week, and awaits to find out who their opponent will be in a one-series, best-of-five postgame format.

First pitch against Wisconsin Tuesday night is set for 7:05 P.M. EDT, with gates opening an hour before first pitch. Coverage begins with the Loons On-Deck Circle, Built by Three Rivers, at 6:35 P.M. EDT. Tickets, along with a full look at the upcoming promotional schedule 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.