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Nuts end skid with 12-8 stunner  

(MQH Photo Video)
August 17, 2020

LANSING, Mich. – With three innings left, the Lemonade League’s Lugnuts were trailing the Locos 8-2, appearing on the verge of losing their eighth straight game. Not so fast. The Lugnuts scored ten straight runs, including eight on only one hit in the sixth inning, and beat the Locos, 12-8,

LANSING, Mich. – With three innings left, the Lemonade League’s Lugnuts were trailing the Locos 8-2, appearing on the verge of losing their eighth straight game.

Not so fast.

The Lugnuts scored ten straight runs, including eight on only one hit in the sixth inning, and beat the Locos, 12-8, on Monday evening at Cooley Law School Stadium.

In the process, the Nuts improved their record to 7-10 against the Locos with three games remaining in the Lemonade League schedule.

The Locos offense clicked early, scoring a run in the first and three in the second inning against Lugnuts starter Benjamin Riffe (Lansing CC), including a Brock Henley (Davenport) two-run single.

After the Lugnuts carved the lead to 4-2 with two runs in the third, the Locos seemingly blew the game open with four runs against reliever Elliott Patten (Lansing CC) in the fourth inning, thanks in part to RBI singles from Michael Stygles (Oakland) and Ben Compton (Olivet).

But Colin Cornwell’s (Saginaw Valley State) two-run single in the fifth off Locos starter Jesse Heikkinen (Michigan State) drew the Nuts within 8-4. And when Heikkinen departed after the fifth inning, the lead fully caved in for the Locos.

New reliever Brendan Bilkovic (Wayne State) opened the sixth inning by walking the bases loaded, hitting Logan Welch (SVSU) with a pitch to force in a run, and then walking Mark Connelly (Lansing CC) to force in another run, bringing the Nuts within 8-6.

Ryan Abenth (Concordia) entered for Bilkovic, but walked Gabe Sotres (Michigan State) to force in another run, narrowing the lead to 8-7. Cornwell then sent a hard grounder to short, where it was mishandled by Brandon Scheurer (SVSU) as Welch scored to tie the game. Andrew Morrow (Michigan State) followed with a groundout to Scheurer, with Connelly scoring for a 9-8 Lugnuts lead. That brought up Zaid Walker (Michigan State), who lined a two-run double to right-center, taking third on a fielding error by center fielder Adam Purdy (Concordia). A wild pitch later, and the damage was complete. Walker dashed home with the Lugnuts’ eighth run of the inning and 12th run of the game.

The Locos’ offense, meanwhile, was blanked in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings by the debuting George Ferguson (Lansing CC), who struck out three batters and allowed two hits.

They managed only one further rally, with Adam Proctor (Michigan State) reaching on a one-out HBP in the bottom of the seventh and Matthew Williams (Albion) doubling pinch-runner Sean Haddlesey (Albion) to third base. But Ferguson struck out Cal Johnston (Lansing CC) and retired Henley on a flyout to left to end the game.

In the winning cause, the Lugnuts were led by Connelly (2-for-4, three runs, single, double, RBI, walk and stolen base), Welch (2-for-3, two runs, two singles, HBP, RBI) and Cornwell (2-for-3, two runs, two singles, walk, four RBIs).

In defeat, Matthew Williams went 3-for-4 with two singles, a double and a run scored.

The game was played before a capacity crowd of 100 at Cooley Law School Stadium – a 17th straight sellout. (The stadium capacity is limited to 100 fans by health directive of Ingham County.)

The Lemonade League’s next game is on Thursday at 7 p.m., with the Cedar Street gate opening to fans at 6 p.m. Masks are mandatory for admission.

The Lemonade League is a college wood-bat league featuring Minor League Baseball umpires, yellow baseballs, seven-inning games, and extra innings replaced by a one-on-one Home Run Derby. Every Lemonade League game is livestreamed FREE across multiple social and digital platforms, including the Lansing Lugnuts’ Facebook and YouTube pages.

For more information, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.

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