MIDLAND, MI - The Great Lakes Loons played their final game of the 2010 season Tuesday and were ousted from the Midwest League playoffs by the Lake County Captains, who won Game 3 of the Eastern Division Championship Series (EDCS) by a score of 6-1.
The Loons struggled at the plate, leaving 11 runners in scoring position, as Lake County's pitchers scattered seven hits across nine innings. The Loons only run came in the second, on a bases-loaded wild pitch. Otherwise, starting pitcher Vidal Nuno and the four Captains relievers did not allow the Loons an inch, combining for 11 strikeouts and eight scoreless frames.
"Somebody's going to win and somebody's going to lose and they played better than us," Loons manager Juan Bustabad said after the game. "Unfortunately, everything went their way...and they played better. My boys played hard, [the Captains] just played better."
The loss marks the second season in a row that the Great Lakes Loons have lost in Game 3 of the EDCS after winning Game 1.
"It hurts because you want to win and you want to make it to the championship round," Bustabad said. "Unfortunately, we didn't play well in the last two games and all we needed to do was win one game at home and we just didn't do it."
The Loons ran into trouble in the second inning, allowing the Captains a quick three runs on two hits. Loons starting pitcher Greg Wilborn used one pitch to retire Chase Burnette on a groundout, but then walked the next two batters. A passed ball put runners on the corners, which was followed by Greg Folgia's soft grounder into right field that scored one. A force out at second scored another run and Delvi Cid's single over the infield allowed Argenis Martinez to move from first to home.
The Captains continued to buy insurance with one-run innings in the third, fourth, and seventh. Wilborn took the loss after allowing five runs on six hits over five innings. Nuno picked up the win for his effort, limiting Loons to one run on five hits over 5.1 innings.
Despite the loss, Bustabad and his players can still look back and be proud of everything that went into the franchise's best season.
"It's a positive," he said of the year as a whole. "Who ever thought we would win 90 games? We make it to the second round for two years in a row. It's all credit to the staff and to the players."
The Loons finished the season with the best record in the minors, at 90-49, and a playoff record of 3-3.
The Great Lakes Loons are a fourth-year Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and members of the Midwest League. For more information about the Loons, visit Loons.com or call 989-837-BALL.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.