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Jones, 'Kings extend Midwest Finals

Taylor strikes out nine, helps Clinton even best-of-5 series
September 19, 2010
For James Jones, the only thing better than the beginning of Game 4 of the Midwest League Finals was the ending.

The former fourth-round pick led off the game with a homer and scored the tying run in the eighth inning Sunday as the Clinton LumberKings edged the Lake County Captains, 3-2, to pull even in the best-of-5 Championship Series.

In a game that featured 25 strikeouts, Jones went 3-for-5 with a clutch stolen base and two runs scored.

Clinton trailed, 2-1, heading to the eighth, but Jones ignited the go-ahead rally by singling to center off reliever Jose Flores. After Nick Franklin popped out, Jones took a chance and stole second.

"I was just trying to get a read to see if (Flores) could come over [to first], showing his move," Jones said. "He went deep in the count and I got a good jump."

With Jones on second, Vinnie Catricala walked before the Captains brought in Francisco Jimenez to face Mickey Wiswall.

Wiswall, who fell a triple short of the cycle in Saturday's Game 3 loss, singled home Jones with the tying run.

"I had to get in on it," Jones said of Wiswall's only hit of the game. "I knew I had to score on it."

Blake Ochoa, who scored three times in the LumberKings' 18-inning win in Game, followed with another single to put Clinton ahead.

Jones' leadoff homer wasn't his first, but he admitted, "This one is definitely way different.

"It was an 0-1 fastball," the 21-year-old right fielder said. "I was just looking for a good pitch to handle."

Forrest Snow (1-0) struck out two in the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth to earn the win. He replaced starter Taylor Stanton, who fanned nine and allowed two runs on three hits over 6 2/3 frames.

"He looked real good," Jones said of Stanton. "He was locating his fastball. Real aggressive. He did his part."

Captains starter Vidal Nuno may have been even better. He recorded 12 strikeouts while limiting Clinton to one run on three hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Greg Folgia doubled and hit an RBI single in the seventh, while Roberto Perez doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the fifth.

"Both [teams] have good pitching and timely hitting," Jones said. "It's going back and forth, and that's the good thing about being part of this series."

It's the third straight playoff series that has gone the distance for the LumberKings. Game 5 is Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET at Lake County.

Alex Raskin is a contributor to