On the field in 2017, the Beloit Snappers had countless memorable performances throughout the entire season. The Snappers will release a list of "17's Top 17" to reveal the best moments from the past season. This countdown will include entire games and snippets of the Snappers 36th season of professional baseball in Beloit.
The 5th no-hitter in team history, the longest game of the season, and a SportsCenter Top 10 play lead the list of the best moments in the 36th season of Snappers baseball.
1. The No-Hitter
The Snappers no-hitter on August 23 against Quad Cities, a team that could have clinched a playoff birth that night, was the fifth in team history and undoubtedly the top moment of 2017. Zack Erwin and Joseph Camacho combined on the no-no as the first hitless performance in team history to be handed off to another pitcher and successfully completed.
Erwin started the game and faced the minimum through six hitless frames. The perfect game-bid ended in the second inning when Luis Payano reached on a fielding error by Snappers shortstop Edwin Diaz. Erwin promptly picked off Payano at first base for the third out of the inning. Erwin then sat down the next six batters in order until he issued a leadoff walk to Daz Cameron in the fifth inning. Two pitches later, Erwin induced a double play off the bat of Josh Rojas. The Snappers southpaw needed only nine pitches to get through the sixth and sat on 79 total pitches, but his pitch count for the evening had been reached and his night was finished.
Camacho worked around one baserunner in each of his first two innings of relief with an error by Luke Persico at first base in the seventh and a one-out walk in the eighth. Pohlman Field came alive with each pitch during Camacho's 1-2-3 ninth inning and increased in enthusiasm with every out before JaVon Shelby pulled down the final out in shallow right field off the bat of Chuckie Robinson.
Daniel Osterbrock threw a seven-inning no-hitter on May 1, 2010 as the most recent no-hitter in club history, but the last nine-inning no-hitter was by thrown by Jason Dawsey on July 26, 1996. Snappers players Jesus Zambrano and Jesus Lopez were not even born before Beloit's last no-hitter, 21 years prior to this past August. Dawsey and Erwin also shared a connection through Clemson University where they each played college baseball.
2. 1-0, 17-inning game at Kane County
One of the wildest games of the season came very early in the year and went against the Snappers by a score of 1-0 at Kane County. However, it took 17 innings to score the only run of the game. Every detail of this game turned out to be something that may not be seen again for a while and lands at the No. 2 moment from 2017.
The game was slated for an 11:00 a.m. first pitch, which occurred before the two teams withstood a rain delay that lasted nearly three hours. The game as a whole took just under four hours but still totaled a seven-hour day at the ballpark. A total of 14 pitchers were used in the contest and included a pair of position players from each team. Kyle Smith and Paxton De La Garza each pitched two scoreless innings for the Cougars while Cole Gruber and Kyle Nowlin saw action on the mound for the Snappers. Nowlin entered the game after a pair of shutout innings by Gruber. Nowlin hit the second batter he faced who would then score an unearned run after a fielding error by Gruber in left field.
The longest scoreless game in recent Snappers history prior to that contest was 12 innings against Clinton on April 14, 2011. The LumberKings scored three in the top of the 13th to win 3-0 at Pohlman Field, but that game was still nearly half of a regulation game shorter of what occurred in mid-April between the Snappers and Cougars.
3. Diaz and Lopez turn spectacular putout, make SportsCenter's Top 10
The Snappers earned national recognition on ESPN's SportsCenter the morning of August 31 for a spectacular defensive play by infielders Jesus Lopez and Edwin Diaz at Wisconsin the night before. Their impressive teamwork on a 4-6-3 groundout landed at No. 5 on the program's daily countdown of top plays.
Timber Rattlers designated hitter Mitch Ghelfi hit the ball on the ground to Lopez, but he was playing the left-handed hitter to pull the ball at second base and made up a lot of ground to make the backhanded stop. Working with virtually no time to record the out, Lopez flipped the ball from his glove to the shortstop Diaz converging on the play. Diaz snagged the ball from Lopez and fired to first base to record the out by a half step.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.