8-29 L'Kings Phillips.jpg

Clinton’s Anthony Phillips delivers a Baltimore-chop base hit during the LumberKings’ 5-2 win against Beloit on Sunday at Alliant Energy Field. The victory guaranteed the LumberKings a spot in the Midwest League baseball playoffs.

Kurt Ritzman/Clinton Herald
Assistant Sports Editor

Clinton clinched a playoff berth Sunday with a 5-2 victory over Beloit.

The LumberKings scored three runs in the seventh inning to break open a tie game and finish off their eighth straight win to earn a second straight trip to the postseason since beginning an affiliation with the Seattle Mariners. The LumberKings have advanced to the Midwest League playoffs in 10 of the past 14 years.

“I think it’s huge. Everybody knows what type of first half we had,” LumberKings manager Eddie Menchaca said, referring to the team’s 24-46 first-half record. “I think it’s going to be a good environment to know that we’re in already and we’ve still got eight games in. We know that we’re in, so we can relax a little bit but still continue to play good baseball and carry that over to the playoffs.”

Mickey Wiswall led off the inning by reaching on an error. Then Kalian Sams walked, putting runners at first and second. Kevin Rivers laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position. That’s when Clinton started its scoring.

Anthony Phillips hit a chopper to the third baseman, who threw the ball home. Wiswall slid under the attempted tag by the catcher to score the go-ahead run. Next, Carlos Ramirez dropped a squeeze bunt and Sams scored to give the LumberKings a two-run lead.

“In that situation with the score tied, we were trying to put pressure on the defense to make the play,” Menchaca said. “We sent Wiswall on a contact play. ... Then we have Ramirez. He’s a guy who is probably one of the best at controlling the bat. We gave him a chance to drive a run in. This guy is a good bunter. It’s an exciting play and it’s even better when you get it done. The fans like it. The kids love it. The biggest thing was it led to a big inning. Not only that, but the sac bunt with Rivers to start the inning, it changes the whole complexion of the game.”

After the bunt by Ramirez, Julio Morban singled to left-center field, driving in Phillips.

The LumberKings turned the ball over to their bullpen in the sixth inning after starting pitcher Stephen Kohlscheen allowed two runs on four hits and five walks in five innings. But the Snappers couldn’t get anything going offensively.

Matthew Bischoff (4-3) picked up the win, allowing one hit and one walk in three innings. Then John Taylor picked up his first save for Clinton to close out the game and send the Lum-berKings to the postseason.

“The bullpen has been great,” Menchaca said. “I’ve said that our strength has been pitching. Our bullpen has really bore down in situations where we need a zero or get out of a jam. What can I say? All those guys in the pen want the ball. Obviously you’ve got to congratulate our pitching coach (Rich Dorman) for the great job he’s done with them.”

Clinton struck early in the game, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Ramirez singled and Morban drew a walk to put the first two LumberKings of the game on base. Then Mike McGee singled, scoring Ramirez. Morban came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Stefen Romero.

Lance Ray hit a solo home run to right field, leading off the fourth inning for Beloit. The Snappers tied the score in the fifth inning. Tobias Streich singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Streich scored the tying run on a single by Nate Roberts.

Clinton takes on Beloit again tonight, with first pitch scheduled for 6:30.

The LumberKings also beat the Snappers on Saturday. McGee and John Hicks each had two RBIs for Clinton in a 6-2 win. McGee hit his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot in the fifth inning.

Tony Butler (3-3) picked up the win, allowing two runs in 5 2⁄3 innings.

SATURDAY

LUMBERKINGS 6, SNAPPERS 2

Beloit                    Clinton

    ab    r    h    bi        ab    r    h    bi

Goncalves cf    2    0    0    1    Ramirez dh    5    0    0    0

McCallum lf    3    0    0    0    Morban lf    5    1    1    0

Perez 3b    5    1    2    0    McGee cf    4    2    3    2

Gonzales dh    4    0    0    0    Romero 2b    4    0    0    0

Ray 1b    3    0    2    0    Hicks c    4    1    2    2

Grimes 2b    4    0    0    0    Wiswall 1b    3    0    1    1

Ortiz rf    3    0    1    0    Sams rf    3    1    1    0

Leer ss    3    1    1    0    Miller ss    4    0    0    0

Streich c    4    0    1    0    Phillips 3b    4    1    2    1

Totals    31    2    7    1    Totals    36    6    10    6

Beloit    000    110    000    —    2

Clinton    001    111    20x    —    6

E — Perez 3 (16). DP — Clinton 1. LOB — Beloit 10, Clinton 8. 2B — Streich (6), Leer (14), Phillips (9), Wiswall (19), Sams (12). 3B — Hicks (2). HR — McGee (4). SB — Ray (10), Perez (10). CS — McCallum (3). SF — Goncalves.

    IP    H    R    ER    BB    SO

 Beloit

O’Rourke L, 5-4    6    8    4    4    0    9

Fuentes    1     2    2    0    2    1

Tonkin    1    0    0    0    0    0

 Clinton

Butler W, 3-3    5 2⁄3    6    2    2    3    5

Kiel    2 1⁄3    1    0    0    3    2

Burgoon    1    0    0    0    0    1

WP — Fuentes, Butler. Balk — Butler. HBP — McCallum (by Butler). U — Matt Heersema (hp), Paul Keitel (b). T — 2:43.

SUNDAY

LUMBERKINGS 5, SNAPPERS 2

Beloit                    Clinton

    ab    r    h    bi        ab    r    h    bi

Goncalves cf    4    0    1    0    Ramirez 3b    3    1    2    1

Roberts dh    4    0    1    1    Morban lf    3    1    1    1

Perez 3b    3    0    1    0    McGee cf    4    0    1    1

Gonzales 1b    3    0    0    0    Romero 2b    2    0    0    1

Ray lf    3    1    1    1    Hicks c    4    0    0    0

Grimes lf    3    1    1    1    Wiswall 1b    4    1    0    0

Ortiz rf    4    0    0    0    Sams rf    2    1    0    0

Leer 2b    3    0    0    0    Rivers dh    2    0    0    0

Streich c    4    1    1    0    Phillips ss    3    1    1    1

Totals    31    2    5    2    Totals    27    5    5    5

Beloit    000    110    000    —    2

Clinton    200    000    30x    —    5

E — Ray (8), Wiswall (5). DP — Clinton 1. LOB — Beloit 9, Clinton 4. HR — Ray (14). CS — Romero (9), Phillips (10). SF — Romero. S — Goncalves, Rivers, Ramirez.

    IP    H    R    ER    BB    SO

 Beloit

Soliman L, 7-11    6    4    4    2    2    6

Salcedo    2    1    1    0    0    1

 Clinton

Kohlscheen    5    4    2    2    5    2

Bischoff W, 4-3    3    1    0    0    1    2

Taylor S, 1    1    0    0    0    0    1

Soliman pitched to 2 batters in the 7th.

WP — Soliman 2. HBP — Romero (by Soliman). U — Paul Keitel (hp), Matt Heersema (b). T — 2:34.

This Week's Circulars