CLINTON — The Clinton LumberKings’ current losing streak has grown to a season-long six games.

Thursday, Clinton was tied with West Michigan 1-1 after six innings before the Whitecaps scored six late runs and earned a 7-3 win at Alliant Energy Field.

West Michigan has piled up 28 hits in the last two games and has taken the first three games of the four-game series. Nine of the Whitecaps’ 13 hits Thursday went for extra bases as they banged out seven doubles and a pair of home runs.

The L-Kings have fallen into a last-place tie with Wisconsin in the Midwest League’s Western Division at 19-27 in the second half.

West Michigan, meanwhile, has a league-best 30-16 mark in the second half and leads the Eastern Division by four games.

The Whitecaps immediately jumped in front when Joe Tucker led off the game with a home run off the scoreboard in left-center field against Clinton starter Jeremiah Haar (5-3).

West Michigan starter Duane Below (10-5), who leads the league with 139 strikeouts, retired the first eight batters he faced before L-Kings No. 9 hitter Chad Ogden blooped a single to right with two outs in the bottom of the third inning.

Below allowed just one run on five hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out nine.

Clinton scored its lone run off Below in the fifth. Jose Vallejo led off the inning with a soft line-drive single to left after fouling off a number of pitches.

He promptly stole second, his 35th steal of the season. David Paisano drew a walk before Josh Bradbury attempted to move the runners along with a bunt.

Bradbury’s bunt was fielded by Below, however, who was able to force Vallejo out at third base. With two outs Ogden worked a walk to load the bases.

Leadoff man Marcus Lemon then came through with a single to left on an 0-2 pitch. The hit plated Paisano, but Bradbury was thrown out by plenty as he also tried to score on the play.

Haar, who pitched very well through the first six innings, ran into trouble in the seventh.

He hit Jeramy Laster to start the inning and Michael Bertram followed with a two-run homer to left-center. With two outs Tucker doubled to left-center, Gorkys Hernandez followed with an RBI single to left and James Skelton cracked an RBI double to right-center, ending Haar’s night and making it 5-1.

Haar allowed five runs, all earned, on nine hits and a walk. He struck out two.

The L-Kings had an opportunity in the bottom of the seventh. Bradbury singled to left with one out, ending Below’s night.

Manny Pina greeted West Michigan reliever Dan Fyvie with a single to center, putting runners at first and second with one out. But, Fyvie retired Ogden and Lemon on a flyout and a groundout.

Clinton shaved the margin to 5-3 with a pair of runs in the eighth. K.C. Herren led the inning off with an infield hit between first and second base.

Chad Tracy followed with a bullet double into the left-field corner as Herren raced around to third. Clean-up hitter Mauro Gomez was unable to deliver, popping out, and Vallejo grounded back to Fyvie for the second out.

With Paisano at the plate Fyvie uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Herren to score and Tracy to move to third. Paisano then stroked an RBI single to center. Paisano promptly stole second but was left stranded as Fyvie struck out Bradbury to end the inning.

West Michigan tacked on two more runs in the ninth off Clinton reliever Anton Maxwell on a two-run double by Skelton.

Six-foot-7, 190-pound Whitecaps reliever Brett Jensen of Eagle Grove closed the game, tossing a scoreless ninth.

The teams close the series tonight at 7 p.m.

Saturday, the L-Kings open a four-game set with South Bend.



ab r h bi ab r h bi

Tucker 2b 5 3 3 1 Lemon ss 4 0 1 1

Hernandez cf 5 1 2 1 Herren rf 4 1 2 0

Skelton c 4 0 2 3 Tracy dh 4 1 1 0

Boesch rf 5 0 1 0 Gomez 1b 4 0 0 0

Strieby 1b 4 0 0 0 Vallejo 2b 4 0 1 0

Laster lf 3 1 2 0 Paisano cf 3 1 1 1

Bertram 3b 4 1 1 2 Bradbury lf 4 0 1 0

Timm dh 4 0 0 0 Pina c 4 0 1 0

Ciriaco ss 4 1 2 0 Ogden 3b 3 0 1 0

Totals 39 7 13 7 Totals 34 3 9 2

West Michigan 100 000 402 — 7

Clinton 000 010 020 — 3

E—Gomez. DP—West Michigan 1, Clinton 2. LOB—West Michigan 6, Clinton 8. 2B—Laster 2, Hernandez, Ciriaco, Tucker, Skelton 2, Tracy. HR—Tucker (1), Bertram (1). SB—Vallejo (35), Paisano (12). CS—Skelton.


West Michigan

Below W,10-5 6 1/3 5 1 1 3 9

Fyvie 1 2/3 4 2 2 0 1

Jensen 1 0 0 0 0 0


Haar L,5-3 6 2/3 9 5 5 1 2

Lueke 1 1/3 1 0 0 0 1

Maxwell 1 3 2 2 0 1

HBP—by Jensen (Lemon), by Haar (Laster). WP—Fyvie, Haar. Umpires—Patrick Barbour (plate), Ike Boykins (bases). Time—2:48. Attendance—880.

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