CLINTON—The Clinton LumberKings found a break in the rainy week on Wednesday afternoon, getting in a two-game affair to open up a homestand. Both games were high-scoring affairs on both sides and it ended in an even split.
After a day off on Monday, Tuesday’s contest against the West Michigan Whitecaps was rained out. A double header was scheduled on Wednesday starting at 11 a.m.
The White Caps took Game 1, but the LumberKings bounced back in a big way to take Game 2, evening up the series. The rubber match will take place Thursday evening.
The two seven-inning ballgames took just under six hours.
Ten hits and seven runs would normally be enough to win a ballgame. However, the Whitecaps took Game 1 thanks to a huge first inning, winning 9-7.
The Whitecaps scored all their runs of the seven-inning game in the very first inning. George Soriano, who worked a two-hit game outing against Beloit last time he was at home, struggled to keep his composure on the mound.
He managed to stay in just a third of an inning, allowing six hits and nine runs in the process.
It wasn’t necessarily over then, though. Clinton pitching picked it up from there, with Sean Guenther going three and two-third innings without allowing a hit, twirling six Ks. CJ Carter pitched his own three innings and gave up just three hits and a walk.
The offense did their best to climb out of the hole.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Connor Scott started the inning off with a walk and was brought around with an RBI double from Demetrius Sims. Sean Reynolds then blasted his third homer of the year into left field to score two more runs.
Bubba Hollins put a grounder through the infield, then Will Banfield singled to move him to third. Hollins barely made it, hobbling between bases. He left the game and was replaced by Samuel Castro.
Castro crossed home plate immediately upon entering the game thanks to a sac fly by Marcos Rivera.
With the score 9-4, the managed to push another run across in the home half of the fifth. Both Demetrius Sims and Jerar Encarnacion reached base, then a Sean Reynolds grounder turned into a Whitecaps errors to score one.
The final two runs came in sixth inning. Connor Scott nicked a two-out single and then an error put two in scoring position. Sims drew a walk, and Jerar Encarnacion ripped a double into center field to score two. They loaded the bases again but didn’t push anymore runners across home.
It was Clinton who built the multi-run lead the second time around, but West Michigan had even more problems coming back. Every single batter in the lineup recorded at least one hit for Clinton, who pulled away for the 13-2 rout.
The LumberKings struck first in the second half of the day when Sean Reynolds hit yet another home run. The first baseman came up to plate with two on and hit one into the deepest part of the ballpark, soaring over the center field wall at over 400 feet.
It gave Clinton a comfortable 3-0 lead, but that didn’t last long.
When the Whitecaps came up to bat in the second frame, they were granted two walks from starter Alex Vesia. Both of those runners ended up crossing home to make it a one-run contest.
The offense wasn’t done yet. Jerar Encarnacion hit a bases-loaded double in the home half of the second to bring in two more runs.
Same inning the LumberKings forced a pitching change after loading the bases. With two outs, JD Osborne crushed a line drive into short left field to bring in an extra two. The LumberKings were back to a comfortable 7-2 lead.
Jumping to the bottom of the fourth, they lit up once again with their biggest inning of the game. After two quick outs, Encarnacion doubled to right field and Sean Reynolds followed it up by drawing a walk.
Consecutive singles from J.D. Osborne and Thomas Jones brought in Encarnacion, Reynolds and Osborne. Marcos Rivera and Ricardo Cespedes both notched hits for two more runs and Clinton took a 12-2 lead into the fifth.
Connor Scott hit another double to start out the fifth, followed by a single from Demetrius Sims. Encarnacion was hit by a pitch and Clinton had the bases loaded once again. Sean Reynolds hit a grounder to record the first out, but scored Scott.
The LumberKings and Whitecaps conclude their series with Game 3 on Thursday night at LumberKings Stadium. First pitch in scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
The LumberKings stay in town for the rest of the weekend, bringing in South Bend for a three game homestand, concluding Sunday afternoon.