Clippers bounce back from ugly loss with a big 5-3 victory over the Holland Millers

By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON – Matt Williams was not supposed to be a part of the game for the Muskegon Clippers on Wednesday.

The slugging outfielder who doubles as a relief pitcher had a workout with the Grand Valley State University football team, and was scratched from the Clippers’ starting lineup.LSJ Logo incert

But he showed up on time to take the mound for the eighth and ninth innings and preserve an important 5-3 victory over the Holland Millers at Marsh Field.

The Clippers' Cameron Bair gears up to take a cut. Photo/Steve Gunn

The Clippers’ Cameron Bair gears up to take a cut. Photo/Steve Gunn

Williams was far from perfect, getting himself into jams in both innings he pitched. But he worked out of both situations in dramatic fashion.

He left the tying runners on first and second base after striking out Gabriel Farr and Jacob Peabody to end Holland’s eighth inning threat.

He closed the game by getting out of a bases loaded jam with two outs in the ninth inning, when Holland’s Andrew Stone lined out to Clipper third baseman Adrian Anderson.

Muskegon is now 12-2 in the Michigan Summer Collegiate Baseball League, good for first place. The Millers drop to 6-9 on the season.

The Clippers return to action on Friday night with a 7 p.m. home game against the Bloomfield Sting.

“I am pretty tired after the day I had today, but I wouldn’t change it for the world,” said Williams, who allowed one run on two hits while walking four and striking out three. “Getting into trouble helps me pitch better.”

Connor Seymour gives Little Big League after scoring for Muskegon. Photo/Steve Gunn

Connor Seymour gives bat boy ‘Little Big League’ a high five after scoring for Muskegon. Photo/Steve Gunn

The Clippers victory came at a perfect time, following a rainout on Monday and an ugly error-filled loss to River City on Tuesday.

Jackson Overlund had a pair of RBIs for Muskegon while Kyle Wise and Connor Glick each knocked in one run. Cameron Bair had a pair of singles for Muskegon.

“I think this was an important game for us,” said Clippers Manager Walt Gawkowski. “We have been struggling so it was important to get back on the right track before the weekend.”

Starting pitcher Nick Eely picked up the victory for the Clippers, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings while striking out four.

“Nick is a very efficient pitcher,” Gawkowski said. “He is an extremely competitive kid and he did not get a lot of swing and misses, but he pounded the strike zone well.”

The Clippers opened the scoring in the third inning on a throwing error by Holland pitcher Art’om Rank. He overthrew first base attempting to throw out Muskegon’s Nick Holt, which allowed Anderson to score from first.

The Millers answered in the fifth with an RBI single by Aaron Fadden to tie the game.

Muskegon pulled ahead in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring three runs on two hits.

Overlund walked in a run, Wise knocked in a run while reaching base on a fielder’s choice, and Glick hit an RBI single.

Holland cut its deficit to 4-2 with an RBI double by Farr in the sixth inning.

The Clippers regained their three-run lead at 5-2 with an RBI ground out by Overlund in the seventh inning.

The Millers closed the scoring with an RBI single from Jeff VanCleave off Williams in the eighth.

Williams took the mound and managed to wiggle out of the two jams, including a bases loaded scare with two outs in the ninth inning.

Rank took the loss on the mound for Holland, allowing four runs on four hits in four innings.

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