By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Clippers won their game on Monday night and remained undefeated, and they did it the right way.LSJ Logo incert

The Clippers did not play their best game of the season. They trailed the River City Rapids by a run after five innings and weren’t mustering much offense.

But they kept battling and tied the game in the sixth inning, then stole a 3-2 victory with a walk-off single by Jason Ribecky in the seventh, which was the final inning.

Muskegon's Kyle Lawson delivers the pitch to catcher Connor Glick. Photo/Jason Goorman

Muskegon’s Kyle Lawson delivers the pitch to catcher Connor Glick. Photo/Jason Goorman

As it turned out, the Clippers would have won anyway, because River City had some personnel issues on Monday and didn’t have enough roster players on hand to satisfy league rules.

But the visitors still fielded a competitive team, and the Clippers chose to play the game for the benefit of several hundred fans who gathered on a pleasant Monday evening.

The Clippers are now 8-0 on the season and have a three-game lead over the second place Holland Millers in the Michigan Summer Collegiate Baseball League.

Muskegon used four pitchers in the game. Reliever Jordan Drake pitched the seventh inning and got the win, while starter Kyle Lawson (two innings) and relievers Brandon Melchert (two innings) and Luke Smith (two innings) did a good job keeping the game close.

Eleven position players also got into the game for Manager Walt Gawkowski, including recent high school graduate Nick Holt, who led the Muskegon Catholic baseball team to a Division 4 state championship last weekend.

“We had an opportunity to get some pitchers some innings who normally do not get to throw much,” Gawkowski said. “Nick Holt joined us for the first time and I’m excited about the contribution he will make.”

The Clippers opened the scoring in the third inning on a hit-and-run RBI single by Ryan Mergener, which scored Connor Seymour from second base.

The Rapids pulled ahead in the fifth inning on a two-run double by Joel Schipper.

Muskegon tied the game 2-2 in the sixth inning when Holt was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a pass ball, then scored on a throwing error by the Rapid City second baseman.

The Clippers sealed the win in the bottom of the seventh. Matt Williams reached second base on a dropped fly ball by the Rapid City centerfielder, then scored the winning run on a long hit by Ribecky down the right field line.

Williams and Seymour each had two hits for the Clippers.