By Dave Hart
MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Clippers might very well be undefeated if it weren’t for the River City Rapids.
The Rapids handed the Clippers their first two losses earlier this season, in Muskegon and at Davenport College.
River City made it a trifecta Monday, handing the Clippers their third defeat by a lopsided 13-3 score in front of a big crowd at Marsh Field.
The good news for the Clippers was that three losses are nothing compared to their 17 wins. They remain easily in first place in the Michigan Summer Collegiate Baseball League with a six-game lead over the second-place Michigan Monarchs.
River City is in third place in the league with a 10-8 record.
Muskegon simply had a horrible night, allowing a season-high 13 runs on 17 hits while committing two errors and walking five batters.
“They are very good,” Clippers Manager Walt Gawkowski said about River City. “They swing the bat aggressively and they took advantage of some pitches that we squared up.
“This is not a trend, we play good baseball and this is just one game of 34. We will go back next Monday and try to win a ball game.”
Gawkowski refused to makes excuses for his team, which was without second basemen Matt Mandes (broken nose) and outfielder Kyle Wise (personal reasons).
The Rapids jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back, scoring two runs in the third inning and one in the fourth.
The Clippers cut the deficit to 3-2, scoring two runs in the fourth inning on an RBI groundout by Kyle Lawson and an RBI double from Adrian Anderson.
River City took a 4-2 lead in the fifth on a fielder’s choice.
The Rapids added six runs on seven hits in the sixth inning, putting the game out of reach for the Clippers.
River City added three more runs in the seventh inning. Muskegon scored its final run in the eighth inning when Lawson scored on an error by the Rapids shortstop.
Pitcher Austin Batak was credited with the win for the Rapids, allowing just two hits in two innings of relief.
Clippers starting pitcher Jacob Gividen took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in five innings.
Jordan Drake (1 2/3 innings), Brandon Melchert (1 1/3 innings), and Luke Smith (2/3 inning) pitched in relief for Muskegon. They collectively gave up nine runs on 11 hits.
Cameron Bair and Connor Glick each had two hits for the Clippers.
The game ended with two outs in the top of the ninth inning due to heavy rain.