The West Michigan Whitecaps’ late rally fell short on Saturday, but the team received good news after its 7-6 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts at Cooley Law School Stadium.LSJ Logo incert

Manager Andrew Graham informed the Whitecaps that the lowest they can finish in the first half Eastern Division standings is second place, which seals a berth for the team in the 2016 Midwest League Playoffs in September.whitecaps logo not for feature art

That news ignited a jubilant clubhouse celebration.

Meanwhile, a West Michigan victory in Lansing on Sunday – the final game of the first half of the season – will give the Whitecaps the Eastern Division title and home field advantage in the first half of the playoffs.

In the game, the Whitecaps got in a big hole when Lansing posted six runs in the first inning. The frame marked the biggest offensive stanza by a Whitecaps opponent this season.

The game headed into the ninth with the Whitecaps facing a 7-2 deficit. West Michigan got a run on an RBI single by Arvicent Perez with one out. Cam Gibson followed with a run-scoring single of his own to bring the score to 7-4.

After Derek Hill struck out for the second out of the inning, David Gonzalez lofted a bloop RBI single into center field to score a run, then Will Maddox laid down a perfect infield base hit which plated Gonzalez and made the score 7-6.

But Will Allen followed with a groundout to third, ending the contest.

Perez led the West Michigan offense by going 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.

The Whitecaps fell to 39-27 while the Lugnuts improved to 35-34.