By Dave Hart and Steve Gunn
WARREN – Sometimes a loss is the best thing that can happen to a good team.
The victory came a day after the Clippers lost their first league game of the season, 5-4 to Holland, with a slew of ugly errors in the bottom of the seventh inning, which was the last inning of that contest.
With Friday’s bounce-back victory, the Clippers finished the regular season with an outstanding 22-1 record in the Michigan Summer Collegiate Baseball League – which earned the team its second straight league title – and a 22-2 overall mark.
Manager Walk Gawkowski thinks Thursday’s loss might have been beneficial for the team, with postseason play right around the corner.
The Clippers will host a four-team National Amateur Baseball Federation regional tournament Thursday through Sunday at Marsh Field. The winner of the double-elimination tournament will earn a berth in the NABF World Series in Toledo.
“The kids were disappointed (about Thursday’s loss), but baseball’s a funny game,” he said. “You have to get 27 outs, not 24 or 25. You can’t take a knee in baseball. You can’t run the clock out.
“You never want to lose a game, but if we were going to lose, this was the perfect time of the season to do it. It stunned them a little bit – they are competitive athletes – but now we’re ready to move on. It was a tough loss last night but tonight we played really good. We pitched really well.”
The Clippers opened the scoring in the second inning with an RBI single by Nick Holt that scored Tyler Trovinger.
They made it 2-0 in the third inning with a sacrifice fly by Will Harris that scored Ryan Mergener.
Muskegon pulled ahead 3-0 in the fifth on an RBI single by Harris that scored Mergener, they added two runs in the seventh on a two-run triple to deep right-center by Andrew Null.
Motor City scored its lone run in the eighth inning to make the score 5-1. Then Clippers added an insurance run in the ninth with an RBI single by Null that scored Jacob Buchberger.
Mergener paced the Clippers with four hits while Harris knocked in three runs.
Clippers starting pitcher Jackson Shaver tossed a gem, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in eight innings. Null took over and struck out the side in the ninth.