By Steve Gunn and Dave Hart
MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Clippers simply refuse to lose league games.
They trailed the Mid-Michigan Tigers 6-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth, and a bit of gloom hung over Marsh Field.
But the Clippers rallied with three runs to win the game. The decisive
blow came off the bat of first baseman Connor Glick, whose double to
right-center scored Logan Fleener and secured the 7-6 victory.
“For the first eight innings I thought we were trying to lose, but we stuck with it,” said Glick, a second-year Clipper who plays collegiately at Grand Valley State University. “I was just thinking I wanted to keep it simple and not over swing. It was pretty exciting, with all of those guys running out on the field after me. It was a great feeling.”
The Clippers are now 18-0 in the league (18-1 overall), which guarantees a
championship with five games to play. They will also host a regional
postseason tournament later this month, with a chance to advance to
the National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series in Toledo if they win it.
“Ever since I’ve been here we’ve been a pretty dominant team,” Glick said. “I love the atmosphere here. I really love my coaches and teammates. We all have fun, and when we have fun we play better.”
The game was tied 1-1 after one inning.
The Clippers took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning on a bases-loaded
walk by Jared Burton and a wild pitch that allowed Tyler Trovinger to score.
Mid-Michigan pulled ahead 4-3 in the in the fifth inning, then
added single runs in the seventh and eighth.
The Clippers opened the bottom of the eighth inning with walks to
Glick and Will Harris and a single by Cameron Bair to load the
bases with one out.
Trovinger hit a sacrifice fly to plate Glick and make the score 6-4, but Harris got caught between second and third on the play and was tagged for the third out.
But the Clippers pulled victory from the jaws of defeat in the ninth.
Andrew Null pulled Muskegon within a run with a solo homer to lead
off the inning. Jacob Holt followed with a one-out walk,
then Logan Fleener reached base when he hit a grounder that was booted
by the Tiger shortstop.
Jacob Buchberger tied the game 6-6 with a sacrifice fly that scored Holt. Then Glick delivered his walk-off double to score Fleener.
“I am not sure for eight innings if we really deserved it,” said Clippers Manager Walt Gawkowski. “We did not swing the bats as well as we are capable of, and we had some breakdowns defensively, but good teams find themselves a way to win.”
Null got the win on the mound for the Clippers, tossing three innings of relief while allowing two runs on three hits.
Null and Bair each had two hits for Muskegon.