A three-run seventh inning was the difference as the West Michigan Whitecaps dropped Game 1 of the Midwest League Eastern Division Championship to the Great Lakes Loons by a score of 4-1 Sunday night at Dow Diamond.
Great Lakes’ Jake Henson tied the game 1-1 in the fourth with an RBI-single.
Great Lakes’ Ivan Vietez earned his first win of the postseason with three scoreless innings in relief, while West Michigan’s Toller Boardman took the loss after allowing two runs.
Loons’ closer Shea Spitzbarth pitched a scoreless ninth inning to finish the ballgame and pick up his first save of the playoffs.
Jose Azocar posted a 3-for-4 performance at the plate to the lead the ‘Caps in a losing cause.
The Whitecaps loss puts the Loons one win away from reaching the Midwest League Championship with the series heading back to Fifth Third Ballpark for the final two games.
West Michigan needs a win in Game 2 to force another winner-take-all Game 3 Tuesday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
Last season the Whitecaps lost the first game of the Eastern Division Championship to Lansing, but rallied to win the final two games on the road, which led to their sixth Midwest League Title.