By Dave Hart
The Clippers led 1-0 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning on Friday, but the Lima Locos tied the game and forced extra innings with a solo homer from Colton Frank.
The Locos then scored two runs in the 10th inning on a double by Nick Colina, leaving the Clippers with a season-ending 3-1 loss at Marsh Field in the Northern Division championship series.
The Locos won the best 2-of-3 series 2-0. They now advance to the GLSCL championship series against the Licking County Settlers.
For Muskegon, it was the end of an otherwise great season. The Clippers finished in second place in the league’s Northern Division and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in their three years in the GLSCL.
“It is disappointing because you hate to lose after being one out away,” said Clippers manager Walt Gawkowski. “We had some chances early and we didn’t cash in, but that’s baseball. I am so proud of the guys, though. It is tough to say goodbye to these kids, making it a tough night.
“Every day that we went to the park it was fun and we played great toward the end of the year.”
The Clippers had a ceremony before the start of the game, honoring veteran infielder Nolan Bryant by retiring his number 5 jersey.
Bryant is the first player to complete three seasons with the Clippers, and is the first to have his number retired.
The game started out slow offensively, remaining scoreless until the seventh inning when Noah Hecht homered to give the Clippers a 1-0 lead.
Muskegon’s starting pitcher Brady Miller tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits while striking out four batters.
Clippers reliever Dane Armbrustmacher came into the game to record the final out of the seventh inning, three outs in the eighth and two in the ninth, before relinquishing the tying run.
Armbrustmacher suffered the loss for Muskegon, allowing three runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings.