By Dave Hart
The Clippers took an early one-run lead, then allowed eight unanswered runs, a lot like they did on Tuesday night against the Lima Locos.
But on Tuesday they overcame their bad fortune by rallying for an incredible victory. On Wednesday they started another comeback but couldn’t complete the task, falling 8-4 to the Royal Oak Leprechauns at Marsh Field.
The defeat dropped the Clippers to 6-6 on the season. Muskegon will close out its home stand on Thursday with a 6:05 p.m. game against the Grand Lake Mariners.
“Well we didn’t play very well, and then they got away from us in the end,” said Clippers manager Walt Gawkowski. “I told the guys that we have to find a way to keep it close, so they would have a chance late in the game with a base hit or a mistake by the opponent. But we gave away too many toward the end.”
The Clippers opened the scoring in the first inning with a solo home run from Chase Bessard.
The score remained 1-0 until the seventh inning when the Leprechauns collected three runs, scoring on a wild pitch, an RBI double by Sam Busch, and on a double steal with runners at the corners.
The Leprechauns added another five runs in the eighth, scoring on a two-run single by Andrew Delaney, an RBI single by Noah Stout, and a two-run Muskegon error. Suddenly the visitors had an imposing 8-1 lead.
The Clippers attempted a comeback in the eighth inning, scoring three runs to cut their deficit to 8-4. The runs came on a pass ball and a two-run single by Noah Marcoux.
The Clippers put two runners on base in the ninth inning, but failed to push them across the plate.
Muskegon pitcher Connor Vallie suffered the loss, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out four in two innings of relief. Starting pitcher Travis Keys tossed five innings, allowing no runs on four hits while striking out five batters.
Royal Oak starting pitcher Christopher Schmees got the win, throwing seven innings while allowing three runs on five hits and striking out eight.