West Michigan looked to the experienced arm of pitcher Ross Seaton to face a do-or-die situation on Monday evening in Lansing, but it was a steamrolling round of offense from the Whitecaps to carry West Michigan to their first Midwest League Championship series since 2007.
An uncharacteristic outing from the normally even-keeled Seaton forced West Michigan to jolt their offense to add the power needed to advance, and advance they did. Seaton was tagged for four runs off seven hits in just 3 1/3 innings, including a two-run long ball delivered to Chris Carlson in the third inning to give Lansing the 3-1 lead.
In a start of a huge night for Will Kengor, he was first to get West Michigan on the board with a solo blast in the third and the activity continued into the fourth with singles from Joey Pankake, Christin Stewart and Michael Gerber to add a pair of runs for West Michigan. Lansing battled, but could not match the electric offense from the Whitecaps as West Michigan began to gain momentum with a three-run fifth.
However, it was a five-run seventh inning that launched the Whitecaps forward and there was no looking back. The walk issued to Michael Gerber to start the inning seemed innocent enough, but singles from Kade Scivicque and Christin Stewart loaded the bases and the landslide began. Back to back doubles from Francisco Contreras and David Gonzalez crossed three of the five Whitecaps to reach home in the inning.
West Michigan wrapped the night with an astounding 22 hits and 14 RBI overall to complete the charge and with the blowout, manager Andrew Graham and his squad will head back to the home crowd to fight for another title to bring home to the West Michigan faithful in the best-of-five final series.
HITS: Well, yes. There were plenty, but it was Christin Stewart who stood out of the crowd, going 4-5 at the plate with a double and a pair of RBI for West Michigan.
MISSES: Well, let's be honest. There wasn't any. Can we just blame Kurt's mismatched socks?
Midwest League Playoffs - League Championship Series (Game 1): West Michigan returns to Fifth Third Ballpark on Wednesday in West Michigan to face the Cedar Rapids Kernels for Game 1 of the Midwest League Championship series. Game time is slated for 6:35 pm.