It has been eight years since third baseman Michael Bertram and the West Michigan Whitecaps hoisted the 2007 Midwest League Championship trophy over their heads. On Monday evening, behind the leadership of manager Andrew Graham and his never-say-die squad, memories of 2007 became reality as West Michigan regained the title of Midwest League Champions with a 3-2 victory over Cedar Rapids.
Ross Seaton got the call for West Michigan to start the night, battling through 6 2/3 innings, holding Cedar Rapids to two runs off four hits and fanning seven in his outing. The start of the evening at the plate for the Whitecaps continued a cycle that has been so prevalent for West Michigan this postseason. Four consecutive scoreless innings got the night started, featuring a single from Francisco Contreras at the top of the third as the only base hit for West Michigan after sending 12 men to the plate through four innings.
With one out at the top of the fifth, Joey Pankake followed up a walk issued to Christin Stewart with a punched single to advance Stewart to third. Stewart moved West Michigan to the scoreboard, scoring off the bat of Francisco Contreras. David Gonzalez joined the fun, adding another single to score Pankake to tie up the contest at two apiece. A pair of wild pitches from Cedar Rapids made the difference, opening the door for Contreras to cross the plate with the go-ahead third run of the evening.
It was an unusual display for flame-throwing Gerson Moreno as he was forced to lean on support of his teammates to work out of multiple jams forced by Cedar Rapids. Moreno danced out of trouble in the bottom of the seventh, stranding a pair of Kernels runners to end the inning.
After Moreno walked a pair of hitters in the eighth, West Michigan looked to former College World Series champion Adam Ravenelle to work West Michigan out of trouble. Ravenelle calmly retired a pair of Kernels to maintain the Whitecaps' 3-2 lead.
The Whitecaps looked to big Joe Jimenez to wrap the ninth and wrap it, he did! West Michigan secures its sixth Midwest League Championship to conclude their second consecutive postseason journey behind manager Andrew Graham.
Ross Seaton: Following a shaky outing earlier in the postseason, Seaton mowed down seven at the plate against Cedar Rapids, fighting through 6 2/3 innings.
Kade Scivicque: The struggles continued for Scivicque through Game 5 as the young catcher wasn't able to lock in at the plate. Scivicque finished the night, going 0-4 at the plate.