It wouldn't be a Tigers minor league evening without at least one team taking their outing into extras. In a way befitting the final night of the regular season for four of the minor league affiliates, two programs went the extra mile and successfully strong-armed their way to a free baseball victory. Extra innings aside, it was a night of milestones and accomplishments as the Mud Hens said goodbye to manager Larry Parrish in his final game with Toledo. Parrish departs with 43 years of experience and being known as the winningest manager in Mud Hens franchise history.
The Erie SeaWolves entered their final evening with outfielder Wynton Bernard a step away from the SeaWolves' franchise single-season hits record. Though falling a pair of hits shy of tying the record set by Omar Infante in 2001, Bernard still managed to become one of only two SeaWolves players to collect 160 hits in a season. The closing ovation from the fans was more than he could have hoped for.
"That ovation was so special," Bernard said. "I just took a moment to realize how far I've come and how much this year and the fans meant to me."
Toledo Mud Hens 4, Columbus Clippers 2 (F/15) (box)
Warwick Saupold (1-2, 4.43 ERA) recorded seven strikeouts through six innings of work, but it took an additional six pitchers behind him to maneuver through a 15 inning performance. Miguel Gonzalez and Steven Moya combined for five of the 10 hits overall for Toledo, but it was a two-run blast from Trayvon Robinson in the top of the 15th inning that secured a career finale victory for Larry Parrish. The Mud Hens conclude their season with a final record of 61-83.
Erie SeaWolves 8, Bowie Baysox 3 (box)
Amidst the buzz surrounding the record chase by Wynton Bernard, the SeaWolves showed up in force to ensure a finale that the fans wouldn't forget. Austin Kubitza (9-13, 5.79 ERA) held Bowie to one run over his six innings of work, fanning five. Despite a late push from the Baysox, the Erie offense closed the door with quick work, compiling 12 hits on the night, including multi-hit campaigns from Wynton Bernard, Austin Green and Harold Castro. With the win, the SeaWolves conclude their season with a final record of 64-78.
West Michigan Whitecaps 3, Great Lakes Loons 1 (F/10) (box)
With the smell of the Midwest League playoffs already in the air, Whitecaps shortstop A.J. Simcox led the West Michigan offense on Monday with four of the team's eight hits overall in their regular season finale with Great Lakes. Spenser Watkins (0-0, 3.38 ERA) fanned six, allowing only one run in 6 2/3 innings. Going into the 10th inning, a wild pitch from the Loons combined with a sacrifice fly from Michael Gerber proved to be the recipe for a West Michigan victory. West Michigan concludes the regular season with a record of 75-64.
Tri-City ValleyCats 6, Connecticut Tigers 1 (box)
A four-run third inning from the ValleyCats off Connecticut reliever Matt Davenport (1-0, 5.09 ERA) gave Tri-City an early leg up against the Tigers. Following a pair of innings from starter Michael Vinson (0-1, 1.93 ERA), Davenport surrendered four runs off eight hits and the Connecticut offense was not able to match the pace. Jose Zambrano and Jacob Kapstein combined for four of the 10 Tigers' hits, but a single run caused Connecticut to fall short in the season finale. The Tigers conclude the regular season with a record of 35-38.
Whitecaps: The Whitecaps will kick off game one of the Midwest League playoffs at Fifth Third Field against Fort Wayne at 6:35 pm on September 9, before heading to Fort Wayne for games two and three. You can order Whitecaps playoff tickets here.