The Great Lakes Loons (38-38) took the second game of the three game series with the South Bend Silver Hawks (42-33) 5-1 on Wednesday evening at Four Winds Field.
The Hawks took an early lead in the first, but then were unable to bring around any more runs the rest of the way. The Loons pitching staff combined to limit the Hawks to one run on seven hits, while striking out nine.
The South Bend Silver Hawks, Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, struck first with a run in the bottom of the first. Shortstop Andrew Velazquez led off with a single back up the middle to center. With his hit Velazquez reached base safely in his 55th straight game, the current highest streak in baseball. Center fielder Breland Almadova followed with a perfect bunt down the third baseline. Great Lakes starting pitcher Jonathan Martinez (W, 6-5) fielded the ball but his throw to first was not in time to get Almadova. Velazquez advanced to third on the play as he was on the move as Almadova squared around to bunt. First baseman Daniel Palka collected South Bend’s only RBI on the night with a 2-3 groundout. Although taking a full cut, Palka hit the ball straight down in front of the plate where it stuck. Great Lakes catcher Jose Capellan fired to first to get Palka, but the throw back home was not in time to get the speedy Velazquez as he slid in safely for an early 1-0 Hawks lead.
After being shut down by Hawks starter Sean Furney (L, 2-4) through the first three innings, the Great Lakes Loons, Class-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, plated two runs in the top of the fourth. Designated hitter Brandon Trinkwon led off the frame with a single through the hole at second. Trinkwon moved up to second on a 2-3 groundout by first baseman Josmar Cordero. Third baseman Paul Hoenecke followed with a double to the left field corner that brought Trinkwon home for the first Loons run of the ball game. Hoenecke didn’t stay on second for long as right fielder Joey Curletta’s single to right brought Hoenecke home to put Great Lakes in front 2-1.
The Loons added three more runs in the top of the fifth to put the game out of reach. Second baseman Jesmuel Valentin reached on an infield single to short despite Velazquez’s diving stop. Trinkwon’s bat remained hot as he roped a triple to the right field corner to score Valentin. Cordero followed by taking a 2-2 offering from Furney over the left field wall for a two run homer and a 5-1 Loons advantage.
South Bend relievers Tom Jameson and Bud Jeter combined for four innings of scoreless relief. However, despite the bullpen’s efforts and putting runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth, the Hawks were unable to cut into the 5-1 deficit. South Bend left nine runners on base on the night. Martinez tossed six innings, limiting the Hawks to one run on five hits, while striking out five. The Loons bullpen took it from there as Ralston Cash, Matt Campbell, and Victor Araujo each threw scoreless innings and combined for four strikeouts to seal the Great Lakes victory.
The Hawks and Loons settle the three game series Thursday night at Four Winds Field, with the first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. Zachary Bird (4-8, 4.13) is scheduled to start for Great Lakes. John Omahen (2-2, 4.30) will take the mound for South Bend. It’s Thirsty Thursday, Presented by Budweiser, Pepsi and 103.9 The Bear. Enjoy 22 ounce sodas and 16 ounce beers for $2.00 each all night long.
Thursday will also feature a special appearance by Tommy John at Four Winds Field. John is a graduate of Gerstmeyer High School and Indiana State University, both in Terre Haute, Indiana. He played 26 major league seasons with six teams, including eight years with the New York Yankees and seven with the Chicago White Sox. John finished his major league career with a 3.34 ERA and 288 wins, the seventh highest total among left-handers.
Tommy John may be best known today for his revolutionary elbow ligament replacement surgery in 1974, which allowed him to pitch another 13 seasons after what had previously been considered a career ending injury. John retired in 1989 at age 46. Since then hundreds of baseball players’ careers have been extended by Tommy John Surgery.