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May 8, 2014 at 8:25 AM

Early Mariners minor league report, May 7 — a crazy Clinton comeback

Joe Glenn, my favorite football coach to ever lead my beloved Montana Grizzlies, used to have his pet sayings. Some were crazy, “Powder River, Let’er Buck!” Some were amusing, “I had 10 brothers and sisters, my mother was Catholic and my father was careless.” And then there was this one, which he used often about large deficits: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at at time.”

Lonnie Kauppila

Lonnie Kauppila

The Clinton LumberKings were staring at a big fat elephant last night in Burlington, Iowa. They were down 17-1 after five innings. So pack it up, call it a game, see you tomorrow, right? Not quite.

The LumberKings answered with six runs in the top of the sixth, added five runs in the eighth and then tied the game in the ninth, scoring five runs – highlighted by Marcus Littlewood’s grand slam. The game went to extra innings. In the 12th inning, Clinton scored three runs to take a 20-17 lead.

And then in the bottom of the 12th, second baseman Lonnie Kauppila, who had three hits on the night, was asked to be the de facto closer with no pitching left.  Kauppila, who had never pitched as a professional, worked a 1-2-3 the 12th, as he picked up his first career save for a remarkable win. 

Unreal.

Some notes … 

  • Here’s the game story from the Clinton Herald with video of manager Scott Steinmann talking about the win.
  • BOX SCORE
  • Here’s the front page of the sports section of the Burlington Hawkeye. Great headline
  • Clinton had 22 hits in 54 at-bats and only struck out eight times.
  • Lead-off man Ian Miller came to the plate eight times and got four hits, scoring three runs.
  • Justin Seager went 4-for-7 with two RBI with a triple.
  • Clinton was 9-for-21 with runners in scoring position,
  • Closer Emilio Pagan pitched three shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out four.

Now let’s get to the other boring games.

Class AAA Tacoma didn’t have a crazy comeback, but the Rainiers picked up a 4-3 win over Reno in an odd way.  Here’s video of a triple from Chris Taylor.

Class AA Jackson snapped a five-game losing streak with a 7-2 win over Huntsville. Starter Trevor Miller went six innings and gave up two runs.

Class A High Desert lost 5-3 in 12 innings to Rancho Cucamonga on a walk-off two-run homer.

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