As it turns out, the Clinton LumberKings were playing possum Wednesday night at Modern Woodmen Park.
After spotting Quad-Cities a 4-0 lead, the LumberKings rallied for five runs in the sixth inning before ending a six-game losing streak with a run in the top of the ninth to earn a 6-5 Midwest League win over the River Bandits.
“We have our new mascot,’’ Clinton manager Scott Steinmann said. “I think we’ve found our new mascot, a possum.’’
The LumberKings did seem to come to life after an opossum sprinted out of the dugout and onto the field in the bottom of the fifth inning with Quad-Cities leading 4-0.
Play was halted for three minutes as the grounds crew at Modern Woodmen Park chased the animal across the infield, eventually trapping it under a trash can and carting it off the field to high fives from the Clinton players.
Once play resumed, the LumberKings bunched together five hits following a leadoff walk in the sixth and scored five runs, taking a 5-4 edge on an RBI single by Jeff Zimmerman which came after a two-run triple by Chantz Mack and a run-scoring triple by Marcus Littlewood.
The River Bandits tied the game in the bottom half of the sixth on a Marc Wik sacrifice fly, but Mack sent the LumberKings home with a win in bizarre fashion in the ninth.
With the bases loaded and one out, Luis Caballero scored when Quad-Cities shortstop Thomas Lindauer slid and opted to catch what turned into a sacrifice foul pop out by Mack.
“Caballero did a great job of tagging on that once he saw the guy slide,’’ Steinmann said. “He made a great read and got us the run we needed. We’ve needed something like this. Maybe it will get us going.’’
The comeback for Clinton came after the River Bandits used a pair of two-run homers to lead early.
“This was is a tough one to lose, to get up the way we did and then not be able to hold on,’’ said Quad-Cities outfielder Brett Phillips, who homered in his fifth consecutive game. “It shows us that you have to keep working. Nobody is going to hand us anything.’’
LumberKings starter Seon Gi Kim had struck out six and not allowed a hit before the fourth when Chase McDonald singled with one out.
A.J. Reed followed with a towering two-run blast to right, the second homer the 2014 college player of the year has hit since first playing for Quad-Cities on Monday.
Phillips then doubled the lead an inning later, homering to right-center after Wik had doubled to give the River Bandits a short-lived four-run advantage.
“I’m just looking for good pitches to hit,’’ Phillips said. “I’m not really trying to get the ball out of here. I’m looking for something to put in the gap and it’s just been carrying for me. It’s been fun the last few days, but you know, I’d rather win.’’