CLINTON — The Midwest League’s championship series got off to a wild start Wednesday night.
Really, really wild.
The Clinton LumberKings benefited from the mistakes of the Great Lakes Loons to score eight runs in the fourth inning and continued on to claim a 15-6 victory in the opening game of the best-of-five series.
Loons pitchers issued nine walks and threw six wild pitches just in the first six innings alone, and the visitors mixed in four errors on defense. Great Lakes used seven pitchers in the game and each of them allowed at least one run. Five of them had at least one wild pitch.
D.J. Peters gave Great Lakes the early lead with a three-run home run in the top of the first inning but things began to get wild soon after that. Clinton scored two runs in the bottom of the inning, both on wild pitches.
Great Lakes reclaimed a 5-3 lead with two runs in the top of the fourth before the crazy bottom of the fourth, which included five walks, two more wild pitches and pair of Loons errors. Rayder Ascanio drove across two runs with a single and a three-run double by Connor Hale later in the inning made it 11-5.
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Righthander Dennis Santana allowed five runs in the inning despite giving up just one hit. He walked four of the six men he faced and threw three wild pitches.
Zach McKinstry hit another homer for the Loons in the sixth but the LumberKings kept adding more runs. Chris Mariscal singled after an Ascanio triple in the seventh and Ascanio doubled in two more runs in the eighth, then scored on a Mariscal triple.
The 20-year-old Ascanio, hitting ninth in the batting order, produced three hits and drove in four runs.
The series continues with a 6:30 p.m. game tonight at Ashford University Field before shifting to Midland, Michigan, for Game 3 on Saturday.