Kevin Medrano’s walk-off single to left capped off an extra-inning thriller on Mother’s Day afternoon as the South Bend Silver Hawks defeated the West Michigan Whitecaps 2-1 in ten innings. With the infield in, Medrano’s single scored center fielder Socrates Brito from third base to win the Sunday matinee.
Brito led off the tenth inning with a line drive single to center field. He advanced around to third base on an errant pickoff throw by West Michigan (15-18) reliever Chad Smith (0-2) that went into the South Bend (21-11) bullpen. The Whitecaps then intentionally walked third baseman Brandon Drury and left fielder Alex Glenn to load the bases with nobody out. Medrano then grounded a 1-0 pitch through the left side for the game-winning hit for the Midwest League Eastern Division-leading Silver Hawks.
West Michigan, the Class-A Affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, took the lead in the top of the second inning against South Bend starting pitcher Brad Allen. First baseman Jeff Holm led off the inning with a line drive single to left field. With designated hitter Lance Durham at the plate, Holm swiped second base. Durham then singled to right field, moving Holm to third base with nobody out. West Michigan catcher Adolfo Reina hit a bouncer to shortstop that scored Holm from third to give the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead. Allen was able to induce a double play grounder from shortstop Jared Reaves to escape the inning with no further damage.
South Bend, the Class-A Affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, tied the game in the third thanks to the bottom of the order. Right fielder Mike Lang led off the inning with a triple to the left-center field wall. Number nine hitter and shortstop Pedro Ruiz grounded a base hit through the left side to score Lang and even the score at one.
The game belonged to the pitchers after the third inning. Whitecaps starter Charlie Gillies tossed six innings, scattering eight hits and allowing just one run. He was aided by a 2-for-12 South Bend performance with men in scoring position. After surrendering a run in the second inning, Allen faced the minimum the rest of the way for the Hawks. He retired 21 of the last 22 hitters he faced, only allowing Durham to reach base when he hit him with a pitch in the fifth inning. Durham was quickly erased on a 5-4-3 double play hit into by Reina. Allen threw the first nine innings for the Hawks, allowing only two hits and one run while striking out nine Whitecaps.
The Hawks threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Third baseman Brandon Drury led off the inning with a ground ball single up the middle. Left fielder Alex Glenn hit a high chopper off the turf that bounded over the first baseman’s head and into right field, advancing Drury around to third base. The Whitecaps were able to get out of the jam when Drury got hung up between third and home on second baseman Kevin Medrano’s ground ball to third. Gillies then recovered to strike out Hawks catcher Roidany Aguila and get an easy groundout from first baseman Carter Bell.
Brennan Smith came on in relief of Gillies to start the bottom of the seventh inning for the Whitecaps. He threw two shutout innings before giving way to Chad Smith in the bottom of the ninth. Frank Santana (4-0) entered the game in the top of the tenth inning for the Hawks and earned the win. He surrendered a one out single to second baseman Devon Travis, extending Travis’ hitting streak to twenty games. Travis was erased on the next pitch as Holm bounced into a 4-6-3 double play.
The two teams will contest the rubber game of the series on Monday morning at 10:35am. It’s School Day at the Cove as Michiana children will descend on Coveleski Regional Stadium for one of the Silver Hawks’ annual field trip games. Jordan John (1-2, 3.90 ERA) will start on the mound for the Whitecaps while Jesse Darrah (2-2, 4.25 ERA) gets the start for the Hawks.