There are few instances where one team finds themselves leading another by a margin as wide as 16 runs. It’s even rarer to see a team come back from such a deficit. Yet, that is exactly what happened Wednesday evening in a matchup of Class-A affiliates in the Midwest League.
The Burlington Bees, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, came out of the gates tearing the cover off the ball. They scored seven runs in the second, another in the fourth, and then piled nine more onto their total in the fifth inning to give themselves a 17-1 lead after five at home against the Clinton LumberKings, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. Burlington’s offensive spark was done mostly through small ball, working 8 walks and totaling 11 hits through the first five innings of the game. Just two of those hits went for home runs – a solo shot from right fielder Ranyelmy Mendoza and a grand slam from catcher Cambric Moye – with both coming during the 5th inning.
The LumberKings weren’t going to just roll over and give up, however. They responded with their own outburst, scoring six times in the sixth and then five runs each in the eighth and ninth innings to tie things up. Shortstop Zach Shank hit a solo home run in the 6th. Right fielder Burt Reynolds added one in the 8th. Catcher Marcus Littlewood tacked on a grand slam in the 9th.
The game would end up going to extra innings before an outcome could be decided. The LumberKings took full advantage in the 12th. Jeff Zimmerman started things off with a one out double, then moved to third on a single by Joseph DeCarlo. Reynolds would then walk to load the bases. Justin Seager – younger brother to Mariners’ third baseman Kyle Seager – would ground out, scoring Zimmerman with the go-ahead run. Two more would cross the plate on a single by Lonnie Kauppila, the team’s second baseman who would then take the mound and pitch a perfect bottom of the inning for the save.
The two teams would combine for 37 runs on just 35 hits for the day, with 15 walks between them. Neither affiliate is carrying any big-name prospects, but fans in Iowa certainly got their money’s worth from the game despite that.