That morning in the Great Lakes Loons staff entrance, it was as if these props (conspicuous as they may be) were only there to provide an early morning encouragement for the ready-to-do staffers. But there was more to the story…
Lou E. Loon would like to thank all of the Loons staff for participating and his orange friend Parker for the idea. Happy Halloween everyone!
Finishing what we started last week, Loons blog From the Nest now presents Part 2 of the Top Ten Loons Games from last season. If you missed games 10 through 6, you can view them here.
5. ‘Patterson’s All-Star Delivery’ – 6.18.2011
With playoff implications looming, the Loons benefited from a solid pitching performance by Red Patterson in a 1-0 win over Fort Wayne, just three nights before he would take the hill in Davenport, Iowa, to represent the Loons as a Midwest League All-Star. The right-hander cruised through eight scoreless innings, tossing seven strikeouts to no walks and limiting the TinCaps to three hits. Patterson was set to start the ninth inning, having only thrown 88 pitches, but the Loons grabbed the lead in the bottom of the eighth on an infield RBI-single from Blake Dean to bring out Loons closer Logan Bawcom to pitch in the ninth. The start was Patterson’s last as a Loon, who was promoted to High-A Rancho Cucamonga on June 25. Full Story / Video Highlights
4. ‘No Regular Human’ – 7.22.2011
The Loons found power in this series-ending game against the Beloit Snappers in the big bat of first baseman Chris Jacobs, who led the team to an early 2-0 lead with his first home run of the game. The Snappers retired the Loons next eight batters, only to bring up Jacobs again, who blasted another homer, this time a solo shot. Outfielder Nick Akins hit a two-run jack later in the game, but in the postgame interview he gave all the credit to Jacobs on his big day saying, “”In my case, [Soliman] made a mistake…but with ‘Jake’ (Jacobs), he takes it past the point of being a regular human being…You can see my ball go over the fence, but you need NASA to find his.” The Loons 5-2 win gave the team the three-game sweep over Beloit. Full Story / Video Highlights
3. ‘A Slamming End to the Season’ – 9.4.2011
In the second-to-last game of the season, Loons third baseman Jesse Bosnik helped Great Lakes to an early lead with a grand slam in the first inning. Bosnik’s grand slam was his eighth home run of the season and only the second grand slam hit at Dow Diamond by a Loon in 2011. The deep drive scored four of the Loons six runs in the inning, which was enough to edge the South Bend Silver Hawks by the final score of 6-5. The game was the last win of the season for Great Lakes. Full Story / Video Highlights
2. ‘Loons Use the Force’ – 8.20.2011
In perfect cooperation with the Star Wars Night promotion, the Loons ‘forced’ extras in this Saturday night contest against the Bowling Green Hot Rods and won 3-2 in the 10th inning to snap a three-game losing streak. A ground out and a wild pitch allowed the Loons to tie the game in the ninth inning and Blake Dean’s fly out to right field allowed Charlie Mirabal to slide across home plate for the game-winning run. Along with being the pitcher of record, Loons reliever Bret Montgomery extended his impressive shut-out streak to 25.1 innings by pitching for Great Lakes in the tenth inning. His shutout streak eventually ended at 28.1 innings on 8/23, in which he amassed 23 strikeouts during the 14-game stretch. Full Story / Video Highlights
1. ‘Akins’ Moon Shot Winner’ – 7.21.2011
Down 5-0 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, it looked like the Loons were preparing for a loss on July 21 against the visiting Beloit Snappers. But the team made the most of their final six outs and scored six runs over the final two innings in what Loons blog From the Nest considers the Best Loons game of 2011. The final blow was a towering three-run homer by Loons outfielder Nick Akins, who circled the bases, untucked his uniform, tossed his helmet and did a 360-jump (nearly as high as his home run) before landing at home plate, where his elated teammates awaited. Full Story / Video Highlights
Ever since the Loons last swing of the bat on Monday, September 5, Loons blog From the Nest has been working hard to determine which of the team’s 70 home games were the 10 best. It was a difficult task that might not have been possible if it wasn’t for the motivational pick-me-ups often sought after and fulfilled by watching the Rall E Camel video. Thank goodness for that camel. So without further ado…the TOP TEN!
10. ‘Reigning in the Rain’ – 8.2.2011
In a game that was preceded by a 36-minute rain delay (during which our Loons acted as weathermen in the player parking lot) and then again interrupted in the middle of the eighth for a brief 20-minute hiatus, the Great Lakes Loons used a three-run sixth inning to battle back and defeat the Lake County Captains by the score of 4-3. Down 2-0, the Loons hit four two-out singles to take their first lead of the game in the sixth inning. The first hit was off of the bat of Chris Jacobs, followed by a single by Jon Garcia, who advanced to second on the throw to third. Catcher Steve Domecus followed with a single to left field that scored both runners for the 3-2 lead. A walk to Jesse Bosnik moved Domecus to second and he scored on a single from David Iden. The Captains pulled to within one in the eighth inning, before the rain returned. “When the tarp came off, everyone started to focus up a little bit because we knew we had one more inning to play,” said Domecus. The Loons, though wet, held on for their 60th win of the season. Full Story / Video Highlights
9. ‘Third Time’s A Charm’ – 5.21.2011
In this May game, the Great Lakes Loons battled all night, working from behind for most of the game and tying it up three times, before eventually upending the visiting South Bend Silver Hawks 6-4. Down 4-3 late, the Great Lakes Loons loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the eighth inning before catcher Michael Pericht hit a sacrifice fly to left field to tie the game for the third and final time. A wild pitch from South Bend’s Jeremy Erben skipped off home plate to the backstop to score Bobby Coyle and give the Loons their first lead of the game. Second baseman Casio Grider made the inning a little sweeter when he knocked his fourth hit into shallow left field for one more run. Grider, batting lead-off, finished the night four-for-five with two doubles, a run, and two RBI. Full Story / Video Highlights
8. ‘Lou E.’s Big Top Loontacular’ – 7.23.2011
More often than not, it’s about winning baseball games, but sometimes a spectacular promotion is all that it takes to make a great night at Dow Diamond. And on Saturday, July 23, the Great Lakes mascot Lou E. Loon presented 5,822 fans a circus-themed night that made the Loons 8-6 loss to the Timber Rattlers of little concern. The night, billed as Lou E.’s Big Top Loontacular, featured baby tigers on the concourse, a fire-twirler in between innings, and the crew of carnies seen above. The night was capped off by a death-defying performance by the Russian Bar Trio and Fireworks Loontacular. Full Story / Video Highlights
7. ‘Tolleson’s Last Trick’ – 5.11.2011
Barely one month into the 2011 season, it was clear that Loons closer Shawn Tolleson was a special player, and with this come-from-behind victory the team was able to witness his excellence for one final time. Down one run in the bottom of the eighth, the Loons Blake Dean, Nick Akins and Bobby Coyle connected with back-to-back hits giving the Loons a 3-2 lead over the Lansing Lugnuts. Tolleson entered in the ninth to try to convert his 10th and final save opportunity as a Loon. He gave up a lead-off double to start, but then pounced on a bunt pop-up to turn the 1-6 double-play. With one out still to go, Tolleson struck out the final batter for the win, in a fitting end to his tenure as a Loon. He was promoted two days later to High-A Rancho Cucamonga. As a Loon, Tolleson converted all 10 of his save opportunities, picked up one win, and never surrendered an earned run through 15 innings of work. Of Tolleson’s 45 recorded outs, 33 were strikeouts, for an unreal average of 19.8 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Full Story / Video Highlights
6. ‘One for All the Mothers’ – 5.8.2011
On a special day in which most of America celebrated the hard work and generous love of mothers everywhere, the Great Lakes Loons players were making their mothers proud by winning baseball games. The day game saw the Loons off to a quick start and 2-0 lead, but a two-run double by Bowling Green leveled the game late. Still tied in the ninth inning with two outs and a pinch runner on third base, Loons shortstop Bryant Hernandez stepped to the plate and delivered the game-winning single through the gap at second base. In an interview after the game, Hernandez dedicated the game-winning single, “That one’s for all the mothers and my mom.” Full Story / Video Highlights
View Part 2 of the list here, featuring the Top Five games from 2011.