We’re going to start with Myrtle Beach tonight because that’s tonight’s big story. It was also tonight’s best game.
It’s the end of the first half for the lower three full-season teams.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans defeated the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (White Sox), 8-7 in ten innings. With the win, the Pelicans won the Carolina League South Division first-half title.
Staff ace Luis Devers picked a bad time to have his worst start since early April and to give up his first two home runs of the season. Devers put the Pelicans in a 6-1 hole after allowing six runs on nine hits over six innings. He allowed two solo home runs to TJ Gladney. Devers struck out six and walked one.
The Pelicans trailed 6-1 after six innings, but they scored twice in the top of the seventh and four times in the top of the eighth to take a 7-6 lead. Felix Stevens hit a two-run home run in the eighth and then later in the inning, Josue Huma doubled home two more. Huma had also singled home a run in the seventh.
Angel Hernandez started the ninth inning and walked the first batter. After he struck out the next batter, he exited for Johzan Oquendo. Pinch-runner James Beard stole second on Oquendo and after a strikeout and a walk, Oquendo uncorked two wild pitches to bring home the tying run. Oquendo then struck out the final batter of the inning to send it to extras.
After the Pelicans scored in the top of the tenth, Oquendo stayed in the game and got the win, despite giving up a blast to Gladney that would have been his third home run of the game and a walk-off winner had it not gone foul. Oquendo then struck out Gladney and another batter with the automatic runner on third base to clinch the title.
The final line on Oquendo was no runs on no hits over 1.2 innings. He did allow one crucial inherited runner thanks to two wild pitches. He struck out three and walked one.
Ezequiel Pagan gave the Pelicans an early 1-0 lead with a solo home run in the second inning. It was his sixth home run this year. Pagan went 3 for 4 with a double and a walk. He had just one RBI, but he scored three runs, none of which were more important that this one in the top of the tenth after he started the inning on second as the automatic runner.
Now Pagan somehow, someway scores the go-ahead run in extras! pic.twitter.com/q39Y9PUaGf— Brad (@ballskwok) June 24, 2022
That one makes my head spin.
Stevens’ two-run home run in the eighth inning was also his sixth this year. Stevens went 1 for 5.
Second baseman Huma was 3 for 5 with a double and the three RBI.
The Pelicans needed this comeback win because the Charleston RiverDogs beat the Columbia Fireflies 3-2. Columbia actually led this game 2-0 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and no one on, but a double, a single and a walk-off two run home run put the pressure on Myrtle Beach late.
The Pelicans will now play in the Carolina League playoffs at the end of the season. They finished the first half with a record of 47-19. the best in minor league baseball.
THIS IS FUN, WE’RE HAVING FUN. pic.twitter.com/pb6nJz1FXa— Myrtle Beach Pelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) June 24, 2022
The Iowa Cubs were shattered by the Louisville Bats (Reds), 3-0.
Starter Robert Gsellmen threw five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. He struck out three and walked no one.
Brendon Little gave up two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and took the loss. Little pitched two innings and allowed the two runs on three hits. He struck out two and walked no one.
David Bote played six innings at second base and was 1 for 2 and was hit by a pitch. His single came off rehabbing Nick Lodolo.
The Tennessee Smokies clouded over the Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds), 6-2.
Javier Assad started and got his fourth win of the season against just one loss. Assad allowed just one run on eight hits over 5.1 innings. (But really, he allowed the one run on a third-inning home run. The other seven hits were irrelevant.) Assad walked two and struck out three.
The Smokies took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on a home run by DH Bryce Ball. It was Ball’s eighth home run of the year. He went 1 for 3 with a walk tonight.
Left fielder Yonathan Perlaza added to the Smokies lead with a two-run home run in the fifth inning. It was also Perlaza’s eighth home run of 2022. Perlaza went 3 for 4. He scored twice and had the two runs batted in.
The Smokies finished the first half in second-place, four games behind first-half winner Rocket City with a record of 36-30.
South Bend Cubs
The South Bend Cubs turned the hoses on the Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals), 9-6 in ten innings.
Starter Jordan Wicks got into trouble in the second inning and didn’t make it out of the inning. His final line was three runs on four hits over 1.2 innings. One of the three runs was unearned. Wicks walked one and struck out two.
Walker Powell pitched the top of the tenth inning and got the win. He gave up a one-out single that scored the automatic runner, but then ended the inning with a double play. Powell’s line was one unearned run on no hits. He did not walk or strike anyone out.
Catcher Pablo Aliendo hit a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth inning. It was Aliendo’s third home run this season. He was 2 for 5.
DH Jake Washer hit a two-run home run in the second inning, his sixth of the season. Washer also hit a game-tying double in the bottom of the tenth and scored on Aliendo’s home run. He was 2 for 5.
Right fielder Johnathan Sierra was a perfect 4 for 4 and was intentionally walked in the tenth inning. Sierra scored twice and had one RBI.
Left fielder Owen Caissie was 2 for 4 with a walk and three runs scored.
With the win, South Bend finishes the first half with a winning record of 34-32. That earned them third place in the Midwest League West Division, nine games behind first-place Cedar Rapids.
Here are the highlights. Aliendo with an epic bat flip and walk around the bases.
Beating Diamondbacks Black 8-2 in the sixth inning.