Peoria, IL – The Peoria Chiefs committed three errors and were upended in the season-series finale against the Clinton LumberKings 7-6 on Monday afternoon at Dozer Park. The loss drops the Chiefs to 30-27 in the second half but they maintain their 2 ½ game lead in the Wild Card over the Beloit Snappers, who lost on Monday.
After a 35-minute rain delay to start the game, the Chiefs took an early lead against Clinton starter Danny Garcia. With two outs Brian O’Keefe crushed his 14th home run of the season to left field to give Peoria a 1-0 advantage. The 367-foot blast tied O’Keefe with Ryan McCarvel for the team lead.
Clinton took the lead in the second against Peoria starter Bryan Dobzanski thanks to three errors in the inning. Nick Zammarelli led off with a single to left field and Gareth Morgan walked. With one out Jhombeyker Morales singled on a ground ball to second base that Stefan Trosclair got to, but the throw to first was errant and allowed Zammarelli to score. Morgan scored on the play when Chiefs catcher Brian O’Keefe made a throwing error trying to get the out at the plate while Morales went to third. Dimas Ojeda grounded a ball to Kramer Robertson at shortstop, who started a rundown to get Morales, but a fielding error by Dobzanski allowed the run to score to give the LumberKings a 3-1 lead and Ojeda went to second.
The Chiefs cut into Clinton’s lead in the bottom of the inning against Garcia. J.R. Davis led off with a single and with one out stole second and went to third on a throwing error. Mick Fennell drove in Davis with an infield single to bring the Chiefs within a run, 3-2. With two outs, Fennell was caught stealing second to end the inning and the game went into a 21-minute delay for the Solar Eclipse.
Peoria tied the game in the third inning with Garcia returning to the mound. Robertson led off with a double to left field and scored when Evan Mendoza chopped a two-out single to second that hopped over the glove of Morales to tie the game, 3-3.
Clinton re-took the lead against Chiefs reliever Frederis Parra in the fourth. Morgan led off the inning with a long home run to left-center field to put the LumberKings back on top, 4-3.
The Chiefs fought back in the bottom of the fourth against Garcia. Davis led off with a single down the third-base line and McCarvel drove a two-run homer to center field to give Peoria a 5-4 advantage. The two-run shot landed half-way up the batter’s eye in center field and gave McCarvel sole possession of the team lead three innings after O’Keefe had tied him.
The third lead change of the day come in the fifth with Parra still on the bump for the Chiefs. Rizzo led off with a walk and with one out Zammarelli singled to right to give the LumberKings runners at first and second. Nick Thurman came to the plate with two outs and sent his fifth home run of the season of the right field wall. The three-run shot gave the LumberKings a 7-5 advantage.
The Chiefs got a run back in the sixth against Garcia and Clinton reliever Michael Koval. Davis singled against Garcia to lead off and knock the lefty from the game. Koval entered the game and walked McCarvel before Nick Plummer singled to center, loading the bases. Davis scored when Robertson walked to make it a 7-6 game. Trosclair popped out and O’Keefe struck out to end inning while leaving the bases loaded.
Dobzanski went two innings until the Eclipse delay, allowing three runs (all unearned) on two hits with two strikeouts. Frederis Parra (3-6) hurled four innings in a loss while allowing four runs on nine hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Max Almonte tossed two scoreless, hitless innings out of the bullpen with three strikeouts. LeLand Tilley worked one scoreless inning while allowing one hit with two strikeouts.