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comments West Michigan Whitecaps explode in ninth to beat Cedar Rapids

Apr 18th, 2014 - Sports News

Mlive– Following back-to-back walk-off extra-inning losses on Tuesday and Wednesday, the West Michigan Whitecaps were not about to let another game slip away on Thursday night.

After giving up the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, the ‘Caps stormed back for four runs in the top of the ninth and prevailed for a 7-3 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Whitecaps nearly led wire-to-wire, taking a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning before the Kernels tied the score on a two-run double by Logan Wade.

Determined to avoid a third straight extra-inning game, West Michigan went back to work with the score tied at 3-3.

Wynton Bernard led off the top of the ninth with a towering double off the left field wall and was promptly bunted to second by Harold Castro. With the infield in, Javier Betancourt lined the next pitch to right-center for the go-ahead single.

Raph Rhymes reached base on a fielder’s choice that put runners at first and second and Dominic Ficociello followed with a base hit through the middle. Center fielder Jason Kanzler couldn’t handle the baseball, allowing both Betancourt and Rhymes to score as Ficociello raced all the way to third. Ben Verlander added a sacrifice fly to cap the four-run, four-hit rally and push the lead to 7-3.

Betancourt.jpgJavier Betancourt was 3-for-5 with the go-ahead RBI-single on Thursday. The 18-year-old phenom leads the Midwest League with 22 hits through 14 games.

Jon Maciel (1-0) earned the win with four innings of relief. The 21-year-old right-hander allowed two runs – one earned – on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

He took over after five strong innings from starter Jonathon Crawford, who limited the Kernels to one run on three hits over five innings. Crawford, the Detroit Tigers’ first-round pick in 2013, has allowed just one run over 10.1 innings in his last two outings.

Betancourt led the offensive attack with a 3-for-5 night, notching his eighth multi-hit effort through 14 games and increasing his league-leading hit total to 22. Bernard and Brett Harrison each had two-hit games and Verlander added a pair of RBI to increase his team-leading total to 10.

Hudson Boyd (2-1) suffered the loss. After Cedar Rapids relievers Brandon Bixler and Brandon Peterson combined for five shutout innings, Boyd was roughed up for four runs on four hits in the ninth.

The Whitecaps continue their six-game road trip with the middle game of a three-game series against the Cedar Rapids Kernels at 7:35 p.m. ET on Friday night.

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