May 6th, 2014 - Sports News
(Mlive)– The West Michigan Whitecaps walked into the record books Monday.
Raph Rhymes took ball four on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 18th inning to give the Whitecaps a 4-3 victory against Lake County and end the longest extra-inning game in franchise history.
The record –setting game lasted three minutes shy of five hours, and the celebration matched the mood. As Willy Adames plated the winning run, the Whitecaps slowly trotted over to him and Rhymes was greeted by a single bump from center fielder Tyler Gibson.
The game, the first of a six-game homestand, broke the previous record of 17 innings, reached in 1996 and 2005. Both were also wins.
The game also surpassed the longest extra-inning home game. The Whitecaps lost 2-0 in 16 innings to Beloit in May, 2006.
It also came after the teams traded runs in the 17th inning.
“It’s just a case of enduring,” manager Andrew Graham said. “Mentally you have to try and keep your focus. The other team, when they’re throwing position players, they’re all relaxing and having fun out there and we had to try and stay patient.”
But patience was difficult after that many innings. In the 17th, the Captains scored against Matt Davenport, who threw five innings of relief, on a single by Brian Ruiz.
Then Ruiz, a career outfielder who was the designated hitter, pitched the 17th. Throwing in the mid-70s, he got one out, walked the bases loaded, got Dominic Ficociello to pop out and then walked Harold Castro to tie the game. But Ben Verlander hit into a fielder’s choice.
Will LaMarche, the Whitecaps’ sixth and last pitcher available, pitched a quiet 18th.
In the 18th, Cody Ferrell, who was in left field, became the second position player on the mound. He allowed a leadoff walk to Adames, who moved to second on a roller to first by Tim Remes and walked Jose Zambrano.
After Tyler Gibson popped up to third, Javier Betancourt walked to load the bases. Rhymes, took a strike on 3-1, then got a low fastball at 80 mph for the game winner.
“It is hard to stay patient,” Rhymes said. “You want to get anxious and drive in that run. But at the same time, you have to be patient.”
Catcher Tim Remes caught six pitchers and all 18 innings.
“The pitchers did well,” he said. “I blocked two balls all night. But the temperature kept dropping, kept getting colder. After a while you just want to get out of there.”
The Whitecaps had 12 hits, but didn’t get a runner to third from the second inning – when they scored two runs – until the 17th.
Adames had three hits and scored two runs.
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