The first two men reached in the ninth inning for the Schaumburg Boomers before the Frontier League's save leader Eric Massingham stranded both to claim a 4-2 victory for the visiting Evansville Otters at Boomers Stadium on Thursday.
In the game's final inning, Steve McQuail took first after getting hit in the ribs, and Chase Fontaine singled sharply to center to put the Boomers in business with nobody out. After that, Massingham struck out Jereme Milons and got Mike Valadez to hit into the game-ending double play to earn his Frontier League leading 21st save of the season as the Boomers (49-38) took a step back in their quest for a Frontier League playoff berth in their Inaugural Season with a 4-2 loss to the Otters (41-45).
The contest hinged on a spectacular play and another would-be highlight reel play involving the Boomers veteran centerfielder. After the Otters used three straight singles to tie the game at 2-2 in the third, Milons somehow tracked down a ball which seemed destined for the gap in left-center off the bat of Evansville shortstop Taylor Black. Milons caught the ball on a full sprint and fired it towards the infield just as Billy Killian, who began the play at second before being waived home by Manager Andy McCauley at third base, crossed the plate. Karexon Sanchez received the throw from Milons, tagged second base and fired it over to McQuail at first to record the first triple play in Boomers history.
The game-deciding play came in the eighth inning with Milons on the cusp of making another phenomenal defensive play. With a runner on first and two outs, the Starkville, Miss. native leapt above the wall between the Links Technology and Daily Herald billboards in right-center, got his glove on the ball and crashed into the wall. Thinking he had made a game-saving catch, Milons held his glove high in the air as he landed on the ground, but unfortunately for Milons and the Boomers, the collision with the wall jarred the ball loose, and the ball landed on the wrong side of the fence, which resulted in a game-winning 2-run home run for the Otters Nick Schwaner.
Robby Donovan was outstanding for the Boomers on the mound allowing just three earned runs over his innings of work, however Adam Champion outdueled the Schaumburg ace to earn his seventh win of the season for Evansville. Boomers Rookie outfielder Nate Baumann provided the only offense for the Boomers off Champion, with a two-run bomb to left-center in the third, his eighth homer of the season. McQuail's hitting streak reached a season-best 10 games fourth inning single, and Drew Heithoff's base-hit in the seventh extended the second baseman's career-best hitting streak to nine games.
The Boomers travel to Rockford for a three-game set this weekend on the outside looking in for one of the coveted Frontier League playoff spots. RHP Cody Griebling (4-2, 2.77) will look to get Schaumburg back in the win column against LHP Ziggie VanderWall (7-5, 4.77) for Rockford with a 7:05 first pitch. Listen to Tim "Woody" Calderwood call all the action live on WRMN 1410 AM Elgin or online at www.boomersbaseball.com.