On the way home, Daryl Jones stumbled around third and was nearly thrown out but was able to beat the throw.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Jones. “I think there is a little hill or something in the basepath and I just stumbled. My legs were on fire, but I thought there is no way I can get out here so I crawled in there.
“I had to be safe, nobody wanted to go out there and play any more innings. It was good to get a win.”
In addition to scoring the winning run, he hit his first home run of the year for a 4-for-5 night. in addition to a couple sparkling defensive plays at first.
“I’ve just been out there on a more regular basis, which just helps me feel more comfortable,” Jones said of his improving defense.
West Michigan scored in the first two innings of the game and in the fifth inning put three on the board, taking advantage of Wizards’ starter Andy Underwood walking the first two batters of the inning.
Down 5-0, the Wizards rallied in the sixth when Jones singled in a run from third, which was then followed by third baseman Jeremy Hunt’s towering two-run home run to left field to cut the score to 5-3.
In the top of the eighth, the Whitecaps’ catcher homered on the first pitch he saw over the right field fence for his fourth hit of the game against the tiring Underwood. The Whitecaps followed with a single, but Jones, who earlier in the game had made a sparkling leaping play on a liner headed for right field, grabbed another liner from the batter to turn an unassisted double play and followed it up by making a nice play in foul territory to keep the score 6-3.
In the top of the eighth, Jones hit a solo line shot over the left field wall to close the gap.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit,” Jones began, “but I’ve just kept working and working. Yesterday, I felt pretty good at the plate, even though I didn’t get any hits; it’s just a question of being comfortable up there.”
In the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs and down by two runs, the Wizards rallied, stringing together back-to-back singles followed by a big pinch hit walk by Michael Epping, who came back from a 1-2 count.
Center fielder Cedric Hunter then delivered a clutch opposite filed single, a “ducksnort”, to drive in two runs and tie the game.
“I knew in that situation I wasn’t going to see anything inside, so I was looking to just hit the ball where it was pitched,” said Hunter.
After a scoreless tenth by closer RJ Rodriguez, Jones led off the bottom of the inning with a hard hit single down the right field line to set up Hunt with the game winning hit.
“I was just looking for fastballs early in the count and just trying to hit the ball hard,” said Hunt. “I love situations where the pressure is on and I knew the guy was going to challenge me.”