Even though the current M's season has given us plenty to talk about so far, sometimes it's worth checking in on the day to day stuff that happens in the team's minor league system, especially when it's as remarkable as this. One of the more overlooked organizations among M's farm teams is the Clinton Lumberkings, who don't often have the most high-profile talent, but get a lot of guys passing through on their way to Jackson. Pitchers especially, so they don't get banished to hitter-friendly High Desert like Tyler Pike happened to. They also happen to have one of the best logos in the minors.
Speaking of High Desert, last year they scored 30 runs in a game, and I wrote a little something about it. But even that isn't quite as cool as what the Lumberkings did last night, overcoming an 17-1 deficit (!) in the 5th inning to win the game, scoring the last 19 runs to top the Burlington Bees 20-17 in 12 innings.
The Lumberkings scored six in the 6th, five in the 8th, and another five in the 9th to tie the Bees, then Justin Seager hit into a fielder's choice to send the go-ahead run home in the 12th. A Lonnie Kauppila single brought home the final two runs, and Kauppila then took the mound (normally a second baseman, drafted in the 16th round in 2013) to earn the save in the bottom of the 12th, pitching a 1-2-3 inning. It capped off a 3/6 night for Kauppila, who only carried a .494 OPS going into last night's game. 3 RBIs, a game-cinching single, and a save. God, I love the minors. That's the kind of stuff you carry with you forever, even if he never advances another level.
Kyle Seager's younger brother Justin went 4/7 on the night. He's off to a slow start, but his night brought him up to a .673 OPS. Ian Miller, not to be confused with Productive Outs blogger/Baseball Prospectus writer/musician Ian Miller, got himself 8 at-bats at the leadoff spot and smacked four hits. Every single starter got a hit, and everybody except Tyler O'Neill drove in at least one run.
One final note from the remarkable comeback is the continued dominance of catcher Marcus Littlewood (remember him?) who now has a 1.010 OPS over 20 games. Littlewood was drafted way back in 2010 as a shortstop before being converted to catcher in 2012, where he's finally enjoying a breakout season. Littlewood was originally a second round draft pick and started out as a sleeper prospect of sorts before being mostly forgotten after his bat failed to develop. But Littlewood just turned 22, and he's starting to turn some heads.