West Michigan Whitecaps secure Midwest League Wildcard

Editor's note: Emily Waldon will be providing regular minor league recaps to keep you updated on what's happening in the Tigers' farm system. Be sure to follow Emily on Twitter at @wefoundwaldo2!

They're in.

It may only be two words, but it's two words that the West Michigan Whitecaps (39-28) heard for the third consecutive year, letting them know they had secured another Midwest League playoff berth under the management of Andrew Graham.

After taking the first pair of a four-game road series against the Lansing Lugnuts (36-34), West Michigan entered Sunday afternoon with a first half Division title on the line in the series finale in Lansing.

Whitecaps red-hot lefty Matt Hall (8-0, 1.09 ERA) got the nod to start the night, carrying his perfect record to the hill. A wild pitch and throwing error from West Michigan worked to the favor of the Lugnuts for two quick first innings runs.

Hall worked five innings for West Michigan, allowing three runs off seven hits and striking out five for the Whitecaps. Offensively, Hall was backed by a pair of doubles from Will Allen and Jose Zambrano, combined with the continued streak of Will Maddox, who drove his first home run of the year in the eighth to tie up the game at three runs apiece.

The seesaw battle carried into the 11th inning tied at four when Lansing catcher
Ryan Hissey punched an RBI double off West Michigan right hander Jordan Smith (4-3, 4.53 ERA) to give the Lugnuts the boost they needed to take the series finale from West Michigan.

With the loss, the Whitecaps receive a first half division wildcard position that will be played out in a best-of-three series beginning on September 7. This marks the second consecutive year that West Michigan has earned a wildcard slot, with the Whitecaps carrying their second half wildcard assignment in 2015 all the way to their first Midwest League title since 2007.

Final: Lansing Lugnuts 5, West Michigan Whitecaps 4 (F/11)

Coming up next: The Midwest League All-Star break begins on Monday, with West Michigan returning to regular season play on Thursday, June 23 to begin an additional four-game road series against the Lugnuts. The Midwest League All-Star Game will feature five members of the Whitecaps roster, including, Gerson Moreno, Matt Hall, Kyle Dowdy, David Gonzalez and Will Maddox. Game is slated for 7:05pm on Tuesday, June 21 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

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