Dragons fall to Loons on walk-off grand slam in 9th

Pregame fun at the Dayton Dragons game at Day Air Ballpark Wednesday night April 20, 2022. MARSHALL GORBY \STAFF

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Pregame fun at the Dayton Dragons game at Day Air Ballpark Wednesday night April 20, 2022. MARSHALL GORBY \STAFF

Great Lakes’ Aldrich De Jongh drilled a walk-off grand slam home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Loons rallied from a 7-0 deficit to defeat the Dragons 11-8 on Sunday at Dow Diamond in Midland, Mich. Great Lakes scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth.

The Loons won four of the six games in the series.

The Dragons took a lead in the top of the first inning with three runs, built the lead to 7-0 by the third inning, and took an 8-5 lead to the bottom of the ninth.

Facing Dragons closer Donovan Benoit, the Loons got two quick hits in the ninth inning before Jonny DeLuca doubled off the left field fence to drive in two runs and make it 8-7. After a walk and a single loaded the bases with one out, Benoit got a strikeout for the second out of the inning and was one out away from escaping with the save. But he fell behind De Jongh, and on a three-one pitch, De Jongh launched a home run to right-center field to end the game.

Great Lakes had erased a 6-0 deficit on Friday to defeat the Dragons, the first time Dayton had lost a game in which they led by six since 2017.

The Dragons jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning when Tyler Callihan tripled with one out, Mat Nelson was hit by a pitch, and Daniel Vellojin drilled a three-run home run to center field to make it 3-0.

In the second, the Dragons added three more runs. Jose Torres blasted a home run to lead off the inning. Ashton Creal walked with one out, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a double off the center field wall by Quin Cotton. Cotton eventually scored on Vellojin’s ground out to make it 6-0. The Dragons scored on a wild pitch in the third to extend their lead to 7-0.

Great Lakes scored three in the third, one in the fourth, and one in the seventh to cut the Dayton lead to 7-5. Torres hit his second home run of the game in the top of the eighth to give Dayton an 8-5 lead.

Benoit, who had allowed just one earned run in his last six appearances, suffered his first blown save of the year, allowing all six runs in the ninth inning.

Torres was 3 for 4 and Vellojin was 2 for 5 with four RBI.

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