LUMBERKINGS 9, BEES 5: Offense wakes up late

Photo: Kevin Maitan rounds the bases after his eighth-inning home run in the Burlington Bees’ 9-5 loss to Clinton. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)

By John Bohnenkamp

It looked as if, for the first six innings of Thursday’s game, that history was going to make another visit to Community Field.

Clinton LumberKings starting pitcher Remey Reed had retired the first 18 Burlington Bees hitters he had faced, but he was done after six innings and 76 pitches.

Reliever Elkin Alcala entered the game, and promptly gave up four runs in the seventh inning.

But it was a little late for the Bees, who fell, 9-5, in the Class A Midwest League game.

For all of the walk-off magic earlier in the week — three wins in the final at-bat, including the 1-0 victory in 10 innings on Tuesday night against Beloit in which four Bees pitchers combined on a no-hitter — Burlington’s offense has been struggling. The Bees had scored just two runs in the last 29 innings before the six zeroes that were put on the scoreboard against Reed.

That changed in the seventh against Alcala, who retired just two of the eight hitters he faced despite entering the game with a 9-0 lead.

“It was good to see we didn’t quit,” said Bees manager Jack Howell as his team heads into the final four games of the season.

Adrian Rondon drove in a run with a double, Justin Jones added an RBI single, and then Keinner Pina drove in two runs with a single.

The Bees’ final run came in the eighth, when Kevin Maitan slammed a solo home run that hit off the scoreboard in right field.

Bees starter Keith Rogalla (1-2) was hit for three runs in the first inning, but retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.

“He had a rough first inning, and then really settled in,” Howell said.

But the Bees were getting nothing from Reed (4-3), who struck out seven.

Clinton third baseman J.D. Osborne drove in five runs, hitting a three-run home run in the first inning and a two-run double in the fifth off Bees reliever Shane Kelso.

The LumberKings (75-60, 42-24) are tied with Kane County for the Western Division lead. The Bees conclude the home portion of the schedule against Clinton at 6:30 p.m. Friday, then play three games at Kane County to end the regular season.

Burlington fell to 66-70 overall, 27-39 in the second half. The Bees have to win out to finish at .500 for the season.

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