The West Michigan Whitecaps and the Beloit Snappers became the second-half wild-card teams with wins on Monday, the last day of the regular season.
The Whitecaps beat the Fort Wayne TinCaps 3-2 in 10 innings, in a play-in game of sorts whose winner would advance to the playoffs. The Whitecaps will face the Great Lakes Loons in their opening series, which begins Wednesday at West Michigan. The Loons will host the second game and, if necessary, the third game of the best-of-three series.
To advance to the playoffs, the Snappers not only needed to win their game against the Cedar Rapids Kernels, but they also needed the Kane County Cougars to lose to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The Rattlers beat the Cougars 4-1 in a rain-interrupted game that finished well before the Snappers-Kernels game got underway. In fact, all other Midwest League action was finished well before the game in Beloit began over six hours after it was scheduled to start. (There was so much rain in southern Wisconsin that afternoon, the game surely would’ve been cancelled if it didn’t have playoff implications.) So by the time the game began, the Snappers knew what they had to do — win to get in — and they did it, beating the Kernels 3-2.
The Kernels will return to Beloit on Wednesday for the opening game of their first-round playoff series. Cedar Rapids will host the second game and, if necessary, the third game of the series.
The other two first-round matchups pit the Chiefs vs. the River Bandits (Peoria hosts Game 1 before the series shifts to Quad Cities) and the Hot Rods vs. the Lugnuts (Lansing hosts Game 1 before the series shifts to Bowling Green).
The first-round games will be played Wednesday through Friday.