SOUTH BEND, IN – Wynton Bernard broke the franchise record for hits in a single season on Sunday afternoon, but the West Michigan Whitecaps were unable to hold a ninth-inning lead and eventually lost to the South Bend Silver Hawks, 6-3, on a walk-off home run by Justin Williams in the bottom of the 11th inning at Four Winds Field.
West Michigan (39-23, 80-52) was trailing 2-1 in the top of the seventh when Bernard delivered his historic hit in a key spot. With two outs and Domingo Leyba at third, the league's leading hitter sent a hard-hit grounder through the middle to tie the score at 2-2.
It was the 159th hit of the season for Bernard, eclipsing the previous franchise record of 158 hits shared by Robert Fick (1997) and Nick Castellanos (2011). The speedy outfielder also has the inside track on becoming the first Whitecap to win a batting title since Fick in 1997 and is a candidate to become the first league MVP from West Michigan since Gorkys Hernandez in 2007.