With a pair of two-run rallies in the 8th and 9th innings, the Auburn Doubledays defeated the Williamsport Crosscutters, 9-7 to clinch the Pinckney Division title for the second straight year. They will the No. 3 seed in the New York-Penn League playoffs, awaiting their travel plans to their first-round opponent pending the results of tonight’s games in Batavia and Brooklyn.
Auburn had leads of 2-0 and 5-3 before the bullpen coughed up four runs in the bottom of the 7th to put the Doubledays in a 7-5 deficit. Brandon Miller led off the 8th with a double and Craig Manuel drew a walk to put the tying runs. After pinch-hitting and pinch-running change, the former (Carlos Alvarez) tapping out to third to move up Miller and the latter, Narciso Mesa. Spencer Kieboom delivered the clutch hit with a two-run single to tie it at 7-7.
Tony Renda and Estarlin Martinez both singled to center to set up the go-ahead and insurance runs in the 9th, with a pair of infield singles scoring Renda and pushing Martinez to third. Mesa, who scored the tying run, sent in the final run with a sacrifice fly.
Travis Henke, who had let in two inherited runners in the four-run 7th, finished the game for the dreaded blown-save-win. He was charged with one run of his own on two hits and a walk and struck out two. Blake Monar, who had come off the DL to make start (LHP Jack McGeary was placed back on the DL), was lifted in 4th after suffering an unspecified injury. The Hoosier southpaw gave up three runs on four hits and two walks and struck out three.
Renda and Martinez led the 12-hit attack by going 3-for-5, with Renda scoring three runs and Martinez driving in two.
Auburn finishes out the regular season with another game in Williamsport. Batavia was rained out and will play a doubleheader against Jamestown. The Muckdogs, who trail the Doubledays by 1½ games, must win both games while Brooklyn, which lost to Lowell last night, lose again as the Cyclones hold the tiebreaker in the event of a tie.
Auburn hosts the loser of tonight’s contest between Tri-City and Hudson Valley (the winner will play the wild card) in Game One, then hits the road for Games Two and Three (if necessary).