Both Potomac and Hagerstown lost last night and were eliminated from the playoffs to close the books on the 2016 Washington Nationals minor league season.
Lynchburg 3 Potomac 1
• Crownover (L, 0-1) 6+ IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 2BB, 4K
• Orlan 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Abreu 2-4, R, 2B
• Page 1-3, BB
The P-Nats never led this one, falling behind 1-0 after four innings and 3-0 after seven. They got the tying runs to the plate in both the 8th and 9th innings, but plated just one run with Bryan Mejia’s two-out double in the 9th. For the game, Potomac was 1-for-9 with RISP and left on seven. Osvaldo Abreu was the sole batter not to whiff as the P-Nat batters fanned 12 times total, including three times swinging in the 1st.
Matthew Crownover did his part, pitching into the 7th and giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks while striking out four, but was saddled with the loss. Gilberto Mendez came on with a runner on first that reached on Raudy Read error and retired just one of three batters before Lynchburg sent him packing with a two-run homer that proved to be the difference. R.C. Orlan got the last five outs in as many batters faced, but the offense couldn’t match his effort.
The loss was the first time Potomac had failed to reach the Mills Cup finals since 2011, when the P-Nats fell to the Keys 3-2 in the then (much more fair) best-of-five Divisional series. Lynchburg will now face the defending Carolina League champs Myrtle Beach, which upset (well, see previous parenthetical) Salem to win both Game 3 and the C.L. South Division series, 2-1.
Lakewood 5 Hagerstown 2
• Watson (L, 0-1) 4⅔ IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K
• Peterson 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Sagdal 2-4, R, HR, RBI
• Beckwith 2-3, RBI
Likewise, Hagerstown fell behind 2-0 before they even came to bat and were never able to catch Lakewood, which took the game, 5-2 and swept the series, 2-0. Tyler Watson, who was making just his fifth Low-A start, was predictably knocked around for three runs on six hits and two walks over four and 2/3rds innings to wear the “L.” Jake Johansen got the last out of the 5th and pitched into the 7th before he ran out of gas. He left with runners on first and second but Mariano Rivera could not strand them as he gave up a two-out, two-run triple that effectively put the game out of reach.
Offensively, the Suns did little after Ian Sagdal led off the game with a HR to cut the deficit to 2-1. Blake Perkins followed with a single but a double play stopped the momentum, as did twin-killings in the 5th and 6th innings. Hagerstown managed just seven hits total and drew just one walk. The heart of the lineup – nos. three through seven – went 0-for-17 and accounted for four of the six batting strikeouts and both runners stranded in scoring position with two outs.
The first-round exit was the first for Hagerstown since 2012, when they were also swept by Greensboro. Lakewood gets an extra day off as they await the outcome of the Sally South series, which was tied up when Rome blew a 3-0 lead and lost 4-3 to Charleston to force a Game 3 tonight.