Saturday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 7-6 END OF SEASON N/A
Potomac OFF DAY @ Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Bacus (7-6, 4.41)
Dickson (5-9, 4.37) vs.
Bell (6-3, 3.52)
Hagerstown Won, 6-2 OFF DAY N/A


Pawtucket 7 Syracuse 6
• Lively 3⅔ IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 3K
• Grace (BS 1; L, 0-1) 1IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 0BB, 2K
• Burriss 4-5, 2R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• Skole 0-1, 4BB
• Rhymes 2-3, 2R, 2B, 2BB, 2RBI, 2E

The Chiefs led 4-0 early but the bullpen couldn’t stop the PawSox, who rallied for three in the 7th for a 7-6 win and a 3-0 series sweep.
Matt Skole got things started for Syracuse in the 2nd with the first of his four walks drawn, followed by a single by Eury Perez. Will Rhymes busted a double down the right field line for the first two runs, then trotted in ahead of Emmanuel Burriss’s home run for the aforementioned 4-0 advantage. The joy was short-lived as starter Mitch Lively issued four walks in the 3rd to give two runs back, then gave up a leadoff single then a two-out double in the 4th to end his night. Sam Runion got the last out to preserve the 4-3 lead. The Chiefs answered with a run in the bottom of the 4th to take a 5-3 lead and responded again in the 6th when the PawSox got a run in the top of the 6th to go up 6-4. Matt Grace got one quick out by way of the K to start the 7th but then was peppered with a single-double-single sequence, then the second Rhymes error. After a second whiff by former Chief Corey Brown, Grace gave up the gamewinner on an infield single to deep short. Syracuse threatened in the 7th and 8th with two baserunners in each inning but couldn’t get the equalizer. Roster moves: UT Jeff Kobernus recalled to Washington, OF Quincy Latimore reassigned from Harrisburg.

Potomac — OFF DAY
Folks hoping for a rematch of the 2013 Mills Cup matchup will get 2008 instead, as Myrtle Beach shut out Salem, 5-0 to advance to the Carolina League Championship series against Potomac. The Pelicans and the P-Nats, both double-half winners, were the only two teams to finish above .500 in the eight-team circuit. Myrtle Beach won 11 of the 19 meetings, including a three-game sweep in late July at the Pfitz. However, six of Potomac’s eight wins were at BB&T, which was hardly unusual as the team had a better road record (39-26) than at home (39-32), including a 22-9 mark in the second half. The P-Nats have not officially announced a starter, but they have yet to deviate from the previous turn through rotation, hence Dakota Bacus as the probable listed above.

Hagerstown 6 Greensboro 2
• R. Lopez 6IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 10K
• Johns (BS, 2; W, 1-0) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K, 2-2 IR-S
• Napoli (SV, 1) 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 1-0 IR-S
• Difo 3-4, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Masters 2-4, R, 2B, RBI

The Hagerstown ‘pen couldn’t match its brilliance of Game One, blowing a 2-0 lead, but were bailed out when the bats broke out for four runs over the final two innings in a 6-2 win that puts the Suns back in the Sally League Finals for the second straight season. Starter Reynaldo Lopez played entomologist, putting the pin in the Grasshoppers for six shutout innings, with just two hits and a walk allowed while striking a career-best 10 batters. The Suns, however, were only able to get two runs for him, taking advantage of Greensboro error for a run in the 1st, then converted a Wilmer Difo leadoff double into the second score with a pair of flyouts. Nick Lee had more wild pitches (2) than outs (1) when manager Patrick Anderson pulled the plug on him after giving up a single and a walk in the space of three batters. Lee’s replacement, Samuel Johns, couldn’t keep the tying run from scoring with the third wild pitch and a two-out double to tie things at 2-2. The Grasshoppers unwisely hit Difo to start the 8th and Anderson played small ball with a sacrifice, which Spencer Kieboom plated with an RBI single to take a 3-2 lead. Johns gave up a double to begin the last of the 8th when Greensboro made another critical mistake: running into the first out of the inning at third on a grounder to short. Anderson called on southpaw David Napoli to face the left-handed Carlos Lopez, who grounded out to the right-handed Carlos Lopez at first base, then got the next batter on a tapper back to the mound. The Suns broke it open with three in the 9th to put the game away, while Napoli shook off a single to start the bottom of the 9th with a 6-4-3 DP and got the final out on the flyball to center. Hagerstown will head south over the weekend, but won’t know if it’s to Georgia or North Carolina, as the Tourists-Sand Gnats game was suspended in the bottom of the 8th with Asheville, who won Game One, leading 2-1.

Friday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

P-Nats-CLDS-2014

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 8-2 vs. Pawtucket,
7:00 p.m.
Lively (5-2, 3.86) vs.
Owens (3-1, 4.03)
Potomac Won, 4-3 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown OFF DAY @ Greensboro,
7:00 p.m.
R. Lopez (4-1, 1.33) vs.
Sadberry (4-1, 2.65)


Pawtucket 8 Syracuse 2
• McGregor (L, 0-1) 5IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 2K
• Rivero 1IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, K, BK, 32 pitches-17 strikes
• Kobernus 1-2, R, 2B, BB
• Hood 1-3, BB, RBI

With a three-run rally in the 1st, the PawSox continued their domination of the Chiefs as they cruised to an 8-2 win and took a 2-0 lead in the Governor’s Cup semifinals. Starter and loser Scott McGregor gave up four hits and a walk to the seven batters he faced in the 1st, escaping only when Garin Cecchini was dumb enough to try for third with two outs, never mind against the arm of Michael Taylor. McGregor recovered to put up four zeroes in innings two through five. His counterpart, Matt Barnes, stifled the Syracuse bats for seven innings, allowing just two singles and a double. The PawSox showed exactly what happens when late-season AAA team faces an inexperienced AA pitcher, as they torched Felipe Rivero for three runs in the 6th to put the game away. Syracuse got four free passes in the 8th to score twice on just one hit and avoid the shutout. The series shifts to NBT Bank Park for its first-ever playoff game tonight.

Potomac 4 Lynchburg 3
• Rauh (W, 1-0) 6IP, 3H, R, ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Mendez (SV, 2 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K, 2-0 IR-S
• Ballou 2-3, 2R, BB, HR, SF, 2RBI
• Renda 2-4, 2B, BB, RBI
• 0-for-10 RISP, 10 LOB

Isaac Ballou led off the game with a solo HR in the 1st, hit the second of two sacrifice flies in the 4th, and scored on Tony Renda’s two-out double in the 6th as the P-Nats held off a late charge by the Hillcats to take the game, 4-3, and the series 2-0 to advance to the Mill Cup finals for the third time in five years. Brian Rauh made but one mistake in his six innings of work, as Jose Martinez went deep for just the third hit Rauh allowed (hey, that rhymes!). The 23-y.o. walked two and struck out two and was credited with the win. Kylin Turnbull took over in the 7th but struggled, giving up two hits and a walk in the space of four batters. He would be charged with two runs. Bryan Harper let in one of two runners he inherited from Turnbull with a sacrifice fly but struck out the next batter to preserve the 4-3 lead. Lynchburg threatened again in the 8th, getting the tying run to second with two outs on pair of singles. Gilberto Mendez was called upon to put out the fire and got a huge assist from Brandon Miller, who gunned down Kevin Ahrens at the plate for the second straight night. Mendez worked around a one-out error in by Renda to close out the game in the 9th. Myrtle Beach, who lost Game One of the Southern CLDS on a controversial HR, evened it up with a 4-1 win and force a decisive Game Three. Potomac will travel to the winner tomorrow and visit for the first two games of the best-of-five Mills Cup champonship.

Hagerstown vs. Greensboro
Game Two of the Sally North Division series is tonight in Greensboro with Hagerstown needing to to win just one of two possible games. With Lucas Giolito out for the season, Reynaldo Lopez assumes the label of staff ace label and will get the start. Greensboro will send 2014 6th Rd. pick Chris Sadberry to oppose Lopez, who shut out the Grasshoppers for six innings on August 19th.

Thursday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Two out of three

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 2-1 (10 inn.) @ Pawtucket,
7:05 p.m.
McGregor (1-2, 3.91) vs.
Barnes (8-9, 3.95)
Potomac Won, 4-2 vs. Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
Hagerstown Won, 3-2 OFF DAY N/A


Pawtucket 2 Syracuse 1
• Hill 6IP, 7H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K, HBP
• Delcarmen (L, 0-1) 1+ IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, K, WP
• Mattheus 0IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K, 2-1 IR-S
• Solano 3-3, 2B
• Laird 1-4, R, HR, RBI

Gerald Laird tied the game with two out in the top of the 9th, but the sixth Syracuse hit was its final as the PawSox got to the Chiefs ‘pen in the 10th for a 2-1 walkoff win. Taylor Hill got the start and gave up the first Pawtucket run on seven hits and two walks over six innings. Matt Grace followed with two scoreless in the 7th and 8th innings. After failing to convert a leadoff single off Manny Delcarmen in the 9th, the PawSox went one better with a leadoff double in the 10th. Delcarmen spared them the trouble of another sacrifice with a wild pitch, then walked the next batter to set up 1st and 3rd with no outs. Ryan Mattheus was brought in and got neither the K nor a popup as he walked the first batter load the bases, then gave up the game-winning single to center field. Jhonatan Solano singled twice and doubled once while the rest of the Syracuse lineup went 3-for-31 with no walks (despite Matt Skole starting at 1B) and eight whiffs.

Potomac 4 Lynchburg 2
• Silvestre (W, 1-0) 7IP, 5H, R, ER, 3BB, 5K
• M. Rodriguez (H, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Mendez (SV, 1) 1IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, K
• Ballou 1-1, 2R, 2BB, SB, CS, HBP
• Wooten 2-4, 2B, RBI

Hector Silvestre tossed seven strong innings, the offense made hay with the Hillcat bullpen, and the P-Nats relievers weathered a late comeback bid in a 4-2 win. Silvestre gave up one run on five hits and three walks while striking out five. More importantly, he kept the ball in the yard to improve his 2014 record in homerless starts (13) to 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA (vs. 3-8, 6.61 in 12GS). After a hit batsman, a stolen base, and an error plated Isaac Ballou in the 1st for a 1-0 lead, Lynchburg tied with a run in the 6th on a two-out double and a single. Silvestre let up a third straight hit but Brandon Miller and Pedro Severino prevented a second Hillcat run with a 9-2 putout to the end the inning. Randolph Oduber broke the 1-1 tie with a solo shot golfed over the LF fence in the bottom of the 6th. The P-Nats pushed the lead to 4-1 with a Severino double, singles by Ballou and Tony Renda, and an RBI groundout by John Wooten. Manny Rodriguez set ’em down in order in the 8th while Gilberto Mendez wobbled a bit in the 9th, allowing a single and a double for the second Hillcat run before getting pinch-hitter Levi Hyams to tap out to first to end it and earn the save.
Roster moves: 1B Shawn Pleffner activated from 7-Day DL, UT Cody Dent reassigned to Hagerstown.

Hagerstown 3 Greensboro 2
• Suero 4IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 2BB, 3K, 2WP
• Thomas 3IP, 3H, 0R, IBB, 2K
• Napoli (W, 1-0) 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• W. Rodriguez 2-4, R, 2-2B, RBI, SB
• Bautista 2-5, RBI

The Suns were three outs away from getting a 2-0 Columbia necktie, but rallied for three in the bottom of the 9th to pull one of out their ascot and shock the Grasshoppers, 3-2. A three-base error got things going as Carlos Lopez’s would-be flyout was turned into a Little League triple. Lopez scored on a groundout to second by Jimmy Yezzo. David Masters, who had struck out three times in three previous at-bats, drew a walk to restart the offense. Wilman Rodriguez sent him home on his second double of the night to tie it while Rafael Bautista’s second single plated Rodriguez to win it. The comeback made a winner out of David Napoli, who tossed the fifth of five scoreless innings by the Hagerstown bullpen in the top of the 9th. Wander Suero started but was dinged for two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks over four uneven innings. Justin Thomas followed with three goose eggs while Jake Johansen posted his fifth relief appearance without a run scoring in the 8th. Bautista’s single was the lone hit in 14 chances with RISP, including an 0-for-7 mark following doubles by Drew Ward, Rodriguez, Spencer Kieboom, and Lopez.
Roster moves: UT Cody Dent reassigned from Potomac, IF Austin Davidson placed on the reserve list.

Wednesday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse OFF DAY @ Pawtucket,
6:35 p.m.
Hill (11-7, 2.81) vs.
Escobar (0-2, 4.28)
Potomac OFF DAY vs. Lynchburg,
7:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
Hagerstown OFF DAY vs. Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
Suero (4-1, 2.13) vs.
German (9-3, 2.48)


Syracuse vs. Pawtucket — I.L. Division Series
While there has been angst about the Syracuse players “lost” due to callups or being shut down, the Nationals reinforced the Chiefs roster with 1B-3B Matt Skole, LHP Felipe Rivero, RHP Tyler Herron from the 2003 Tigers Harrisburg Senators, and added MLB rehab Ross Ohlendorf. It should also be noted that Tyler Moore hasn’t exactly been a key cog in the Chiefs offense for quite some time (.682OPS since the All-Star break, .621 in August) while Blake Treinen made but three starts in August (1-1, 4.32), in which Syracuse went 19-12 with much of the rag-tag rotation they’re bringing into the playoffs (Hill-McGregor-Lively-Laffey-Espino). The PawSox and Chiefs split their 16 games, including a four-game sweep in late May. Over the past two months, Pawtucket has taken six of nine, though the games have been close: six were decided by two runs or less. The series begins in Rhode Island with the first two and concludes in New York in the best-of-five matchup.

Potomac vs. Lynchburg — C.L. Division Series
It’s a rematch of the 2013 first round series, which the P-Nats won 2-0 but both games were tight, one-run games won in walkoff fashion — 2-1 in 14 innings, 3-2 in regulation. Potomac took 12 of 19 games this season, including the last three on the road in Lynchburg. Pitching matchups have not yet been announced, but if the most recent rotation is used, it’ll be Hector Silvestre, Ian Dickson, and Brian Rauh for the series. Dickson and Matthew Spann have been both red-hot lately (3-1, 1.44 and 2-0, 1.08 respectively over their last five starts) but the hope is that only one will be needed (in theory, Spann could be used on three days’ rest on Friday, though we’re more likely to get an update on Brian Goodwin’s injury) to advance to the Mills Cup where the defending champions (Salem) or the other double-half winner (Myrtle Beach) await.

Hagerstown vs. Greensboro — S.A.L. Division Series
This is third straight playoff appearance for the Suns and the second time they’ve drawn the Grasshoppers as their first-round opponent. Thanks to the Sally League’s travel-influenced schedule, the two teams have played just 11 times despite being in the same division (contrasted to the 204 times they played Lakewood and Delmarva, give or take 150). Hagerstown took six of those eleven, but only one of four games played in the first half, which led to Greensboro’s first-half title and vice-versa as the two teams tied both halves with records of 44-26 and 43-27. Wander Suero gets the ball tonight at the Muni, followed by Reynaldo Lopez in Game 2 on Friday, and Nick Pivetta in Game 3 on Saturday in North Carolina. Should the Suns advance, they could potentially rematch against the defending Sally Lg. champs, Savannah, which plays Asheville in the Southern division series.

Hagerstown Falls To Savannah In Sally League Finals

The Sand Gnats pitchers stifled the Suns for a second straight night, shutting them out 2-0 to take the South Atlantic League Championship, three games to one.

Hagerstown actually outhit Savannah 6-2, but the difference was the walks. Losing pitcher Dakota Bacus gave up three in the space of four batters in the Savannah 4th to load the bases, then Savannah’s Stefan Sabol doubled to left to score the game’s only runs.

Bacus would finish with a line of two runs on two hits and three walks over four innings while striking out four. Ronald Pena followed him on the mound and delivered four perfect innings of relief: 12 up, 12 down with one strikeout.

Hagerstown’s best threat came in the third as Stephen Perez led off with a single to left and two infield hits loaded the bases with nobody out. Sand Gnat starter Stephen Matz escaped the jam by striking out Shawn Pleffner and “Help Me” Wander Ramos and inducing a popup from Mike McQuillan. The Suns 3-4-5 hitters would combine to go 0-for-11 with one walk and nine strikeouts.

Despite the Pena lockdown, Hagerstown would not get another runner into scoring position until the 9th, when Estarlin Martinez pinch-hitter Bryan Lippincott doubled with one out. The 21-y.o. outfielder 23-y.o. infielder would go no farther as Khayyan Norfork became the 13th Sun to whiff for the second out and Pedro Severino popped out in foul territory to end the game.

Savannah’s title is its first as an affiliate of the New York Mets. The Sand Gnats previous title was in 1996. Hagerstown has never won a championship since it joined the Sally League in 1993.

Friday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Thunder Win 2013

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Harrisburg Lost, 11-4 END OF SEASON N/A
Hagerstown Lost, 6-0 @ Savannah, 7:05 p.m. Bacus (1-0, 0.00) vs. Matz (5-6, 2.62)



Trenton 11 Harrisburg 4
• Karns (L, 1-1) 2⅔ IP, 4H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 2K, HBP, WP
• Grace 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Hague 3-4, R, BB, RBI
• Burns 2-4, BB, SB

It’s a painful sight to see — the opposing team celebrating on your home field — but tip your caps to Trenton, who beat Harrisburg 11-4 to win the Eastern League Championship Series. They swept the two division champions by a composite score of 35-16 over six games. The Senators briefly led 1-0 after an RBI single by Justin Bloxom in the 1st, but an epic third-inning meltdown sealed the deal for the Thunder. Nathan Karns worked around walks in the 1st and 2nd innings but couldn’t get the third out in the 3rd, allowing six straight to reach base with two outs beginning with a hit batsman. A single (one run), wild pitch (2nd run), triple (3rd run), double (4th run), and a walk followed to chase Karns. Matt Swynenberg walked a pair to complete the five-run 3rd, then surrendered a two-run shot in the 5th. Harrisburg plated two in their half of the 6th to pull within four at 7-3 but Trenton piled on with another homer in the 8th and three more in the 9th. Harrisburg answered with one in the last of the 9th but it was way too little and way too late.

Savannah 6 Hagerstown 0
• Turnbull (L, 1-1) 5+ IP, 9H, 6R, 6ER, 2BB, 3K
• Harper 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K, 2-0 IR-S
• Lippincott 1-3, BB
• Pleffner 1-4, 2B

Gabriel Ynoa lived up to his billing as the Sally League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher, tossing seven scoreless innings as Savannah shut out Hagerstown, 6-0 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five Sally League Finals. The slender 20-year-old allowed just four hits and one walk, striking out five for the win. Suns pitcher Kylin Turnbull was touched for all six Sand Gnat runs on nine hits and two walks over five-plus innings. Bryan Harper and Justin Thomas combined for three innings of no-hit relief, but the offense, which threatened early with a pair of doubles in the first two innings, stagnated after Isaac Ballou’s two-out single in the 5th with nine up and nine down until Tony Renda reached on a two-out error in the 8th. Bryan Lippincott was only other Hagerstown batter to reach base twice, drawing a walk in the 1st and singling in the 9th.

Thursday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Harrisburg Lost, 5-4 vs. Trenton, 7:00 p.m. Karns (10-6, 3.26) vs. Greene (8-4, 3.18)
Hagerstown OFF DAY @ Savannah, 7:05 p.m. Turnbull (6-5, 3.58) vs. Ynoa (15-4, 2.72)



Trenton 5 Harrisburg 4
• Cole 4IP, 7H, 1R, 0ER, BB, K
• Mirowski (BS, 1; L, 1-1) 1⅓ IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K
• Head 2-4, 2B, 2RBI
• Burns 1-3, 2R, 2BB, SB

The Senators are on the ropes after a 5-4 loss to the Thunder that gives Trenton a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Eastern League Championship Series. A.J. Cole walked just one and struck out just one, but labored through four innings (87 pitches) to scatter seven hits and allow just an unearned run in the 1st. Harrisburg took a brief 2-1 lead with single runs in the 4th and 5th innings. Trenton answered the first salvo with two in the bottom of the 5th to recapture the lead at 3-2, to which the Sens matched in the top of the 6th for a 4-3 Harrisburg lead. The Thunder plated the tying and game-winning runs in the last of the 7th as they capitalized on a pair of one-out walks with two singles and a slow roller to second. Harrisburg got two runners on with one out in the 9th with singles by Jeff Howell and Billy Burns, but neither Brian Goodwin nor Steve Souza Jr. could connect off Trenton closer Tommy Kahnle to send in pinch-runner Sean Nicol or Burns.

Hagerstown vs. Savannah — Game 3 Sally League Finals
The Sand Gnats achieved what the Senators could not: a split on the road to turn the series into a best-of-three at home. Tonight, Hagerstown faces the Sally League’s Pitcher of the year, 20-year-old Gabriel Ynoa, who won Game 1 in the Divisional Series and five of his last six starts in the regular season. Things don’t get any easier for Hagerstown after Ynoa, as Savannah has tabbed Steven Matz (2.62 ERA, 2.63 FIP) and former position prospect Jacob Kuebler (2.76 ERA, 3.16 FIP) as its Game 4 and 5 starters. Kylin Turnbull gets the ball for the Suns tonight, hoping to celebrate his 24th birthday with a “W.” The Suns have not announced potential starters for Games 4 and 5, but with Jake Johansen having made zero starts with less than five days’ rest this season and an reportedly injured Austin Voth, it’s likely to be two of the following three pitchers: Dakota Bacus, Ian Dickson, and Pedro Encarnacion.

Wednesday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Harrisburg Lost, 8-2 @ Trenton,
7:05 p.m.
Cole (4-2, 2.18) vs.
Mitchell (0-0, 1.93)
Potomac Lost, 6-4 END OF SEASON N/A
Hagerstown Lost, 6-2 OFF DAY N/A



Trenton 8 Harrisburg 2
• Treinen (L, 0-1) 2⅔ IP, 4H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 3K, WP
• Gilliam 3IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 3K
• Howell 2-2, 2B
• Bloxom 2-4, R, 2B

An early 2-0 Senators lead was erased with a five-run 3rd as the Thunder struck for an 8-2 win in Game One of the Eastern League Championship Series. Blake Treinen took the loss, charged with all five runs on four hits and two walks over two and 2/3rds innings. Matt Swynenberg stranded one in finishing the 3rd but gave up two of his own in the 4th as Trenton scored eight unanswered runs. Harrisburg mustered just six hits and drew three walks, with Justin Bloxom and Jeff Howell combining for four hits and hitting both doubles. The Senators went 1-for-8 with RISP and stranded eight.

Salem 6 Potomac 4
• Solis (L, 0-1) 3⅓ IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 4K
• Dupra 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, HBP
• Nieto 2-4, 2B, 3RBI
• Sanchez 2-4, 2B, BB

The P-Nats broke out for playoff highs of four runs and 10 hits, but the Red Sox would not be denied, winning their 11th straight game by a 6-4 count to sweep the 2013 Mills Cup. It’s the first Carolina League Championship for the franchise since 2001. Sammy Solis was the losing pitcher, knocked for five runs on six hits and two walks over three and a 1/3rd innings while striking out four. The Adrians Nieto and Sanchez both went 2-for-4 with a double with Nieto driving in the first three Potomac runs — all with two outs.

Savannah 6 Hagerstown 2
• Voth (L, 1-1) 1⅓ IP, 1H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 0K
• Meza 2⅔ IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 5K, 2-1 IR-S
• McQuillan 3-4, R
• Lippincott 2-4, 3B, 2RBI

Savannah evened the Sally League Championship Series at 1-1 with a 6-2 win over Hagerstown. The Sand Gnats scored three in the 2nd, two in the 5th, and one more in the 8th before the Suns were able to respond with a pair in the last of the 8th. Austin Voth, who left the game with an undisclosed injury (redundant, yes, I know) got the “L” and was dinged for the first three runs on three walks and one hit with no K’s over an inning and a 1/3rd. Mike McQuillan and Bryan Lippincott combined to go 5-for-8 with a run scored (McQuillan) and both RBI (Lippincott). The series resumes on Thursday in Georgia for Games 3 with Kylin Turnbull as the Hagerstown starter.
Roster moves: LHP Jake Walsh added to playoff roster; RHP Pedro Encarnacion removed from it.

Tuesday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Harrisburg OFF DAY @ Trenton,
7:05 p.m.
Treinen (6-7, 3.64) vs.
Turley (11-8, 3.88)
Potomac OFF DAY @ Salem, 7:05 p.m. TBD vs. Cuevas (8-9, 5.05)
Hagerstown Won, 6-1 vs. Savannah,
7:05 p.m.
Voth (1-0, 3.38) vs.
Lugo (2-2, 2.53)



Harrisburg @ Trenton — Game 1 Eastern League Finals
Great pitching can cover up a very poor offense. Same thing goes for Harrisburg, too. Of course, that’s all fine and dandy in the long run but the playoffs are about who’s hot now. Trenton just swept the league’s best team in the regular season (86 wins, #2 offense, #2 pitching), which ought to fit that description. The Senators and Thunders played nearly to a draw, Harrisburg taking five of nine, but Trenton winning two of three in their final series at home. Apparently, rest means more than rust, as both teams are opting for a pitcher who didn’t appear in the first round and last pitched nine days ago.

Potomac @ Salem — Game 3 Carolina League Finals
The P-Nats were the only team in the Carolina League with a winning road record (37-32) and they did sweep the Red Sox in a road series (in April). So yes, there’s a chance and it may even be better than 3,720 to 1… if the team can snap out of its offensive funk. Tonight’s Game Three starter for Potomac continues to be the indecisive “TBD,” though the smart money is for the team to stick to its rotation with Sammy Solis.

Hagerstown 6 Savannah 1
• Johansen (W, 1-0) 5IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Dickson (H, 1) 3IP, 1H, R, ER, 2BB, 3K
• Renda 1-3, 2B, 3RBI
• Ramos 2-4, R, 2-2B
• Lippincott 2-4, R, RBI

Nats top draft pick Jake Johansen was reactivated and was none the worse for wear, tossing five shutout innings for a 6-1 Suns win over the Sand Gnats in Game One of the Sally League Cahmpionship Series. Johansen allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out two to pick up the win. Tony Renda drove in the first three Hagerstown runs with an RBI groundout in the 3rd and a two-run double in the 5th while “Help Me” Wander Ramos and Bryan Lippincott both went 2-for-4 to lead the Suns offense, which put the game away with a three-run rally in the bottom of the 8th.
Roster moves: RHP Jake Johansen added to the playoff roster; LHP Jake Walsh removed from it.

Last Night In Woodbridge

Bats Have Gone Dead
Salem shut out Potomac, 4-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Mills Cup Series. The win was the 10th in a row for the Red Sox, who now have three chances to win one game at home to win their first league championship as a Red Sox affiliate.

That’s the 2013 Mill Cup series in a nutshell, playing it straight, as they used to say in the newspapers (you know, those funny paper thingies that come with the sales flyers). But in sports (and politics), it’s de rigeur to play the blame game. Without discrediting the pitching of Salem and Lynchburg per se, the explanation is pretty simple: as a group, the P-Nats bats have gone dead in the playoffs.

This is, of course, a broad generalization. There are exceptions — Cutter Dykstra, .375; Randolph Oduber, .333; Kevin Keyes, .294. But then there’s the heart of the lineup — Michael Taylor, .105; Adrian Nieto, .000; Brandon Miller, .000. Taylor is perhaps the most heartbreaking because even Stevie Wonder can see that he’s pressing, with eight strikeouts that have nearly been all waves at soft stuff away versus a rip-and-miss, a step back to his fundamental flaw that forced him to repeat this level in the first place.

Thus, it didn’t really matter who was pitching last night for Potomac; there are no nil-nil ties in baseball. Mooneyham was wild, walking four and running multiple deep counts, but only gave up one hit and two runs over four innings. Paul Demny wasn’t any better, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk over two and a 1/3rd innings of relief.

As you might expect from the numbers above, Dykstra and Oduber were 2-for-4 and 2-for-3 respectively but just once had consecutive hits, with one out in the 3rd. Oduber strayed too far past second base on a single to left by Dykstra and was gunned down 7-6-4 to kill the one true rally the P-Nats were able to put together. They finished with six hits (all singles) and one walk and left on seven.

The series shifts to Salem for remainder of the series. Sammy Solis is the most likely Game 3 starter for Potomac, but it’s possible that Blake Schwartz will be asked to take the hill on four days’ rest after throwing eight innings on Thursday. The Red Sox have announced that William Cuevas will oppose whomever the P-Nats choose.