Thursday’s News & Notes – Playoff Edition

Team Yesterday Tomorrow Announced Starters
Auburn Lost, 8-4 vs. Tri-City,
7:05 p.m.
Hagerstown Lost, 3-1 @ Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
Estevez (5-2, 5.76) vs.
Esch (1-3, 3.13)

Williamsport 8 Auburn 4
• Pineyro (L, 3-2) 2⅔ IP, 9H, 7R, 7ER, BB, K, 0HR
• Hudgins 2⅓ IP, H, 0R, BB, K
• McQuillan 2-3, 2R, 3B, RBI
• Ramos 1-3, R, BB, RBI

A six-run 3rd put this one away early for Williamsport as they doubled up Auburn, 8-4 in the regular-season finale. Ivan Pineyro gave up seven of the eight Crosscutter runs, allowing nine hits and a walk with just one strikeout over two and 2/3rds. Mike McQuillan singled and tripled and scored twice to lead the Doubleday offense. It’s an off day today as Auburn learned its first-round opponent: The Tri-City Valleycats, which became the No. 2 seed after losing to the Hudson Valley Renegades, 3-2. In case folks missed the correction to yesterday’s story, Auburn hosts Game One tomorrow before heading east across the Thruway for Games Two and Three (if necessary) on Saturday and Sunday in Troy, NY.
Roster moves: LHP Blake Monar placed on the DL; LHP Andrew Wall activated from the DL.

Greensboro 3 Hagerstown 1
• Schwartz (L, 0-1) 5IP, 7H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K
• Meza 1IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 2K, WP
• Ortega 2-2, R, BB, SB
• Burns 2-4, SB, CS

Greensboro’s Andrew Heaney shut down Hagerstown for seven scoreless innings as the Grasshoppers took Game One of the Sally League Northern Division Series, 3-1. The Suns mustered just four singles against the 21-year-old southpaw, Miami’s No. 1 draft pick this past June, and drew one walk one while whiffing eight times. Blake Schwartz took the loss with a first-inning run that came when Hagerstown botched a rundown play after a two-out single enabled the Grasshoppers to score a runner from first base. Schwartz gave up seven singles total with no walks and no K’s over five innings.

Christian Meza was touched for two runs on three hits in the 6th, only one of which left the infield as a drag bunt, a single to right, and a single to second base combined with a throwing error sent in the first run, while a wild pitch two batters later sent in the insurance run. All three Grasshopper runs scored with two outs and without an RBI.

Gregory Holt and Colin Bates combined for three innings of scoreless relief, but the Hagerstown offense didn’t have as much pluck, scoring just once in the bottom of the eighth as Bryce Ortega and Billy Burns, who combined for four of the five Suns hits, got on base to start the inning but needed a wild pitch and Cutter Dykstra to beat out a double-play ball to break up the shutout.

The two teams will rematch on Friday night in Greensboro, as the defending Sally League Champions will have two chances to win once and advance to the Finals. Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez (5-2, 5.76), who tossed four scoreless against the Grasshoppers last week, is the announced starter for Hagerstown, with Jake Esch (1-3, 3.13) scheduled to take the hill for Greensboro.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

5 thoughts on “Thursday’s News & Notes – Playoff Edition”

  1. The Greensboro pitcher is the real deal….Suns couldn’t get anything going against him. Almost made the game “boring” from the Suns fans view. His pitches were elusive to say the least – Suns players just swinging and swinging and making no contact. You sort of knew after the botched rundown in the first (with two outs mind you) that this was NOT going to be the Suns night.
    On a better note, check out this link about the anonymous donor for the new Suns stadium:,0,723011.story

    1. It’s also why I’m not a big fan of the best-of-three format for the playoffs that purports to give the illusion of fairness when in reality it’s all about ensuring both teams get one more home date. Even then, as I was told long ago by a minor-league operator, winning the first half is paramount. That’s because you have two and a half months to sell tickets vs. two weeks, if not two days.

  2. Playoffs for minor league teams are kind of silly.

    Granted, they give the prospects extra games, which is never a bad thing, but that could just be accomplished by lengthening the schedule.

    But from a competitive stand-point, you’re talking about deciding a champion for a team that has already seen most of its best players (Goodwin, Skole, Martinson, Karns, Meyer) get promoted. And while I’m not familiar with the players on the other teams, I suspect they’ve all seen similar promotions this year.

    Obviously, if a championship mattered, those players would still be on the roster. Just seems sort of silly to have a playoff to determine the best of who is left.

    1. The prospect movement is the rationale behind the half system. It’s better than the alternative, which is no playoffs and declaring the highest regular-season finisher as the champion. Atlanta Braves fans would support this, I suspect.

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