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.

Monday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Harrisburg OFF DAY OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Lost, 4-0 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown OFF DAY vs. Savannah,
7:05 p.m.
Voth (1-0, 3.38) vs. TBD



Harrisburg — OFF DAY
With neither Eastern League Division Series going the distance, it’s an extra day off for both teams, who will meet in Trenton for Games One & Two before shifting to Harrisburg for the remainder of the Finals.

Salem 4 Potomac 0
• Mooneyham (L, 0-1) 4IP, 1H, 2R, 2ER, 4BB, 3K, WP
• Henke 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Oduber 2-3
• Dykstra 2-4

Another loss Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown — OFF DAY
One of the more curious aspects of this championship series (Savannah vs. Hagerstown) is not only did these two teams not meet in the regular season… they haven’t played each other since 2004. The Hagerstown Suns Fan Club has the explanation. Officially, Austin Voth gets the ball in Game One, however local beat writer Bob Parasiliti is reporting that Jake Johansen will be activated and make the start.

Last Night In Woodbridge

It was too little, too late as the P-Nats rallied for three in the bottom of the ninth but still fell two runs short, 5-3.

Adrian Nieto drew a leadoff walk while Mike Gilmartin drew a two-out walk. Justin Miller, Francisco Soriano, and Cutter Dykstra went back-to-back-to-back with singles to score two runs. After Salem gifted Potomac with an error on a Adrian Sanchez groundout to advance Dykstra and Sanchez to second and third, Michael Taylor came up with a chance to tie the game.

Instead, Taylor struck out for the third time in the game, bringing his playoff tally to seven whiffs in three games.

Early on, this had the makings of yet another pitcher’s duel. Matt Purke strung four zeroes atop the scoreboard, retiring seven straight at one point while his counterpart, Heri Quevedo, got the first six outs on the ground and struck out the side in the third.

Salem got on the board first with three runs in the 5th. And there was nothing cheap about them — two booming doubles to center sandwiched around a walk and a single, followed by a warning-track sacrifice fly. The damage carried over into the 6th as a clearly flustered Purke gave up a third double and walked the next batter while trying to finesse him with breaking pitch after breaking pitch.

Colin Bates came on and walked his first batter to load the bases. With nobody, this had the makings of another big inning. Instead, Bates got two grounder to third, the first of which was tossed home to force the runner, the second: around the horn for the 5-4-3 DP.

Baseball’s equivalent to a goal line stand, however, did not result in the offense marching back down the field. For the second time in the game, Quevedo quashed a would-be rally with double-play ball in the last of 6th.

Salem tacked on what proved to be the game-winning runs with a two-out single followed by a long HR by the Nos. 3-4 batters Henry Ramos and Keury De La Cruz, giving Salem a 5-0 lead that they were able to hold despite the late Potomac comeback.

The series continues tonight in Woodbridge with Potomac opting to send out Brett Mooneyham as the starter despite his three abysmal outings to finish the regular season. Salem will give the ball to Mike Augliera, who went 1-2 with an ERA of 6.64 in four starts against Potomac in 2013.

Sunday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Harrisburg Won, 5-1 OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Lost, 5-3 vs. Salem,
6:05 p.m.
Mooneyham (0-3, 13.50) vs.
Aguilera (9-6, 4.23)
Hagerstown Won, 6-2 OFF DAY N/A



Harrisburg 4 Erie 1
• Ray (W, 1-0) 6⅔ IP, 3H, R, ER, 2BB, 6K
• Mirowski 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Souza 4-4, 2R, 3-2B, 2RBI, 2SB
• Burns 2-5, R, SB

Robbie Ray pitched into the seventh while Steve Souza Jr. racked up seven total bases in a 5-1 win over Erie that breaks the Terry Byrom curse and puts Harrisburg into the Eastern League Championship Series for the first time since 2002. Ray went six and 2/3rds innings, letting in just the lone Seawolves run on three hits and two walks while striking out six. Souza went 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs scored, and two stolen bases. Harrisburg never trailed, scoring twice in the 1st and once in the 2nd to take a 3-0 lead then added two more in the 7th for the game’s final tally. Next up: Games 1 and 2 in Trenton on Tuesday.

Salem 5 Potomac 3
• Purke (L, 0-1) 5+ IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K
• Rauh 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Dykstra 3-5, RBI
• Keyes 2-4

Too little, too late Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 6 West Virginia 2
• Turnbull (W, 1-0) 5IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 3K
• Pena (S, 1) 4IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Ballou 4-5, 3R, 2B
• Renda 3-4, R, 2RBI, BB

Hagerstown broke open a one-run game with a three-run 6th that secured a 6-2 win and the first trip to the Sally League Finals for the Suns as Nationals affiliate. Every starter hit safely, led by leadoff man Isaac Ballou, who went 4-for-5 with a double and three runs scored in a 16-hit overload on Power pitching. Kylin Turnbull allowed both West Virginia runs on six hits and two walks to get the win. Ronald Pena finished the game with four scoreless innings of relief, giving up a hit and a walk. The Finals begin tomorrow as the Savannah Sand Gnats visit for Games One and Two on Monday and Tuesday.

Saturday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Harrisburg Won, 4-1 vs. Erie,
7:00 p.m.
Ray (5-2, 3.72) vs.
R. Garcia (2-4, 4.79)
Potomac OFF DAY vs. Salem,
6:35 p.m.
Purke (5-3, 4.43) vs. TBD
Hagerstown Lost, 6-3 (11 inn.) vs. West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Turnbull (6-5, 3.58) vs.
Heredia (7-3, 3.05)



Harrisburg 4 Erie 1
• Karns (W, 1-0) 7IP, 5H, 0R, 0BB, 8K
• Herron (SV, 2) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Goodwin 2-3, R, BB, RBI, SB
• Bloxom 2-4, 2B, RBI

Nathan Karns shut down the Seawolves for seven innings as the Senators won, 4-1 and took a 2-1 lead in the ELDS. Karns walked none and struck out eight and needed just 79 pitches to lay the seven goose eggs atop the scoreboard. The shutout was broken up in the 8th when Christian Garcia walked two of three batters faced and Erie connected for a two-out RBI single off Richie Mirowski. Tyler Herron closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth. Brian Goodwin reached base three times with a walk and two singles and scored on an RBI double off the bat of Justin Bloxom (2-for-4) as Harrisburg notched seven hits, including a solo HR by Jason Martinson.
Roster move: RHP Christian Garcia reassigned from Potomac to Harrisburg for MLB Rehab.

Potomac — OFF DAY
After eliminating the 2012 Mills Cup Champs, Potomac starts its quest for its third Carolina League championship as a Nats affiliate with two games against Salem. The Red Sox come to Woodbridge as winners of 19 of their last 22 games — a streak that includes seven wins against the defeated playoff teams, Lynchburg and Myrtle Beach. During the regular season, the P-Nats won 10 of 18 games, but haven’t played the S-Sox since late July, when the two teams split ten games over a three-week period. Matt Purke* who beat Salem for his first High-A win on July 29, is the probable for Potomac but Salem has yet to show its hand as to which of its remaining three starters — Mike Aguilera (9-6, 4.23), Heri Quevedo (6-5, 4.18), William Cuevas (8-9, 5.05) — will oppose him in Game One.
* Psst… new PA guy: it rhymes with turk, not turkey.

West Virginia 6 Hagerstown 3 (11 inn.)
• Encarnacion 4+ IP, 5H, 2R, 1ER, 2BB, 5K
• Bacus 4IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 4K, 2-1 IR-S
• Thomas (L, 0-1) ⅓ IP, 1H, 2R, 2ER, BB, K
• Harper ⅔ IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, K, 3-2 IR-S
• Ballou 2-3, 2R, 2B
• Renda 3-5, 2B

Josh Bell powered West Virginia’s 6-3 win with a two-run double in the 11th to force a deciding Game Three in Hagerstown tonight. The switch-hitting outfielder had four RBI total, tying the game in the 5th with a sacrifice fly and again in the 7th with an RBI groundout. This was in stark contrast to the Suns, who went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left on seven men. Isaac Ballou (2-for-3), Tony Renda (3-for-5), and Pedro Severino (2-for-4) scored all three runs and combined for seven of the eight Hagerstown hits. Pedro Encarnacion went the first four innings and allowed the first two Power runs on five hits and two walks while fanning five. Dakota Bacus and Gilberto Mendez combined for six innings of one-run relief before the fateful 11th. The final frame began with Justin Thomas for three batters and one out, Cody Davis for one batter (single), and ended with Bryan Harper giving up the bases-loaded double to Bell (could have been worse: the runner from first was gunned down on a 7-6-2 play at the plate) and a single before striking out the final batter.

Good, Bad, Interesting… 2013 Season Final

Our final look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues. Repeats from 2012 are in italics.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS
66-78, 6th place International League North, 14½ games back

Good Bat: Zach Walters .253/.286/.517, 29HR, 77RBI in 134G
Arm: Tanner Roark 9-3, 2SV, 3.15 ERA, 33 appearances, 11 starts, 105⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Danny Espinosa 101K in 75G, .566 OPS
Arm: Chris Young 1-2, 7.88 ERA / 7.17 FIP / 2.00 WHIP, 9HR in 32IP
Interesting Bat: Chris Rahl .293/.308/.431, 14SB in 111G
Arm: Caleb Clay 5-2, 2.49/3.37/0.99 in 14 appearances (13 starts):

HARRISBURG SENATORS
77-65, 1st place Eastern League Western Division, 1 game ahead

Good Bat: Steve Souza .300/.396/.557, 15HR, 20SB in 77G
Arm: Nathan Karns 10-6, 3.26/3.48/1.18, 155K in 132⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Jose Lozada .529 OPS, 11E in 81G
Arm: Ryan Perry 2-5, 4.43/4.86/1.21 in 22⅓ IP (18 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Billy Burns .325/.434/.360, 20SB in 30G
Arm: A.J. Cole 4-2, 2.18/2.56/0.90 in 45⅓ IP (7 starts)

POTOMAC NATIONALS
42-28 in 2nd half, 1st place Carolina League Northern Division, 9 games ahead
42-27 in 1st half, 1st place, 6 games ahead
84-55 overall

Good Bats: Michael Taylor .263/.340/.426, 51SB, 87RBI, .986FA, 21 assists in 133G
Adrian Nieto .285/.373/.449, 11HR, 53 RBI in 110G
Arm: Robbie Ray 6-3, 3.11/3.82/1.20, 100K in 84IP (16 starts)
Bad Bat: Adrian Sanchez .278OBP (17BB in 120G)
Arm: Derek Self 4-2, 4SV, 6.29/4.52/1.66, 4BS in 23 appearances
Interesting Bats: Cutter Dykstra .308/.459/.456, 50BB in 55G
Arm: Blake Schwartz 11-4, 2.65/3.52/1.08

HAGERSTOWN SUNS
42-28 in 2nd half, 2nd place South Atlantic League Northern Division, 3 games behind
38-29 in 1st half, 1st place, ½ game ahead
80-57 overall

Good Bats: Tony Renda .294/.380/.405, 43 doubles, 30SBs in 135G
Brandon Miller .243/.308/.456, 18HR, 72RBI in 103G
Arm: Brett Mooneyham 10-3, 1.94/3.65/0.98 in 93IP (17 starts)
Bad Bat: Pedro Severino .608 OPS in 84G
Arm: Will Hudgins 2-1, 4.79/5.96/1.60 in 20⅔ IP (16 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Shawn Pleffner .288/.386/.399 in 101G
Arm: Gilberto Mendez 3-2, 7SV 0.91/2.53/0.94 in 29⅔ IP (24 appearances)

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS
26-49, 6th Place Pinckney Division of New York-Penn League, 22 games behind

Good Bat: Isaac Ballou .294/.405/.398, 20RBI in 59G
Arm: Jake Johansen 1-1, 1.06/2.77/0.92 in 42⅓ IP (10 starts)
Bad Bat: David Masters .183/.254/.242 in 45G
Arm: Deion Williams 0-6, 9.42/4.35/1.99 in 28⅔ IP (8 starts)
Interesting Bat: Jean-Carlos Valdez .374 SLG as a 20-y.o. in 48G
Arm: Austin Voth 2-0, 1.47/0.95/0.82 in 30⅔ IP (7 starts)

GCL NATIONALS
49-9, 1st place Gulf Coast League East Dvision, 24½ games ahead

Good Bat: Randy Encarnacion .349/.437/.523 in 34G
Arm: Wander Suero 8-1, 1.65/2.77/0.82 in 49IP (13 appearances, 3 starts)
Bad Bat: 17-y.o. Luis Guzman .222/.278/.265 in 36G
Arm: 23-y.o. Michael Boyden 0-0, 4.61/5.25/2.27 in 13⅔ IP (13 appearances)
Interesting Bat: Drew Ward .292/.402/.387, 28RBI in 49G (turns 19 in Nov.)
Arm: Nick Pivetta 1-0, 2.13/2.41/1.03 in 3GS (promoted to Auburn)

DSL NATIONALS
38-32, 3rd place, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League, 11 games behind

Good Bat: 19-y.o. Kelvin Gutierrez .255/.333/.337 in 60G
Arm: 18-y.o. Deibi Yrizarri 5-3, 1.99/2.66/1.10 in 68IP (14 appearances, 13 starts)
Bad Bat: 18-y.o. Miguel Atencio .183/.246/.183 in 23G
Arm: 22-y.o. Adrian Green 0-2, 5.40ERA, 2.00 WHIP in 10IP (12 appearances)
Interesting Bat: 17-y.o. Oliver Ortiz .307/.402/.386 in 26G
Arm: 18-y.o. Luis Reyes 5-3, 2.82/2.76/1.07 in 54⅓ IP (promoted to GCL)

Last Night In Woodbridge

CLNDS 13 celebrationWill Piwnica-Worms was a late addition to the playoff roster, but contributed for the second straight night with a two-out single in the 9th to give the P-Nats a 3-2 walkoff win and their third trip to the Mills Cup Finals in the last six seasons.

Kevin Keyes, who had doubled to left off Lynchburg reliever Jose Lugo in the 6th, cranked one off the right field wall with one out in the 9th for his second two-bagger. Despite having struck out three times previously, Brandon Miller was given an intentional pass in favor of a possible double play by Randolph Oduber.

The Groovin’ Aruban became the 7th P-Nat to go down by way of the K versus Jugo, which brought Piwnica-Worms to the plate. Lynchburg backup backstop Anthony Nunez, who hadn’t let up a passed ball in 18 games with the Hillcats during the regular season, let one go off his glove to move up the runners 90 feet.

The miscue proved fatal as Piwnica-Worms guided a seeing-eye single between first and second, sending in Keyes for the gamewinner.

Blake Schwartz “only” went eight innings, giving up both Lynchburg runs on eight hits but walked none and struck out five. Greg Holt got the win, working around a leadoff walk in the 9th with a flyout and two ground outs, assisting on the final out himself, 1-3.

In the Carolina League Southern Division series, the Salem Red Sox swept the Myrtle Beach Pelicans two games to none with a 4-3 win in 10 innings. The Sox will come to town tomorrow night for the best-of-five Mills Cup Championship, their first appearance since being swept by Lynchburg in 2009. Potomac was the 2008 and 2010 Carolina League Champions, defeating Myrtle Beach and Winston-Salem, respectively, three games to one.

Pitching matchups for the Finals have not yet been formally announced, but Potomac’s rotation will most likely be Matt Purke in Game One on Saturday, Paul Demny in Game Two on Sunday and Sammy Solis in Game Three in Salem on Tuesday with Schwartz and Purke going for Games Four and Five (if necessary, and also in Salem) on Wednesday and Thursday.

Friday’s News & Notes — Playoff Edition

Clinch-vs-Lynchburg-9513

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Harrisburg Lost, 2-1 (12 inn.) vs. Erie, 7:00 p.m. Karns (10-6, 3.26) vs.
Crouse (9-10, 4.47)
Potomac Won, 3-2 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown OFF DAY vs. West Virginia, 7:05 p.m. Encarnacion (10-9, 3.58) vs.
Kuchno (9-5, 4.01)



Erie 2 Harrisburg 1 (12 inn.)
• Hill 6IP, 5H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 2K, HBP
• Grace 2⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Swynenberg (L, 0-1) 1⅔ IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, K
• Goodwin 3-5, OF assist at 3B
• Howell 0-3, SF, RBI

Back-to-back two-out singles plus an error plated the gamewinner in the 12th as the Seawolves edged the Senators, 2-1 to tie up the ELDS at 1-1. Matt Swynenberg took the loss, giving up three hits total over an inning and 2/3rds. Starter Taylor Hill went the first six, allowing an unearned run on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Both Erie runs were unearned, however the home team outhit the visitors 10-5. Brian Goodwin went 3-for-5 but the sole Harrisburg run scored in the 8th, as Sean Nicol led off with a double then took third on a wild pitch and came home a Jeff Howell sacrifice fly.
Roster moves: C Brian Jeroloman placed on the DL; C Cole Leonida reassigned from Potomac.

Potomac 3 Lynchburg 2
• Schwartz 8IP, 8H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 5K
• Holt (W, 1-0) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Keyes 2-5, R, 2-2B
• Piwnica-Worms 1-3, R, BB, RBI

Blake Schwartz accepted the challenge, while the “new guy” delivered the walkoff Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown — OFF DAY
Pedro Encarnacion, Hagerstown’s leader in innings pitched, gets the start against West Virginia, which sends its workhorse John Kuchno. The Suns lead the best-of-three series 1-0 and will host the deciding game tomorrow night… if they don’t clinch tonight.

Last Night In Woodbridge

No pressure, Blake, but we kinda need you to go all nine innings tonight.

OK, so maybe nobody said that to the Potomac ace last night, but this morning, that’s what P-Nats fans are thinking after last night’s 2-1 win in 14 innings over Lynchburg. At least this one.

Potomac rallied with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to tie it, as Randolph Oduber grooved a 1-1 pitch into the right-center gap to score pinch-runner Will Piwinica-Worms all the way from first base. Michael Taylor won it with a two-out RBI single in the 14th, ending the four-hour-and-30-minute marathon.

But where the game was really won was in the nine shutout innings that the quintet of Travis Henke, Colin Bates, Robert Benincasa, Rafael Martin, and Brian Dupra turned in. As a group, they walked four, struck out eight and allowed just four hits. As noted yesterday, these guys had been worked hard in the final week of the season but you’d have never known it if you seen ’em in action last night, Colin Bates in particular (nine up, nine down in innings seven through nine).

Both teams, truth be told, pitched a hell of a game. Sammy Solis nearly lost despite giving up just a run over five innings on three hits and a walk (care to guess which was the run that scored?) while fanning five.

Lynchburg’s Greg Ross struck out 10 P-Nats, primarily by pitching backwards: throwing change after change then spotting an average fastball once he’d gotten ahead. No doubt Hillcats fans are wondering why an almost 24-y.o. journeyman wasn’t asked to go an inning or two longer after giving up just two infield hits and a walk over six shutout innings.

As the lede suggests, Blake Schwartz takes the hill tonight for Potomac with a chance to advance to the Mills Cup Finals. Schwartz was 3-0 vs. the Hillcats during the regular season, including a pair of wins 10 days apart in July. He’ll be opposed by veteran southpaw Ryan Hinson, coincidentally, the opposing pitcher in Schwartz’s last two starts against Lynchburg.