Lancaster Jethawks 6, Inland Empire 66ers 1 (10 inn.)
Series tied 2-2
With apologies to Dr. Seuss:
A very, very small shirker named Perdomo was standing – just standing, and bouncing a yo-yo. Not making a sound. Not a yip, not a chirp. And Linares rushed inside and he grabbed the young twerp.
And he climbed with the lad up the San Manuel Tower.
"This," cried Linares, "is your team's darkest hour! The time for all 'Hawks who have blood that is red to come to the aid of their ball club," he said. "We’ve got to make noises in greater amounts, so choke up your bat lad, for every hit counts!"
Thus he spoke as he climbed. When they got to the top, the lad cleared his throat and he swung his bat - "BOP!"
And that "BOP," that one small extra BOP put it over. Finally, at last, from that speck on the clover, their voices were heard. They rang out clear and clean. And the manager smiled. "Do you see what I mean?"
"They’ve proved they are players, no matter how small. And their whole world was saved by the smallest of all!"
With the Jethawks' backs against the wall, facing elimination down 2 games to 1 in a best-of-five series against the Inland Empire 66ers (LAA), they turned to an unlikely hero: Veteran utility infielder Carlos Perdomo. And Carlos Perdomo did not fail them.
With second baseman Delino DeShields scuffling so far in the playoffs, manager Rodney Linares made the decision to start Perdomo at second base, batting second. The ever-excellent Eric L. Smith of the Antelope Valley Press got the reaction:
Linares on DeShields: I’m trying to get something going. When things are not going right you try to mix it up." #JetHawks— Eric L. Smith (@Eric_L_Smith) September 11, 2013
More Linares: "Delino is a big part of what we did all year. It’s just one day. We need a win or go home." #JetHawks— Eric L. Smith (@Eric_L_Smith) September 11, 2013
More Linares: "Perdomo gives us a better chance right now." Said DeShields is available to pinch hit/run or play defense. #JetHawks— Eric L. Smith (@Eric_L_Smith) September 11, 2013
DeShields on not starting: "A little surprised but it is what is it. (Linares) is putting the best lineup out there to help the team win."— Eric L. Smith (@Eric_L_Smith) September 11, 2013
DeShields: "People just go through ups and downs. It’s not like I’m trying to do bad, it’s just the way things are going right now."— Eric L. Smith (@Eric_L_Smith) September 11, 2013
DeShields: "i'm not going to sit here and pout because I'm not on the field. I'm going to be a team player and help the guys out."— Eric L. Smith (@Eric_L_Smith) September 11, 2013
Perdomo had some big shoes to fill. In the regular season, the 21-year-old DeShields - the Astros' #7 prospect per MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo - hit .317/.405/.468 with a .389 wOBA, 133 wRC+, and "only" 51 stolen bases. Perdomo, on the other hand, was released by the Phillies in January. A career .267/.326/.338 hitter over six minor league seasons, the Venezuelan looked like he might be finished... until he was signed less than two weeks later by the Astros.
Linares called on Tommy Shirley to start the elimination game for the Jethawks. The 6'5", 220-pound left-hander - a 9th round pick out of Xavier University in 2010 - seemed an unlikely candidate, but with Vincent Velasquez on the disabled list, Shirley got the nod, despite not having started a game since July 30.
Shirley responded magnificently, with 5.1 innings of scoreless ball before Cal League Most Valuable Player Zach Borenstein hit a triple to score Eric Stamets and put the 66ers offense up 1-0.
That marked the end of the line for Shirley, who was replaced by Gera Sanchez, but it also marked the end of the line for the Inland Empire offense, who wouldn't record any more hits the rest of the way. Despite walking a man and hitting a batter, Sanchez was able to escape the inning without any more injury.
Unfortunately, the Jethawks offense continued its lethargy from the first three games of the series, as well. Despite threatening several times with runners in scoring position, they failed to score any runs through the first seven innings of the game.
The team that had only been shut out once in the regular season was on the verge of ending their entire season with a shutout.
That is, until the eighth inning.
Joe Sclafani - himself a utility infielder who scraped and clawed his way to a starting role on the team - began the eighth inning with a double off of reliever Eric Cendejas. After Nolan Fontana sacrificed Sclafani to third, Perdomo struck for the first time. A bloop double to right field scored Sclafani to tie the game.
That would be it, though, as the teams finished regulation without scoring any more runs.
In the top of the tenth, things took on a familiar tone. Sclafani drew a leadoff walk off of reliever Eduard Santos. Fontana then singled, moving Sclafani to second.
That's when Perdomo stepped to the plate and showed bunt. As the 66ers defense reacted, Perdomo pulled back his bunt and slapped a single into right field to load the bases for Andrew Aplin, who hit a sacrifice fly to score Sclafani.
That's when the Jethawks offense came back from the dead. They'd bat around in the inning, ending up with five runs to take a 6-1 lead into the bottom of the tenth, where Travis Ballew did what Travis Ballew does, sitting the side down in order to preserve the victory, the series, and the season for the Jethawks.
The two teams will return to Lancaster for the deciding game five today. Kyle Smith - the return on the Justin Maxwell trade - will be on the mound for the Jethawks. The game will start at 9:00 PM Central Time, and you can listen to Jason Schwartz's broadcast on Gameday Audio.
There will be a game 5 at The Hangar tomorrow night... I'm going... who's with me? Kyle Smith pitching! #jethawks— Jeff Luhnow (@jluhnow) September 11, 2013
The winner will go on to face the winner of the North Division finals, which is also headed to a fifth game.
- SS Nolan Fontana - 1/5, R, K
- 2B Carlos Perdomo - 3/4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, PO
- CF Andrew Aplin - 0/3, RBI, BB, K
- 1B MP Cokinos - 0/4, R, BB, K, IBB
- C Tyler Heineman - 1/5, 2B, R, 2 RBI, PB
- LF Brandon Meredith - 3/4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB
- RF Chris Epps - 0/4, BB, 3 K
- DH Dan Gulbransen - 0/2
- DH Delino DeShields - 0/3, SB
- 3B Joe Sclafani - 2/3, 2B, 2 R, 2 BB
- LHP Tommy Shirley - 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
- RHP Gera Sanchez - 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP
- RHP Jordan Jankowski - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
- LHP Kenny Long - 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- RHP Mike Hauschild - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
- RHP Travis Ballew - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Quad Cities River Bandits Off
The South Bend Silver Hawks (ARI) won the third game of their best-of-three series against the Fort Wayne TinCaps (SDP), and will now advance to the Midwest League Finals against Quad Cities, beginning today.
Game 1: Quad Cities @ South Bend, September 11, 6:05 PM CT
Game 2: Quad Cities @ South Bend, September 12, 6:05 PM CT
Game 3: South Bend @ Quad Cities, September 14, 7:00 PM CT
Game 4*: South Bend @ Quad Cities, September 15, 5:00 PM CT
Game 5*: South Bend @ Quad Cities, September 16, 7:00 PM CT
(* if necessary)
State College Spikes 2, Tri-City ValleyCats 1 (11 inn.)
State College leads series 1-0
As the old saying goes, "You only get one chance to make a good first impression." Or, in Tri-City's case, you only get one chance to play a home game in the New York-Penn League finals. With the best-of-three series moving to the State College Spikes' (STL) home field after game one, Tri-City had just one opportunity to get a home win in the series. Unfortunately for them, they failed to capitalize, dropping the game 2-1 in extra innings.
The game started full of promise for the ValleyCats, as James Ramsay opened the bottom of the first inning with a double to right field. After a Ryan Dineen strikeout, Tyler White drew a walk to put runners on first and second with just one out, but Conrad Gregor and Ronnie Mitchell both grounded out to erase the threat.
The second inning proved more fruitful for the Tri-City offense. After reaching base on a leadoff single, Brett Booth advanced to third when Jon Kemmer reached on a throwing error. With runners at the corners and no outs, Brian Holberton hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score the go-ahead run.
That run in the second inning was the only run the offense would get the whole game. In fact, after Chan Moon hit a single to reach base immediately after Holberton's home run, no other ValleyCat hitter would find his way on base until the eighth inning, when Dineen drew a walk and advanced to second on a single by White.
Meanwhile, the Spikes had their hands full with trying to figure out starter Evan Grills. The 10th-round pick in 2010 went eight innings in this one, allowing just one run, which came on a home run in the fifth inning. He struck out six batters and allowed just two hits and one walk.
Chris Munnelly pitched equally well in relief, going two innings and allowing just one walk and no hits while striking out two.
In the top of the eleventh inning, Edison Frias took the mound for Ed Romero's ValleyCats, and immediately allowed a leadoff single to Luis Perez. Jimmy Bosco hit into a force play, but a wild throw by Frias allowed Bosco to reach third, scoring Perez with the go-ahead run. Frias was able to settle down and get out of the inning without any more damage, but the Tri-City hitters went down in order in the bottom of the frame, losing 2-1.
The teams will travel to State College today, where they'll stay for game two and, if necessary, three. Both games are scheduled for 6:05 PM CT start times.
- CF James Ramsay - 1/5, 2B, K
- 2B Ryan Dineen - 0/3, 2 BB, K
- 3B Tyler White - 1/4, BB
- 1B Conrad Gregor - 0/5, K
- RF Ronnie Mitchell - 0/5, K
- C Brett Booth - 2/5, R, 2 K
- LF Jon Kemmer - 0/4, 2 K
- DH Brian Holberton - 0/3, RBI, 2 K
- SS Chan Moon - 1/4, K, 2 E
- LHP Evan Grills - 8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
- RHP Chris Munnelly - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, BK, WP
- RHP Edison Frias - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
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