Washington Nationals Minor League Notebook September 9: PNats’ and Suns’ season ends

By Michael Marzzacco

From staff and wire reports:

Potomac (High-A Carolina League): Despite a dominant start from LHP Matthew Crownover (L, 4-5), the Potomac Nationals (74-67) had their season come to an end with a 3-1 loss in the Northern Division Championship Series Friday night. After taking game one of the series 7-0, the P-Nats fell in 14 innings in game two, and went just 1-9 with RISP in the season-ending loss.

Crownover allowed just one earned run over six innings but was outdone by LHP Sean Brady (W, 13-6). The Lynchburg starter allowed only three hits over 5.1 shutout innings, his first shutout start since June 28th.

In the fourth inning, the Hillcats plated the first run of the night. LF Anthony Santander led off the frame with a double, moved to third base on a fly out by 1B Bobby Bradley, and then scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield hit by DH Dorssys Paulino.

Potomac threatened twice against Brady, but the left-handed starter escaped on both occasions. SS Osvaldo Abreu singled with one out in the second frame and RF Drew Vettleson followed with a walk, but the P-Nats left men on the corners as Brady struck out 1B Matt Page. Vettleson then led off the fifth inning with a single, went to third base on a single by Page, but CF Victor Robles took a called third strike, which ended the inning.

Lynchburg had just five men reach base against Crownover, but the final man to reach ended up as the winning run. Bradley led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a pop up in front of the plate, but C Raudy Read missed the catch and the ball came do a dead stop in fair ground. After RHP Gilberto Mendez replaced Crownover, Paulino struck out. SS Yu-Cheng Chang followed with a two-run home run over the right field wall. The eventual game-winning hit made it 3-0 Lynchburg. After CF Connor Marabell singled, LHP RC Orlan came out of the Potomac bullpen and retired the final five Lynchburg hitters of the night.

RHP Trevor Frank (SV, 18) got the final out in the eighth inning but ran into trouble in the final frame of the night. Abreu doubled with one out before Frank struck out Vettleson. 2B Bryan Mejia followed with an RBI double into the right field corner, which brought the tying run to the plate with two outs. After a meeting on the mound, Frank buckled down and struck out Page looking. Frank’s save earned the Hillcats a spot in the Mills Cup Championship Series.

For Lynchburg, it will be their first trip to the Championship Series since they took the title in 2012. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans defeated the Salem Red Sox 2-1 in the finale of the Southern Division Championship Series Friday night. The Mills Cup Championship battle between the Hillcats and Pelicans gets underway Saturday at TicketReturn.com Field in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic League): The Hagerstown Suns took on the Lakewood BlueClaws in game two of the South Atlantic League Northern Division Championship series on Friday night at Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown, MD.

The Lakewood Blueclaws got the scoring started early in the top of the first inning when Mark Laird reached base off of a line drive to right field. After the fly out by Cornelius Randolph and strike out by Jose Pujols, Demek Tomscha reached on a four pitch walk. That brought up Wilson Garcia with runners on second and first with two out. Wilson took a 2-2 fast ball to deep right center field for a two RBI double, moving the score to 2-0 Lakewood.

With the score at 2-0 going into the bottom of the first inning, Ian Sagdal decided to take matters into in own hands. Facing a one ball count, Sagdal mashed an inside fastball from Lakewood starter Jose Taveras over the right field wall to cut the score in half and make it 2-1 BlueClaws.

After a scoreless 2nd inning, the hot hitting BlueClaws added one more run after Demek Tomscha scored on the Tyler Beckwith error at third base.

Tyler Beckwith redeemed himself in the bottom of the fifth inning when he came up to the plate with Telmito Agustin at third and one out. Beckwith laid down the perfect safety squeeze and scored Telmito.

The BlueClaws added two more runs in the seventh when Mark Laird and Cornelius Randolph scored off of a two RBI double from Tomscha moving the score to 5-2 where it stayed for the remainder of the game.

The Lakewood BlueClaws advance to the South Atlantic League Championship series to face either the Rome Braves or the Charleston Riverdogs.

The Hagerstown Suns ended the season with a record of 83-59.

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