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Playoff Recap: 9/3

September 4, 2008
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The Indians announced today that they have extended their player development contract with Mahoning Valley for two years through the 2010 season.

Aeros Outlast Baysox 6-5 in 12-Inning Thriller

BOWIE, MD – Matt LaPorta collected four hits and drove in four runs, including the game-winner in the top of the 12th, as Akron claimed a phenomenal 6-5 win over Bowie in game one of the Southern Division Championship Series.

The back-and-forth, 4:11 marathon featured five blown leads, even though neither club ever led by more than one run. Furthermore, neither side ever scored runs in consecutive at-bats, as the respective offenses kept finding ways to one-up each other.

Bowie opened the scoring with Nolan Reimold’s solo homer in the bottom of the first, and after Mike Rodriguez dropped Wyatt Toregas’ drive at the wall in center to score the tying run in the second Jeff Nettles homered in the bottom of the frame to make it 2-1. Akron answered with one swing of the bat in the fourth, as LaPorta drilled a hanger from Sox starter Jason Berken out to left to even the affair at 2-2. Bowie came back to retake the lead in the fifth on a two-out RBI double from Carlos Rojas, but Aeros starter Scott Lewis got Reimold to fly to right to end the inning and leave men at second and third.

LaPorta delivered again in the sixth, following a leadoff single from Wes Hodges by booming a 2-0 fastball from Berken out to left for Akron’s first lead of the night at 4-3. That margin survived a couple of scares in the sixth and seventh before Bowie broke through in the eighth, getting a two-out, two-strike RBI single from Ryan Finan to tie the game once more.

The Aeros rebounded in the top of the ninth, as Toregas belted a solo homer to left on the first pitch he saw from reliever Gerardo Casadiego to make it 5-4, but the Baysox managed to tie it in the bottom of the ninth despite not getting a ball out of the infield against closer Randy Newsom. Jonathan Tucker led off with an infield single as he was called safe on a bang-bang play at first, and Carlos Rojas then coaxed a walk from Newsom. Reimold sacrificed the runners up 90 feet, and after an intentional pass loaded the bases Nettles hit a smash to first that Stephen Head made a terrific diving stab on to keep it on the infield for a fielder’s choice as Tucker scored the tying run. Newsom then helped his cause by gloving Blake Davis’ tapper up the first base line and chasing Davis out of the base path for the final out of the inning.

Neither side mounted a serious threat in the 10th or 11th, but in the top of the 12th Bronson Sardinha ripped the first pitch from lefty reliever Chad Thall into right field and Hodges followed with a sinking liner to right that Reimold elected not to charge as it fell for a single with Sardinha moving to second. That set the stage for LaPorta, and he answered by smoking a 2-0 fastball to left-center to score Sardinha with the winning run. Neil Wagner had to work around a walk and a single in the bottom of the inning, but got Finan to fly to left to preserve the all-important game one triumph.

Wagner (1-0) earned the win with three gutsy, scoreless innings of relief, allowing just two runners and striking out three. Thall (0-1) took the loss. LaPorta finished 4-5 with a walk, two homers, two runs scored and four RBI, while Hodges went 2-5.

Game two in this best-of-five series is set for 7:05 p.m. Thursday, with J.D. Martin (11-3, 2.55 ERA) taking the hill for the Aeros against Bowie’s Brad Bergesen (15-6, 3.22 ERA), the league leader in wins in the regular-season. Martin was 1-0 with a 0.63 ERA in six appearances (one start) against Bowie this year, while Bergesen went 2-0 with a 4.85 ERA in two starts against Akron. The game broadcast begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio 1350 AM and online at www.akronaeros.com.

CAPTAINS TAKE GAME ONE 10-4

(Charleston, WV) – Juan Valdes hit a three run home run and drove in four runs to put the Lake County Captains in the driver’s seat in the SAL Northern Division Championship series as they defeated the West Virginia Power 10-4 on Wednesday in Charleston. The Captains can wrap up the Divisional Championship with a win on Friday.

The Captains got to Power starter R.J. Seidel in the first inning when Mark Thompson and Karexon Sanchez both singled. Thompson took third on a fly out and scored from third on a passed ball with Sanchez going all the way to third. Sanchez scored on a single by Dustin Realini and the Captains led 2-0. It went to 3-0 in the second inning when Ron Rivas scored on a throwing error by Power shortstop Matt Cline.

The Captains upped the lead to 6-0 in the third inning on the three run home run by Valdes. The lead went to 7-0 when Valdes doubled home Richard Martinez in the fifth inning. The Powers scored four runs off of Captains reliever Mike Pontius in the bottom of the sixth inning when they sent ten men to the plate and collected six hits as four different batters knocked in runs and it was 7-4. The Captains scored a run in the seventh inning when with two outs, Matt McBride doubled home Thompson to make it 8-4. The Captains put it away in the top of the ninth when Sanchez hit a two run homer and the lead was 10-4.

“It’s great to jump out to this one game lead with two games left at home”, Captains manager Aaron Holbert said. “Hopefully the great fans of Eastlake and Lake County will come out and the guys will rally behind them. Getting the early lead in a big game like this was very important and we just kept the pressure on the rest of the way."

Mahalic picked up the win pitching five scoreless innings allowing four hits and striking out three. “We couldn’t have asked for any more out of Joey tonight, he was very good”, commented Holbert. Seidel lasted only 1.1 innings and took the loss.

The Captains will take on the West Virginia Power in game two of the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division Championship Series on Friday at Classic Park in Eastlake with game time at 7:05 PM. The Captains will send RHP Chris Archer (4-8, 4.29) to the mound to face the Power’s RHP Evan Anundsen (12-8, 4.26).

Game three, if necessary, will be played on Saturday September 6th also at Classic Park at 7:05 PM. All Captains games can be heard on AM 1330 WELW, WELW.COM or CAPTAINSBASEBALL.COM.

The winner for the series will play the winner of Southern Division Championship series between the August GreenJackets and Asheville Tourists. The SAL Championship series is best of five games with the first two games being played in the Southern Division Champions stadium beginning of Monday September 8th.

In Regular Season Action...

CUTTERS’ RALLEY FOR 8-5 WIN OVER SCRAPPERS

On Wednesday night the Crosscutters came out swinging hot bats as they scored three runs, only to see the Scrappers respond and score 5ive runs in the bottom of the first. Key hits in the Scrapper first included a two run home run by Jeremie Tice and a two RBI double by Zach Booker and after one it was 5-3 Scrappers.

The score remained the same until the top of the fourth when the Cutters’ plated a single run on a Scrappers throwing error. Then the Crosscutters tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the sixth on a RBI single from Doug Morales and we went to the late innings of Wednesday’s game.

Then in the top of the eighth the Crosscutters manufactured the go ahead run on a double by Morales and a Scrappers throwing error, so we went to the ninth 6-5 Cutters.

In the ninth the Cutters’ added two more runs off of reliever Mike McGuire and we went to the bottom of the ninth 8-5 Crosscutters. In the bottom of the ninth Ramon Hernandez led off with a single, the next two Scrappers struck out and then Cord Phelps reached on a error before Lonnie Chisenhall grounded out to end the game. 8-5 Crosscutters.

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