Tri-City over Auburn 5-4 (Game 1)
Aaron West got the start and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits over five innings and was followed by a magnificent three and a third inning outing from Juri Perez in which he allowed only one hit and struck out four. Perez got the win, but not until four more pitchers took the mound to get the final two outs. John Neely recorded one of the outs and Travis Ballew recorded the final out for the save. The offense was a small ball offense all the way, with RBI singles from Joe Sclafani, M.P. Cokinos, Jarrod McKinney and Austin "Catfish" Elkins accounting for the scoring.
Frisco over Corpus Christi 5-0 (Game 3; Hooks lose Series 0-3)
This was a tough loss as the Hooks didn't manage a hit until the sixth inning so I don't really feel like doing a full recap. If you want to see the boxscore, click here. Since I was there, I'll just leave you with some random observations about the game.
The crowd was fantastic (and large). They were in it until the final out. Only a handful left early. The thing that most impressed me were the sincere standing O's for Ross Seaton, Josh Zeid and Alex Sogard as they left the game. The crowd was thanking them for a good season and a job well done.
Ross Seaton was much better than his line shows. He held Frisco scoreless through the first five and then ultimately gave up two runs only when Frisco managed to find holes with a batch of singles. He looked sharp, was alert and adept in his fielding and showed a great amount of poise and control on the mound. He has matured as a player even since I saw him in early June.
We need to be able to clone Kike Hernandez. The Hooks were held to two hits. Both of them belonged to Kike. After having seen and talked to Kike in Lancaster last month and now again in Corpus last night, one thing is immediately evident. Kike is an exciting player who plays with all his heart and makes things happen. He is already a crowd favorite in Corpus after playing there only a month.
Jay Fernandez has one heck of an arm which he displayed several times on Friday night. When I was in Corpus in June, Jay had been pressed into service as an emergency third baseman so I didn't have much of an opportunity to see him behind the dish. His throws to first are harder than many a pitcher I've seen this season. You can hear the sharp report as the ball hits the first baseman's glove with deadly accuracy. It was something to see (and hear).
All in all, it was a great experience to end a great season and I'm glad I came. And I'm glad I got to spend time with my kindred spirit down there behind the home dugout. You know who you are. Thanks for everything.
Lancaster over Lake Elsinore 3-2 (Game 3; Lancaster wins series 2-1 and advances)
Does anyone know CPR? You might need it as you follow the JetHawks as they advance through the playoffs. David Martinez had a very strong season for the 'Hawks and he's not slowing down for the playoff run as he pitched six innings of one run ball to earn the win. That one run was in the first inning after which he shut the door and allowed the JetHawks room to maneuver. A Rafy Valenzuela home run tied it in the third inning and a bases loaded Domingo Santana hit by pitch in the fifth gave Lancaster the slimmest of leads. A two-out triple from Andrew Aplin in the seventh, subsequently driven in by Domingo Santana, proved to be a crucial run as Lake Elsinore made things interesting in the top of the eighth scoring a run off Pat Urckfitz to bring the margin back to one run. But it was the top of the ninth that was cardiac event inducing as it took three pitchers to get through the inning. Jorge de Leon ultimately got the final out with the bases loaded, a foul pop up to Rafy Valenzuela. The JetHawks advance to the Southern Division Championship Series with the win.
[UPDATE: POSTPONED UNTIL SUNDAY DUE TO RAIN] 6:00 CST - Auburn at Tri-City (Game 2)
RHP Brady Rodgers is scheduled to pitch for Tri-City. Rodgers was 7-2 with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.139 ERA during the regular season. One of his two losses was at the hands of the Auburn team. RHP David Fischer will be the starter for Auburn. He was 3-3 with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.429 WHIP during the regular season. He did not have a start against Tri-City this season.
9:05 CST - Lancaster at High Desert (Game 1 of the Southern Division Championship Series)
LHP Blair Walters gets the start for Lancaster and he has seen High Desert three times out of his eight starts for Lancaster with a 1-0 record and two no-decisions against them. In his eight starts with Lancaster, he is 3-3 with a 7.62 ERA and a 1.769 WHIP. LHP Roenis Elias is the scheduled starter for High Desert. He has faced Lancaster three times in the last month alone, going 0-1 with two no-decisions. He has a 7-6 record with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.193 WHIP for the season.