GREENVILLE, S.C. – For the second time in their history, the Lakewood BlueClaws are champions of the South Atlantic League. The BlueClaws won game four of the championship series by the score of 5-1 against the Greenville Drive on Friday. The win capped off a tremendous season for the BlueClaws in which they were first half champions. The BlueClaws won the series three games to one.
Korey Noles, who featured in just 7.2 innings in the regular season, started the game for the BlueClaws and went seven full innings allowing just one run on six hits while striking out four. It was the sixth inning that gave the BlueClaws (3-1) trouble in game three, but Noles (1-0) got the BlueClaws through to the eighth.
The BlueClaws took the lead in the very first inning as they manufactured a run with the speed of Anthony Gose. Gose singled through the hole on the left hand side, was sacrificed to second and stole third before an RBI-groundout off the bat of Travis d’Arnaud.
The BlueClaws extended their lead in the third inning as Troy Hanzawa led the inning off with a walk before being advanced to second on a ground ball out and then to third on an infield single off of Gose’s bat. Harold Garcia then hit a sacrifice fly to center, his fifth game in the playoffs with an RBI, and d’Arnaud singled in Gose to make it 3-0 BlueClaws. Gose went first to third on the single and scored as the ball got past third base and the catcher had to field the ball, vacating home plate.
In the fourth, the BlueClaws got their fourth run as four straight singles combined for a run as Gump scored on an RBI-two-out single by Hanzawa to the opposite field.
Fabian Williamson, statistically the best pitcher for the Drive in the regular season, started and was lifted early in the ballgame. Williamson (1-1) allowed seven hits and four runs, three earned. Leandro Marin worked two shaky scoreless in relief before Mitchell Herold came on in the seventh and also worked a clean inning. Kyle Rutter, who picked up the save in game three also pitched in the ballgame.
The Drive (1-3) got on the board in the seventh inning as Mitch Dening singled with two outs and scored from first on a double by Kade Keowen making it 4-1.
The BlueClaws added to their lead in the eighth inning as Travis Mattair walked to lead off the inning, got to second on a sacrifice bunt and got to third on an infield single by Vladimir De Los Santos. Mattair then scored in an RBI-groundout by Gose to make it 5-1.
Austin Hyatt came on in the eighth inning and struck out two and allowed just one runner. He allowed a single to start the ninth before getting Ryan Lavarnway to pop out for the first out. The next batter then struck out looking before Hyatt got Keowen to pop up to Garcia to finish the game.
The BlueClaws previously won the SAL in 2006. This is the BlueClaws’ ninth season in the 16-team South Atlantic League. The minor league team is affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies.
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