LAKEWOOD – The BlueClaws offense struck early and often Wednesday night, as Lakewood clinched the second half title with a decisive 14-2 thrashing of the Augusta GreenJackets.
With the Greensboro Grasshoppers 11-0 loss to Savannah and Lakewood’s win, the Claws become the fourth team to clinch the division in both halves and the first team to accomplish the feat since Capital City in 2004.
Augusta’s loss equals their worst defeat of the season, and with Greenville’s win they are officially eliminated from postseason contention.
Trevor May (7-3) was dominant in his last start of the regular season, striking out seven in six innings. He let up just one run on four hits and carried a no-hitter into the fifth.
Lakewood got on the board early with three runs in the first. Jiwan James set the tone for what was to come in the first at bat, drawing a walk and taking second after catcher Tommy Joseph took too long to retrieve a passed ball. With one out Johnathan Singleton reached on an error by the pitcher as Brian Irving dropped a toss from his first baseman allowing James to score for a 1-0 Lakewood lead.
Leandro Castro then singled, and Stephen Batts and Keoni Ruth picked up RBI singles for a 3-0 edge.
The Claws added three more in the second. Jim Klocke singled to left in his first at bat as a BlueClaw, James added a base knock, and Michael Dabbs was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Singleton drew a walk to bring in a run, and two more runs came in on passed balls to make it a 6-0 ballgame.
The BlueClaws kept piling it on with six runs in the third. Keoni Ruth singled, Anthony Hewitt hit a ball right between Chris Dominguez’s legs for an E5, and Klocke singled in a run for his first RBI with Lakewood. The eighth run scored on a wild pitch, James reached on another error by Dominguez to plate Klocke, and Dabbs singled to once again load the bases.
Singleton drew another walk with the sacs full for a 10-0 lead, and Castro and Ruth added run-scoring sacrifice flies for a 12-0 lead through three.
Singleton poured more salt in the wound in the fourth with a two out, two-run double to push the lead to 14-0.
Luke Anders hit an RBI single in the sixth and Dominguez hit an RBI double in the eighth to give him 95 on the season, but it was too little too late for Augusta.
Every starter for Lakewood tallied at least one hit, with Klocke leading the way going 3-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored in his BlueClaws debut. Stephen Batts also went 3-for-5 but was the only Claws starter to not touch home, and Singleton went 1-for-2 with four RBIs, two coming in on bases loaded walks.
Jackets starter Brian Irving (7-6) lasted just two innings, getting tagged for six runs (three earned). Augusta committed four errors, and Tommy Joseph had three passed balls get by him (plating two runs) before being replaced by Jesse Shriner in the fifth.
Thursday night at 7:05 pm the two teams will wrap up their four game series. Lakewood’s starter is TBA while Augusta will have RHP Chris Heston (5-12, 3.84) take the hill.
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