Atlantic League Playoff Results, Sept. 20, 2023

Lancaster 5, Long Island 1

LANCASTER, Pa. - The Lancaster Barnstormers benefitted from forced and unforced mistakes by the Long Island Ducks on Wednesday evening in a 5-1 victory at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

With the win, the Barnstormers take a two games to none lead over the Ducks in the best-of-five North Division Series.  The venue shifts to Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip for the remainder of the set.

The Barnstormers scored their first run without any defensive misplay as Melvin Mercedes led off the game with a double, took third on a Yeison Coca bunt and scored when Andretty Cordero grounded a single up the middle for the 1-0 edge.

From there, Lancaster took advantage of two bad throws and a bobble.  With one out in the second, Trayvon Robinson picked up a walk from Kyle Lobstein (0-1).  Shawon Dunston, Jr. grounded a single to the hole on right side which was slowed down by the tip of second baseman Brantley Bell’s glove.  Robinson sprinted for third, drawing a throw from Bell that skipped into the dugout.  Robinson galloped home with the second Lancaster run.

In the fourth, Wilson Garcia led off with a single to left center and left for designated runner Chris Proctor.  Ariel Sandoval followed with a walk.  The duo executed a double steal, and Proctor scored when Hector Sanchez’ throw went past third baseman Joe DeCarlo, who was charging for a bunt.  Two outs later, Sandoval scored when Bell failed to handle a ground ball off Jack Conley’s bat.

Lancaster’s final run needed no misplay, coming on a towering home run to right by Garcia leading off the eighth inning.

Matt Swarmer (1-0) threw five innings for the Barnstormers, giving up the Ducks only run.  He allowed seven hits and one walk, picking up only one strikeout.  Long Island only scored in the fifth on a Joe DeCarlo single to center, a double off the wall in right by Boog Powell and Alex Dickerson’s sacrifice fly to left.

Lancaster used five pitchers to cover the final four innings.  Brian Marconi and Garrett Granitz split the sixth.  Mike Adams allowed a pair of walks in the seventh before retiring Dickerson on a pop up and getting Sam Travis to ground into a force.  Ofreidy Gomez tossed a scoreless eighth, and Nick Duron wrapped up the ninth with a 1-2-3 inning.

Brady Tedesco (1-1) will make the third game start on Friday against left-hander Ian Clarkin (3-5).  Fans may follow the game on FloBaseball, beginning at 6:30.

NOTES:  Gastonia defeated High Point, 5-2, on Wednesday night, to tie the South series at one game apiece…If the Barnstormers win one game at Long Island, they will host the winner of that series at Clipper Magazine Stadium on Tuesday evening…Garcia has five RBI in the series; Cordero has three…Mercedes has scored four…The Barnstormers have won the first two games of a playoff series for the sixth time in franchise history.


Gastonia 5, High Point 2

GASTONIA, N.C. – The Gastonia Honey Hunters scored four runs in the first three innings and withstood High Point’s ninth inning rally to even the Atlantic League South Division Championship series at one game apiece with a 5-2 win over High Point at CaroMont Health Park on Wednesday.

Trailing 5-0 entering the ninth inning, the Rockers were facing Gastonia closer Graham Spraker who came on in the ninth and retired the first two batters he faced before walking Daikan Yoh. Michael Martinez, swinging left handed against the right handed Spraker , then homered to deep right, making it a 5-2 game. Spraker walked D.J. Burt and Shed Long, Jr. to bring Ryan Grotjohn to the plate as the tying run. Gastonia manager Mauro Gozzo turned again to his bullpen, bringing in Bryan Blanton. Blanton walked Grotjohn to load the bases but then induced Ben Aklinski to fly out to center for the final out of the game.

“Any time you can get the tying or winning run to the plate, that’s all you’re trying to do,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. “We were down the whole game. We couldn’t put anything together until the ninth inning. That’s one thing this team has shown time and time again is the ability to keep fighting. We just need to keep grinding.”

Gastonia built its 5-0 lead by scoring a run in each of the first three innings, tagging Rockers starter Justin Nicolino for four runs on eight hits. He left after the fifth inning, having walked one and struck out six.

Offensively, the Rockers were stymied by Gastonia starter Zach Mort who went seven innings and allowed five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. High Point did not advance a runner as far as third base until the seventh inning when Yoh walked then stole second and third but was stranded at the hot corner.

Gastonia shortstop Jack Reinheimer singled to lead off the bottom of the first, stole second and moved to third on a passed ball. He scored on Scott Manea’s single to right to give Gastonia a 1-0 lead.

In the second, first baseman David Washington hit a solo homer to left for a 2-0 Gastonia lead. The lead grew to 4-0 in the third when Zach Jarrett hit a solo homer and Manea scored on an Eric De La Rosa sac fly.

Jeremy Rhoades kept the Honey Hunters scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings, allowing one hit and striking out one.

High Point’s Sam Selman walked the bases loaded with one out in the eighth. But Selman induced a grounder to second where Long, Jr. fired to the plate for the force and the second out of the inning. Jake Hoover was hit by a pitch to force in a run and put Gastonia’s advantage at 5-0. Kyle Halbohn replaced Selman with the bases loaded and two outs and got a fly ball out from Reinheimer to escape further damage.

Nicolino took the loss for the Rockers while Mort picked up the win and Blanton the save.

The South Division will now swing to High Point and Truist Point. The Rockers will host the Honey Hunters in Game 3 on Friday at 6:35 p.m. at Truist Point. Tickets are available at the Truist Point Box Office or online at The game will be streamed live on FLO Baseball and also available on the Mixlr app.


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