Lancaster claims ALPB title

GASTONIA, N.C. - The Lancaster Barnstormers are bringing the Atlantic League trophy back home on the bus.

Brent Teller fired seven innings, allowing only a second inning home run, pitching the Lancaster Barnstormers to a 7-1 victory over the Gastonia Honey Hunters in the fifth and deciding game of the Atlantic League Championship Series.

The win gives the Barnstormers their second consecutive Atlantic League title and the fourth in franchise history.  They become the first Atlantic League team since the Long Island Ducks in 2012-13 to accomplish the feat.

“It never gets old,” said manager Ross Peeples.  “Each one of these is special in its own way.  I think I have the best coaches in the country; I couldn’t do this without them.  They earn the respect from the players and get them to perform at their best.”

Teller (1-0) survived a pair of one-out singles in the bottom of the first on a Scott Manea ground ball double play.  He surrendered a one-out blast to left center by Eric De La Rosa in the second before shutting the Honey Hunters down for the next 5 2/3 innings.  He finished giving up four hits and a run, walking one and striking out seven.

“We rode Brent most of the second half,” said manager Ross Peeples.  “We had him pitch Game One, so he could come back today.  He went out and competed and did not want to let me take the ball with him.”

For his efforts and his quality start in Game One, won by Lancaster, 3-2, in the bottom of the eighth, the Lancaster right-hander was named the series MVP.

Lancaster was able to get into its “small ball” rhythm early.  In the top of the first, Yeison Coca grounded a one-out single into right off Zach Mort (1-1).  He took off for second, and Andretty Cordero slapped a ground single through the right side on the hit-and-run.  Wilson Garcia lofted a fly ball to short center, but Coca beat Zac Jarrett’s throw home for the first run of the game.

Following the De La Rosa homer, Mort kept the Barnstormers without another baserunner until he walked Chris Proctor leading off the fifth.  Proctor swiped second, took third on a grounder to first by Shawon Dunston, Jr. and scored when Jack Conley lined a single over the head of shortstop Jack Reinheimer.

Another run crossed in the sixth.  Cordero reached on a two-out single and scored when Garcia’s fly ball to right was lost in the high sky by De La Rosa.  Melvin Mercedes added a two-out RBI single in the seventh, again scoring Proctor.  In the ninth, the Barnstormers broke the game open when lefty reliever Steffon Moore followed a one-out single by Dunston with three walks.  Cordero singled into right to drive home the final two runs.

Ofreidy Gomez retired the side in order in the eighth, and Nick Duron got three straight, two on strikes, after a single by Jason Rogers and walk to Jarrett in the ninth.

NOTES:  The Barnstormers won the five-game series without ever hitting a home run…The club stole 11 bases in the last two games…Lancaster is 33-18 in playoff games in franchise history, the best winning percentage in the league…Somerset and York also won consecutive titles…Only Somerset has captured the Atlantic League crown more often…Long Island also has four.

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