Pirates v. Rangers— In a thriller played on June 5 at Westgate 1, the Rangers edged the Pirates 11-10 in extra innings. The visiting Pirates took the lead in the top of the sixth with a four-run rally keyed by the bats of Josh Rankin and Matthew Earman. The Rangers tied the game in the bottom of the inning on Eddie Gleeson’s clutch RBI double. After the Pirates notched a run in the top of the seventh, the Rangers came back to tie the game on hits by Michael Anderson, Jake Acosta and Jimmy Porter. Paul Abbracciamento then drove in another run with a walk-off single to provide the margin of victory. The victors were aided by some outstanding defensive plays from outfielders James Anderson and Tim Donis. George deMars pitched well in relief for the Pirates.
Rangers v. Dodgers – On Saturday, June 9, the Rangers opened the AAA playoffs in grand style with a 12-8 victory over the Dodgers in yet another extra-innings nail-biter. Starting pitcher Jimmy Major threw three innings of one-hit ball, and Paul Abbracciamento notched the victory by closing out the game with two scoreless innings. The big blow on offense was provided by Chris Porter, who hit a bases-clearing triple in the top of the sixth to help erase a four-run deficit. Alec Jessar, Evan Tracy and Ted Terwilliger also contributed key hits, and Barrett Nixon led the Rangers’ defense with an unassisted double play and a diving catch of a line drive. For the Dodgers, starter Evan Davis pitched three and two thirds strong innings, Colton Hodge smacked a double to left center, and second baseman Jack Manon made an outstanding diving catch of a popup on the outfield grass.
Sidewinders v. Sand Gnats — On Thursday, June 7 at Idylwood 2, the Sidewinders, led by excellent hitting from Alexa Tracy, won their first-round playoff game 10-4 in a hard fought battle against the Sand Gnats. The Sidewinders received strong pitching from Andrew Connelly, George Castillo and Casey Lauer. On defense, Chappy Asel had a strong day behind the plate. For the Sand Gnats, Jackson Jost struck out four, Sam Luten got two key hits and Grace Carter’s excellent base running led to a run. With the victory, the Sidewinders advance to face the powerful Lugnuts in the playoffs.
Red Wings v. Mudcats — The Red Wings (12-0) completed their unlikely pursuit of an undefeated regular season and secured the regular season championship with a 19-4 win over the Raptors on June 4. With two outs and bases loaded in the top of the first inning, Red Wings’ pitcher David Gartner snagged a grounder and threw to catcher Caleb Sedmak for the out at the plate. But it was Red Wings third baseman Nick Haddock who made the defensive play of the game when he fired a bullet to first baseman Connor Freeman for an out in the top of the third. Freeman also batted in three runners with his fourth-inning triple, his second of the season.
Yankees v. Cubs – On Monday, June 4, the Yankees and Cubs ended the regular season in spectacular fashion as they battled a full six innings. The Cubs escaped with a 9-8 win when Ryan Short scorched a single down the right field line to score Ryan Leonard. Short also pitched three solid innings of relief for the Cubs. Prior to scoring, Leonard doubled in the left field gap to score Vincent Kanyan from second base with the tying run. The Cubs used key defensive plays from third baseman Ben Torpey and second baseman Daniel Anderson to secure the win. The Yankees were led by the pitching and hitting of John Todd as well as the fielding and hitting of Mark Hilliard and Liam Glennon, who hit a go-ahead solo home run to deep right center in the top of the sixth.
Cubs v. Orioles – In a tense pitchers’ duel, the two clubs met on Saturday, June 4, for the regular season championship. The O’s were led by pitcher Mitch MacKeith, who shut down the Cubs for three innings while not allowing a hit and striking out eight. In the fourth inning, the Cubs used a leadoff walk by Danny Leonard and a perfect bunt by Vincent Kanyan to set up consecutive run-scoring base hits by Ben Torpey and Alex Kryvoruka. Kryvoruka pitched well for the Cubs for five innings, giving up three hits and one run. The Cubs were aided by great defense from shortstop Leonard and first baseman Austen Adcock. Ryan Short came on in relief for the Cubs in the sixth to preserve the win 4-2. The O’s were led offensively and defensively by MacKeith, shortstop Vijay Menon and catcher Conor Boyle.
Yankees v. Nationals — In playoff action on Saturday, June 9, the Yankees advanced over the Nationals 12-4. Liam Glennon collected nine strikeouts, while pitching his first complete game of the season. Glennon helped his cause by hitting a double and blasting his fourth home run of the season. Other hitting highlights for the Yankees included Jordan Cole’s double, which nearly cleared the fence in deep center field. Yankees’ leadoff hitter Mark Hilliard contributed two doubles and Clay Koch had two RBIs on three hits. Jack Noordhuizen sparked the Nationals with a leaping grab of a John Todd liner to left in the fourth inning.