It was a short playoff run for the Class High A Wilmington Blue Rocks, who lost two of three games in the Carolina League Division Championship Series last week against the Lynchburgh Hillcats, the Braves High A affiliate.
The Blue Rocks hosted the first game where the Hillcats had a 15 hit attack, 14 of them being singles. The Hillcats scored one run in the first, one in the fifth, two in the eighth and four in the ninth to win the game 8-0. Hillcats starter Gus Schlosser got the win and Blue Rocks starter Brooks Pounders took the loss.
The next two games were in Lynchburg and the Blue Rocks got their revenge with a postseason record 18 hits on their way to a 12-3 game two victory, tying up the series. Rocks starter Jason Adam pitched seven innings, getting the win while Hillcats starter Dimasther Delgato took the loss.
The winner of game three would advance to the Mills Cup Championship Series. The two previous games were blowouts, but game three was tied at 1-1 until the bottom of the eighth inning. Hillcats catcher Braeden Schlehuber smacked a homer on a 3-2 count, giving the Hillcats a 2-1 lead. The Blue Rocks tried to answer in the ninth, but they failed to score and their season came to an end. The Lynchburg Hillcats advanced to the Mills Cup to face the Winston-Salem Dash, the Chicago White Sox High A affiliate.
Meanwhile, the AAA Omaha Storm Chasers played a five game American Conference Championship Series last week against the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate. The winner of the series would play for the Pacific Coast League Championship.
The Chasers took the opening game at Omaha 8-4, jumping to an early 5-0 lead by the third inning. The Isotopes scored a run in the fifth, two in the sixth and a run in the top of the eighth to make the score 5-4. But the Chasers added three runs in the bottom of the eighth to get the win.
The second game in Omaha stared out well for the Chasers, who had a 3-0 lead by the fourth inning. But the Isotopes scored two runs in the sixth, two in the seventh and one in the eighth to get a 5-3 victory and tie up the series.
The next three games would be at Albuquerque, and game three started with a two hour and three minute rain delay and two scoreless innings before the Chasers took a 3-0 lead in the third. They tacked on two more runs in the seventh before the Isotopes scored one run in the seventh and three in the eighth. The Chasers answered with single tallies in the eighth and ninth to win 7-4, one win away from taking the series.
Game four was going the Chasers way, who were ahead 10-3 after the top of the seventh inning and nine outs from the PCL Championship Series. But Royals luck waylaid the Chasers and the Isotopes scored nine runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 12-10 victory. It was a demoralizing loss for the Chasers, who would have to win game five or go home.
For game five, the Chasers opened a can of whoop and pounded out 16 runs and 19 hits, defeating the Isotopes 16-7. The Chasers had 10 runs on the board before the Isotopes scored a run in the bottom of the fourth. The Isotopes scored six more runs, but so did the Chasers, who won the American Conference Championship Series three games to two. The Chasers would play the Reno Aces, the Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate, for the Pacific Coast League Championship.
The first game of the PCL Championship Series opened Tuesday night in Reno, NV. The Aces opened their own can of whoop, smacking the Chasers around in a 13-1 victory. Chasers starter Jake Odorizzi took the loss, lasting 3.2 innings and giving up nine runs, eight of them earned and four of them home runs. Aces starter Trevor Bauer got the victory, pitching 6.2 innings, giving up an earned run and three hits.
The Chasers will try to bounce back in game two, which began Wednesday night at 9:05 Central time. There’s an off day Thursday, then the series continues in Omaha for game three and if needed, game four and five.