This weekend, the Springfield Cardinals and State College Spikes represented the St. Louis Cardinals in the Double-A and Class-A Short Season Playoffs. Over the last week, St. Louis saw the Johnson City Cardinals win the Appalachian League Championship and the GCL Cardinals win the Gulf Coast League Championship.
New York-Penn League Semifinal Series, Game Three (9/9): Spikes 6, Yankees 5
- Carson Cross (SP): 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K
- Andy Young (2B): 2-3, 2B, 3 RBIs, R
- Ryan McCarvel (DH): 1-4, HR, 2 RBIs, R
Although the Yankees scored five runs over the game’s final innings and were hungry for more, the Spikes’ four-run seventh proved to be the game-winning thrust, as State College knocked off the Yankees, 6-5, to eliminate them from the New York-Penn League Semifinal Series and advance to the NYPL Championship Series on Friday.
After Carson Cross twirled five scoreless frames for the Spikes, the Yankees knocked Gerwuins Velazco around for a pair of runs and Eric Carter for three across the seventh and eighth innings of the all-or-nothing contest. The Yankees’ late-inning life was drowned out, however, by the four-run seventh the Spikes managed off Yankees’ reliever Chad Martin.
Martin worked two innings in relief of starter Simon De La Rosa, who was pulled from the action with two outs in the bottom of the fifth as his pitch count reached the 90-pitch plateau. After Spikes second baseman Andy Young batted in his third run of the day to tie the game at three runs apiece, catcher Jeremy Martinez lined an RBI knock up the middle to give the Spikes a 4-3 advantage. Designated hitter Ryan McCarvel added on with a two-run shot to cap off the offense-heavy frame and put the Spikes on top for good.
North Division Championship, Game Three (9/9): Naturals 8, Cardinals 3
- Matt Pearce (SP): 4 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
- Chandler Hawkins (RP): 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
- Aledmys Diaz (SS): 2-4, 2B
- Luke Voit (1B): 2-4, HR, 2 RBIs
With eight runs on fourteen hits and four solid outings from their pitching staff, the Naturals took the third game of the North Division Championship Series on Friday, 8-3. The Naturals’ 8-3 win came hours following the Cardinals 12-11 victory in Game 2 that was suspended from Thursday until Friday due to inclement weather.
Naturals starter Ashton Goudeau surrendered two runs over his four innings of work that were followed by five innings of one-run ball turned in by Eric Stout, Evan Beal, and Miguel Almote. Stout, Beal, and Almonte combined to post a 7:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio over the game’s final five frames and allow just six baserunners. Naturals designated hitter Samir Duenez had a big night at the dish, as he went 2-for-5 with a home runs and a couple of RBIs. The man who precedes him in the batting order, first baseman Frank Schwindel, had a fine night, too, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
The Naturals did the majority of their damage off Matt Pearce and Chandler Hawkins. Pearce, who took the loss, allowed three runs in his four innings of work, and Hawkins was lit up for three in his lone frame.
North Division Championship, Game Four (9/10): Naturals 3, Cardinals 2 (F/10)
- Austin Gomber (SP): 4.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
- Aledmys Diaz (SS): 0-5, K
- Paul DeJong (3B): 1-5, HR, RBI, R
With a gut-wrenching defeat on Saturday night, the Springfield Cardinals were knocked out of the postseason, as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals defeated Springfield in the best-of-five North Division Championship Series, 3-1, to advance to the Texas League Championship Series for the second consecutive season.
The Cardinals, who won Thursday’s suspended Game 2 on Friday, 12-11, and dropped Friday’s regularly-scheduled matchup, 8-3, were held to a mere two runs on six hits in their final game of the year on Saturday, a contest that required ten innings for a winner to be declared.
Josh Staumont and Austin Gomber started the game for the Naturals and Cardinals, respectively, and matched zeroes through the first three innings. In the fourth, the Cardinals and Naturals each got to their opposing pitcher, and Cardinals third baseman Paul DeJong gave Springfield a 2-1 lead with his first home run of the postseason.
The lead remained until the Naturals plated a run off Trey Nielsen in the bottom of the seventh to knot the game at two runs apiece, and the score stood until the bottom of the tenth inning.
With Josh Lucas taking the mound to begin his second inning of work, the Naturals got something brewing by putting runners at the corners with one down. Catcher Cam Gallagher, who was 1-for-3 on the evening, laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to score Ryan O’Hearn from third base, sealing the deal on a 3-2, walk-off win for the Naturals that punched their ticket to the Championship Series.
The Naturals will host the Midland RockHounds at Arvest Ballpark on Tuesday to commence the winner-take-all series.
New York-Penn League Championship Series, Game One (9/11): Spikes 3, Renegades 0
- Steven Farinaro (SP): 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K
- Max Almonte (RP): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
- Andy Young (2B): 2-4, 2B, RBI, R
- Vince Jackson (CF): 1-2, 3B, 2 BB, RBI, R
- Jeremy Martinez (C): 2-3, RBI, BB
A quality start from Steven Farinaro and three runs driven in by the top half of the batting order gave the Spikes a 3-0 win over the Renegades in the first game of the best-of-three New-York Penn League Championship Series on Sunday.
Farinaro logged six scoreless innings that preceded three innings of the same nature from Max Almonte. Together, the duo combined to shut out the Renegades for the entire nine-inning affair and allowed only six baserunners.
As for the Spikes’ offense, the team went 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position, and second baseman Andy Young, center-fielder Vince Jackson, and catcher Jeremy Martinez collectively went 5-for-9 with a double, triple, three RBIs, and two runs scored.
The Spikes and Renegades will continue the New York-Penn League Championship Series on Monday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The 24-year-old Jordan DeLorenzo is expected to get the start for the Spikes, who sit just one win away from their first title since 2014 and ninth in team history. DeLorenzo went 2-1 with a 2.90 ERA in fifteen games (one start) with the Spikes during the regular season.