And then there were two

Carolina LeagueLast season, Winston-Salem and Lynchburg emerged from winner-take-all Game 3s in the semifinals to punch their tickets to the Mills Cup Finals. Here in 2013, both Division Championship Series concluded in Game 2, but the playoffs have been packed with drama.

All four Carolina League playoff games have been decided in the last at-bat for the winning club. Plus, the margin was higher than one run at the start of only three of the 43 innings thus far this postseason.

Salem won a pair of 10-inning games over Myrtle Beach to clinch its first trip to the Mills Cup Finals since 2009, while the Pelicans lost in the Southern Division Championship Series for the third straight season.

In the Northern Division, Potomac rallied in the ninth inning of Game 1 before nipping Lynchburg in the 14th. One night later, the P-Nats walked off with a 3-2 win in the last of the ninth. Thus, Potomac can win its first CL crown since 2010. On the flip side, Lynchburg could not become the first franchise to repeat as Carolina League champions since 1999-2000 (Myrtle Beach).

While the Red Sox and P-Nats were advancing in the CL postseason, some Dash alumni shined elsewhere in Minor League Baseball’s postseason.

  • Last season, Chris Bassitt pitched the Dash to the Mills Cup Finals with a seven-inning gem. Yesterday, the righty went seven innings and punched out nine Smokies in Double-A Birmingham’s 3-1 win over Tennessee in Game 1 of the Southern League North Division Series.
  • Behind Bassitt’s huge effort, Trayce Thompson went yard and drove home two runs, and Cody Winiarski earned the save. In Game 2 of this best-of-five set, Chris Beck toes the rubber for the Barons tonight.
  • Veteran Cyle Hankerd, who was a key cog in the Dash’s offense a year ago, came up with the hit of the season for the Arkansas Travelers, the Angels’ Double-A affiliate in the Texas League. Hankerd’s three-run blast in the top of the ninth broke a 1-1 tie and propelled the Travs to a Game 2 victory over the Tulsa Drillers in the TL’s North Division Series. Hankerd and the Travelers now have a 2-0 series lead with the next three games all at home.

We will keep you posted on the MiLB playoffs throughout the month here on the Dash Board blog!

- Brian

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