Results tagged ‘ postseason ’

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

Playoff Perspective – Game 4

It’s a day late, but here is our final analysis of the Dash’s Game 4 loss to Lynchburg last night.

PLAYOFF PERSPECTIVE:

  • First off, congratulations to the Lynchburg Hillcats. Over the last four days, Lynchburg was the better team after the Dash posted an incredible regular season. All the fans in attendance were treated to one heck of a championship-clinching victory.
  • Also, big time props must go out to the 50-plus Dash fans who made the trip to Lynchburg and added to the atmosphere. It was a great minor league baseball game yesterday, even if the result did not go the way of Winston-Salem.
  • There were so many twists and turns during last night’s game, and I’m not going to go through all of them. However, it is never easy to lose a game when your opposition loads the bases with an infield single, an error and a bunt single in the deciding inning. Winston would love to have the 11th inning back.
  • You have to feel for Taylor Thompson, who was the Carolina League’s best reliever during the second half of the season. He didn’t have his best stuff in the ninth inning, and Lynchburg took advantage to tie the game. That will likely be Thompson’s final High-A appearance because he is overdue for a trip to Double-A Birmingham.
  • If the Dash could have forced a Game 5, especially based on the way last night’s game played out, I would have felt really good about their chances. Alas, Lynchburg closed the deal with a dramatic win.
  • This is my fifth season of calling baseball, and this Dash team was, by far, my favorite team to deal with. It was such a privilege to get to know these guys as baseball players and human beings. The White Sox run their minor league system very well, and fans in Winston-Salem, Chicago and across the country should be proud of these players. This team accomplished so much, and it was an incredible journey.
  • Finally, Daniel Wagner summed it up perfectly last night on Twitter: “What a year. Proud to say I was apart of the 2012 @WSDashBaseball team. Great run boys. Got nothing to hang our heads about.”

Thanks for following along all season long. We will continue our coverage throughout the offseason. It has been an honor. Go Dash!

- Brian

Game 3 Starting Lineups And Intro

We have hyped up this game here and here and here. It is a big one. Here is our final post in advance of the most important game of the season so far. First, take a listen to the pre-game open, featuring some of the biggest highlights of the playoffs.

Also, here are today’s starting lineups, with a familiar look from the Dash and some shuffling from Lynchburg.

WINSTON-SALEM:

CF – Keenyn Walker
2B – Daniel Wagner
SS – Marcus Semien
1B – Dan Black
C – Kevan Smith
RF – Michael Earley
DH – Cyle Hankerd
LF – Courtney Hawkins
3B – Chris Curley
RHP – Erik Johnson

LYNCHBURG:

LF – Dan Brewer
SS – Nick Ahmed
2B – Tommy La Stella
1B – Chris Garcia
DH – Adam Milligan
C – Braeden Schlehuber
RF – David Rohm
CF – Mycal Jones
3B – Emerson Landoni
RHP – Gus Schlosser

An extended version of the Pre-Game Dash begins at 5:45 p.m., with first pitch set for 6:05 p.m. I hope you can join me here for Game 3. Talk to you then.

- Brian

Playoff Perspective – Game 2

Winston-Salem rallied for a thrilling 5-4 victory over Lynchburg in Game 2 of the Mills Cup Championship Series Sunday afternoon at BB&T Ballpark. First off, hear from the man who gave the Dash their first lead in the series–catcher Kevan Smith.

Now, it’s time for our postgame analysis.

PLAYOFF PERSPECTIVE:

  • Wow. Once again, the Dash’s collective back was against the wall in a Game 2, and this offense found a way to battle back for a narrow win. After five frustrating innings of offense, Smith, Daniel Wagner and Keenyn Walker came up with huge hits in the sixth, and Marcus Semien’s solo shot in the eighth proved to be the difference in the game. This offense, despite struggling at times in the playoffs, is so good.
  • Everyone knew Dash skipper Tommy Thompson was going to be the Carolina League’s Manager of the Year, and he pushed the right button today when he submitted his lineup card. Winston’s catcher had hit in the seven hole in all four previous postseason contests, but Thompson switched Smith with Cyle Hankerd. Sure enough, Smith’s turn came around when the Dash needed a hit, and the former Pittsburgh star came through in a big way.
  • As for Semien’s homer, credit the former sixth-round pick for coming up with the first run scored against Lynchburg reliever John Cornely at the High-A level. Semien is only 3-for-18 in the playoffs, but those three hits have been huge: solo homer in the first inning of Game 2 of the SDCS, game-winning two-run double in that same game and this homer today. Semien is a clutch player.
  • How important has Chris Curley been to this playoff run? He is 8-for-16 with four runs scored, and the late-season acquisition made the defensive play of the game in the seventh. Curley, who was playing in on the grass, stabbed a Nick Ahmed liner and doubled off a runner at second to end the threat.
  • Starter Justin Collop and reliever Taylor Thompson turned in gritty efforts Sunday, and both Max Peterson and Kevin Vance continued to pitch well out of the bullpen. All in all, a solid day for Winston’s pitching staff.
  • Thank goodness Andrelton Simmons will be heading back to Atlanta tomorrow, according to multiple reports. It is incredible that this young man played in the CL last year. His ninth-inning double was one of the hardest-hit balls I’ve seen this year.
  • Series tied at one game apiece. Momentum-shifting Game 3 on the horizon. Erik Johnson versus Gus Schlosser. It doesn’t get much better than that, and it’s 47 hours away.

The Dash and Hillcats have tomorrow off, but the Dash Board blog will be packed with more #Dash12 coverage in advance of Game 3 Tuesday. Talk to you then.

- Brian

Game 2 Starting Lineups

The Dash wrap up their home slate with Game 2 of the best-of-five Mills Cup Championship Series this afternoon at 2 against Lynchburg. Winston-Salem aims to even the set at one game apiece. Here are today’s starting lineups:

LYNCHBURG:

DH – Andrelton Simmons
SS – Nick Ahmed
2B – Tommy La Stella
1B – Chris Garcia
RF – Adam Milligan
3B – Edward Salcedo
LF – Dan Brewer
CF – Mycal Jones
C – Braeden Schlehuber
RHP – Ryan Weber

WINSTON-SALEM:

CF – Keenyn Walker
2B – Daniel Wagner
SS – Marcus Semien
1B – Dan Black
C – Kevan Smith
RF – Michael Earley
DH – Cyle Hankerd
LF – Courtney Hawkins
3B – Chris Curley
RHP – Justin Collop

Join me at 1:40 for the Pre-Game Dash here. Talk to you then.

- Brian

Game 2 Preview – Lynchburg v. Winston-Salem

Mills Cup Championship Series
Lynchburg Hillcats at Winston-Salem Dash
Sunday, September 9 — 2:00 p.m.
Game 2 — Hillcats lead series 1-0

GAME 2 BACKGROUND:

The Dash could not parlay their momentum from consecutive wins to claim the Southern Division Championship Series. Winston-Salem dropped Game 1 of the best-of-five Mills Cup Championship Series to Lynchburg 3-1 Saturday night at BB&T Ballpark. Winston only managed three base runners against Hillcats hurler Michael Lee, who spun six and a third scoreless innings for the victory.

As a result, the Dash will aim to even the series in the final game at BB&T Ballpark this season. Winston boasted the best home regular season record in full-season minor league baseball (48-23), but the Dash are just 2-2 in the Triad in the playoffs.

STARTING PITCHERS:

Winston-Salem — RHP Justin Collop (9-4, 4.17 ERA): In his playoff debut, Collop will face the Hillcats for the fifth time in 2012 today. The righty owns a 5.56 earned run average over 22 and a third innings against Lynchburg. His best outing against the Northern Division champs came July 3 when the former Toledo Rocket turned in six and two-thirds scoreless frames, but the Hillcats roughed up Collop five days later to the tune of eight runs on 12 hits.

Lynchburg — RHP Ryan Weber (2-4, 3.38 ERA): Weber spent much of the regular season in the bullpen, amassing 14 relief appearances and five starts. The former 17th round pick pitched out of the bullpen in Game 2 of the Northern Division Championship Series three days ago. Weber surrendered three runs on six hits over three innings during the Hillcats’ lone loss thus far in the postseason.

DASH DOTS:

  • Over the last seven seasons, the team to win Game 1 of the Mills Cup Championship Series has gone on to win the Carolina League crown five times. However, in each of the last two seasons, the winner of the series opener has lost the next three and, thus, the series. Frederick overtook Kinston last year after the K-Tribe won Game 1, while Winston bested Potomac in the opener of the 2010 title set before the P-Nats won three straight.
  • Winston-Salem’s bullpen has yet to allow an earned run in the 2012 playoffs. The Dash have tossed 11 and two-thirds of scoreless relief, and every reliever has thrown at least one inning except for Kevin Vance, who boasts the bullpen’s lone win of the playoffs after working two-thirds of an inning Thursday night in Game 2 of the SDCS.
  • Dash outfielder Courtney Hawkins has driven in a run in each of the first four playoff games. Hawkins hit a solo shot in the fifth inning Wednesday and the seventh frame Thursday before an RBI fielder’s choice in the SDCS-clinching win Friday. Last night, the White Sox top pick in this year’s draft plated a run with a single. In his nine games with Winston-Salem, the Corpus Christi, Texas, native is 9-for-32 (.281) with three homers, six RBI and six runs scored.
  • Since moving into BB&T Ballpark facility prior to the 2010 campaign, Winston is a CL-best 134-77 (.635) inside the gem of the Carolina League. With a win today, the Dash would claim their 51st home win overall, which would surpass the 2010 squad. That team went 50-23 at home in the regular season and playoffs combined.
  • For what it’s worth, Winston-Salem is 13-6 on Sundays and 15-12 in day games this season. This will be the final Sunday contest and afternoon affair this season.
  • Keep in mind that the Dash and Hillcats have played six extra-inning games this season, which is more than Winston-Salem played against the rest of the circuit combined. Seven of the other 21 games between the division champions have been decided by one or two runs, so these two teams play some great games. This one is more important than all of them.

AN EYE ON THE WHITE SOX FARM:

Outside Winston-Salem, it was a great day for Chicago’s minor league system. Triple-A Charlotte punched its ticket to the International League Finals with a 6-4 win over Indianapolis Saturday night. The Knights will play the Pawtucket Red Sox in Game 1 Tuesday night in Rhode Island. Also, rookie-level Great Falls sneaked past Missoula 5-4 thanks to Adam Heisler’s two-run, walk-off home run to force a deciding Game 3 in the Pioneer League semifinals.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Dash fans can catch the club’s quest for a 12th Mills Cup by tuning in here. Fans are encouraged to tweet @WSDashBaseball and use the Dash’s official playoff hashtag: #Dash12. The Pre-Game Dash begins at 1:40 p.m. and features a chat with manager Tommy Thompson and a look back at the Dash’s thrilling home season.

- Brian

Playoff Perspective – Game 3

In case you missed any of our coverage following the Dash’s SDCS-clinching win, be sure to check out the game recap, the highlights, two postgame interviews and the twitter updates. Now, it’s time for our Game 3 analysis.

PLAYOFF PERSPECTIVE:

  • The Dash posted the best overall record and home mark in full-season minor league baseball, so this team won on a regular basis throughout the year. This was, in my opinion, the most complete effort of the season, and it came with the season on the line.
  • Myrtle Beach outplayed Winston-Salem during the first 14 innings of this series, but the Dash responded and crushed the Pelicans in the final 13 frames. After Vinny DiFazio’s homer in the top of the seventh inning in Game 2, Myrtle did not score again in the series, while the Dash plated 12 runs and recorded three crooked numbers.

Chris Bassitt twirled the best start of his career Friday (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

  • The offense will steal the headlines because of the nine-run showing, but Chris Bassitt pitched the game of his life. “Absolutely,” Bassitt said when I asked him about it. Considering the importance of the game, I haven’t seen many pitching performances better than the one Bassitt turned in Friday night.
  • Keenyn Walker’s three-run triple in the second inning was a huge hit for the Dash and for Walker personally. The Pelicans were a deflated bunch after Walker slammed a 2-0 fastball to the gap in right-center. Plus, Walker had struggled a bit in the first two games of the series, and hitting coach Gary Ward has been working with him frequently over the last few weeks. Walker credited Ward in my chat with him after the game, and Dash fans saw Walker’s hard work come to fruition.
  • Winston-Salem catcher Kevan Smith put the game away with a grand slam in the bottom of the third. In his 24 games as a member of the Dash, Smith has driven in 27 runs. He has proven that he can truly hang offensively in the Carolina League, and his slam tonight was a bomb to the bullpen bar.
  • Speaking of Smith’s grand slam, tonight’s crowd was not the biggest at BB&T Ballpark, but it may have been the most baseball-savvy one we’ve seen this year thanks to the draw of a playoff elimination game, and the reaction after Smith’s grand slam was tremendous. This crowd went nuts.
  • Now, the scene shifts to the Mills Cup Championship Series, and the Dash have a huge advantage in their rotation for the first two games. Steve McCray will go in Game 1, and Justin Collop will toe the rubber in Game 2. On the flip side, Lynchburg will have Michael Lee for Game 1, but the Hillcats may have to go with multiple relievers in Game 2.
  • Two playoff wins down, and three to go. Enjoy it, Winston-Salem. I can’t wait until tomorrow.

- Brian

Game 3 Starting Lineups And Intro

The Dash and Pelicans play for a spot in the Mills Cup Championship Series tonight at 7:00 inside BB&T Ballpark. First off, you can relive Winston-Salem’s thrilling victory last night below. It will also air during the Pre-Game Dash, which begins at 6:40 here.

Here are the lineups for Game 3:

MYRTLE BEACH:

CF – Teodoro Martinez
2B – Odubel Herrera
SS – Hanser Alberto
1B – Brett Nicholas
C – Vinny DiFazio
DH – Tomas Telis
3B – Edwin Garcia
LF – Santiago Chirino
RF – Chris Grayson
RHP – Nick McBride

WINSTON-SALEM:

CF – Keenyn Walker
2B – Daniel Wagner
SS – Marcus Semien
1B – Dan Black
DH – Cyle Hankerd
RF – Michael Earley
C – Kevan Smith
LF – Courtney Hawkins
3B – Chris Curley
RHP – Chris Bassitt

Enjoy Game 3. A game this meaningful does not happen very often, so soak it in, Winston-Salem. Talk to you tonight here.

- Brian

Game 2 Preview – Myrtle Beach at Winston-Salem

Southern Division Championship Series
Myrtle Beach Pelicans at Winston-Salem Dash
Thursday, September 6  — 7:00 p.m.
Game 2 — Pelicans lead series 1-0

GAME 1 BACKGROUND:

The Dash face elimination tonight at BB&T Ballpark in Game 2 of the SDCS against Myrtle Beach. The Pelicans plated four runs in the top of the sixth and held Winston-Salem to just one run, a Courtney Hawkins solo shot in the fifth, on five base hits. As a result, Winston must win to avoid its sixth playoff series loss in its last eight tries, while Myrtle Beach is a win away from the franchise’s first Mills Cup Championship Series appearance since 2008.

STARTING PITCHERS:

Winston-Salem — LHP Scott Snodgress (4-0, 1.50 ERA): Winston-Salem turns to Snodgress with its season on the line. Snodgress has turned in five quality starts in his eight outings with the Dash, and he has not allowed an earned run in five of his games. In two starts against the Pelicans, Snodgress has given up just one unearned run on seven hits over 12 innings. A fifth-round pick in 2011, Snodgress whiffed 14 batters in those two outings.

Myrtle Beach — RHP Joe Van Meter (4-5, 2.06 ERA): A reliever for the season’s first four months, Van Meter has made eight starts and is 3-2 with a 2.41 ERA in those efforts. Van Meter, who had a brief stint in Double-A Frisco during the regular season, strikes out about one batter per inning. In his penultimate outing of the regular season and his only start against Winston-Salem, the Glen Allen, Va., native surrendered two runs on six hits in six innings August 26.

DASH DOTS:

  • Winston-Salem dished out nine sweeps in the regular season, but no Carolina League club was able to accomplish the feat when squaring off with the Dash. Winston faced a possible sweep five times during the season, but the squad went 5-0 in those games and outscored its opposition 37-16, which is an average score of 7.4-3.2 in such situations. The Dash face a possible playoff sweep tonight.
  • Wednesday’s starter Erik Johnson twirled a no-hitter until the final out of the sixth inning, which matched the longest no-hit bid by a Winston-Salem starter this season.
  • Since Winston-Salem won the 2003 Carolina League crown, the franchise has played in four elimination games. Winston is 0-4 in those games, with the combined score sitting at 22-11. This is the first elimination game in Winston-Salem since September 6, 2008, when Myrtle ended the Warthogs season with an 11-5 victory.
  • Outside of Daniel Wagner’s 2-for-2, two-walk night, no Winston whacker reached base more than once Wednesday night. Excepting Hawkins’ home run, the Dash did not get a runner to third base. Myrtle Beach’s pitching quartet whiffed 10 men during the contest, while the Dash stranded seven runners, four of which were in scoring position.
  • Dash outfielder Courtney Hawkins hit his second High-A home run in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game. Including his regular season work, Chicago’s top pick in June is 6-for-21 (.286) with a pair of long balls and three RBI in Winston-Salem. Hawkins is the youngest player to compete in the CL this season (18 years, nine months, 25 days).
  • Myrtle Beach plated four runs in the sixth inning in Game 1 after the Pelicans only scored more than four runs in five regular season games against the Dash this season. In these two squads previous two meetings (August 26 and last night), the Pelicans have surged past the Dash thanks to a four-run frame late in the contest.

AN EYE ON THE NDCS:

Lynchburg seized a 1-0 lead in the Northern Division Championship Series with an 8-0 win in Wilmington Wednesday. Carolina League Pitcher of the Year Gus Schlosser blanked the Blue Rocks over eight innings, while the Hillcats plated two in the eighth and four more in the ninth to pull away. Tommy La Stella drove in three runs, while fellow midseason All-Star Nick Ahmed plated a pair.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Dash fans can catch the club’s quest for a 12th Mills Cup by tuning in here. Fans are encouraged to tweet @WSDashBaseball and use the Dash’s official playoff hashtag: #Dash12. The Pre-Game Dash begins at 6:40 p.m. and features a chat with Dash skipper Tommy Thompson and a look back at Game 1.

- Brian

Game 1 Preview – Myrtle Beach at Winston-Salem

Southern Division Championship Series
Myrtle Beach Pelicans at Winston-Salem Dash
Wednesday, September 5  — 7:00 p.m.
Game 1 — Best-of-three series

GAME 1 BACKGROUND:

For the 26th time, Winston-Salem competes in the Carolina League’s postseason, and the Dash kick off their playoff run tonight against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Dash enter with the franchise’s second-best regular season record since joining the CL as a charter member in 1945. Winston also posted the best overall record (87-50-1) and home mark (48-23) in full-season minor league baseball.

During the regular season, the Dash won the season series 11-9, which included a 9-4 mark against the Pelicans in the second half. Myrtle Beach qualified for the playoffs by finishing the second half with the second-best record in the Southern Division. The Pelicans finished 74-65, which was the circuit’s second-best mark.

STARTING PITCHERS:

Winston-Salem — RHP Erik Johnson (4-3, 2.74 ERA): Johnson thrived for the Dash in his eight Carolina League starts following his promotion from Low-A Kannapolis July 21, which earned him the Game 1 nod. Johnson twirled a quality start in seven of his eight outings in purple, and the righty has struck out 48 batters in 49.1 innings. This will be Johnson’s first appearance against Myrtle in his career.

Myrtle Beach — RHP Luke Jackson (5-2, 4.39 ERA): Jackson has had an up-and-down second half after recording an ERA near five with Low-A Hickory to begin the season. The righty has not worked through six innings since August 2. He has faced the Dash four times this season, going 1-2 with a 5.32 ERA in 22 innings.

DASH DOTS:

  • During the season series, Winston-Salem not only boasted more wins against Myrtle Beach, but the Dash held the edge in most statistical categories. The Dash had a better batting average (.270 to .211), scored more runs (89 to 65), and posted a much better earned run average (2.45 to 4.17).
  • The Dash have not lost a series since July 21-23 at home against Frederick, a span of 12 sets.
  • Winston-Salem has only played the Pelicans one other time in the Carolina League postseason. Myrtle Beach took down the Warthogs 3-1 in a best-of-five SDCS in 2008.
  • Entering this season, Winston-Salem’s record in the playoffs sits at 54-53 (.505) over 107 all-time games. In 34 playoff series, Winston has an 18-16 mark.
  • Dash slugger Cyle Hankerd is heating up down the stretch. In his previous nine games, Hankerd is hitting .481 (13-for-27) with six RBI and seven runs scored. In his final two games of the season, Hankerd was 5-for-6.
  • Since 2005, the top team in full-season minor league baseball has won its league title three of the seven years, with all three of those titles coming over the last four years (Double-A San Antonio in 2011, Low-A Fort Wayne in 2009 and Low-A Augusta in 2008). All but two of these seven teams reached their league’s championship series. In total, these teams went 28-14 (.667) in postseason action.

AN EYE ON THE NDCS:

While the Dash and Pelicans fight for the Southern Division’s crown, Lynchburg takes on Wilmington in the Northern Division Championship Series. The Blue Rocks host the opener of the best-of-three set tonight at 6:35 in Delaware. CL Pitcher of the Year Gus Schlosser (13-7, 3.38 ERA) toes the rubber for the Hillcats against fellow right-hander Brooks Pounders (6-4, 4.32 ERA). The Blue Rocks won the regular season series 11-9 over the Hillcats.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Dash fans can catch the club’s quest for a 12th Mills Cup by tuning in here. Fans are encouraged to tweet @WSDashBaseball and use the Dash’s official playoff hashtag: #Dash12. The Pre-Game Dash begins at 6:40 p.m. and features a chat with Dash skipper Tommy Thompson along with this broadcast open recapping the season.

- Brian

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