Coming into the final day of the regular season, the Vermont Lake Monsters needed a win over Tri-City and a loss by the Connecticut Tigers to clinch the Stedler division title and a trip to the post-season. The Lake Monsters took care of their end of the bargain early in the day and then had to wait for the Lowell Spinners to help Vermont into the post-season.
The Lake Monsters fell behind Tri-City 5-0 in the second inning, but answered the Valley Cats' rally with a five-spot of their own in the bottom of the second. Tri-City would score two in the top of the sixth to go up 7-5. Vermont would answer once again with three in the seventh and then one more in the eighth to pull out an 11-7 victory.
Lead-off hitter Sean Jamieson had two hits, including a homerun, and four RBIs. He also stole his 26th and 27th base of the short-season. Bobby Crocker added three hits and a stolen base and Michael Fabiaschi also had a two-hit game.
B.A. Vollmuth had a key triple in the game and he drove-in two. Vollmuth went 2-for-4 and is 7-for-14 with five extra-base hits and six RBIs in four games with the Lake Monsters. He was the A's second pick (third round) in this year's draft.
Reliever Jeff Urlaub got the win for Vermont with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. He lowered his ERA to 1.67.
After defeating Tri-City, the Lake Monsters had to wait anxiously to see if the Connecticut Tigers would pull out a season-ending victory. The Tigers were down 5-0 going into the bottom of the eighth, but Connecticut scored once in the eighth and four times in the ninth to push their game versus Lowell into extra-innings.
The game wasn't decided until the 16th inning, when Lowell pushed an unearned run across in the top of the inning. Despite having a position player on the mound, the Spinners held on to the 6-5 win and sent Vermont to the playoffs.
Making the playoffs is nothing new for Oakland A's affiliates, but it is a novelty for their new short-season affiliate. The Lake Monsters had been affiliated with the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos since 1994 before changing their affiliation to Oakland this season. Vermont last made the playoffs in 1996.
The Lake Monsters will take on the Auburn Doubledays in the New York-Penn League semifinals starting on Tuesday at their home park, Centennial Field. The series is a best-of-three.
Other News and Notes:
- The Sacramento River Cats begin their playoff run on Wednesday. They will take on the Reno Aces in a best-of-five series. The River Cats will host game three and four and five, if necessary. Sacramento is streaking into the playoffs, having won 10 straight games. They are 88-55 on the season. Sacramento finishes its regular season on Monday versus Colorado Springs.
- Chris Carter is especially hot for Sacramento right now. He has homered in two straight games and is 12-for-his-last-23. He has nine RBIs over that span. Carter now has 21 minor league homeruns this season, extending his streak to five straight seasons with 20 or more.
- Michael Choice's 30th homerun of the season was the difference for the Stockton Ports in their 3-0 win over Inland Empire on Sunday. Choice's homer came in the top of the ninth inning in what was a 0-0 game. James Simmons earned the win with three scoreless innings of work.
- The Stockton Ports will take on the Modesto Nuts in a best-of-three series starting on Wednesday. Stockton hosts game one and will travel to Modesto for game two and, if necessary, game three.
- The Burlington Bees won their fifth straight game on Sunday, blanking the Cedar Rapids Kernals by a score of 7-0. Wade Kirkland had three hits to pace the Bees' offense. Josh Bowman, Nathan Long and Daniel Tenholder combined on the two-hit shut-out.
- Burlington will take on the A's former Midwest League affiliate, the Kane County Cougars, in the best-of-three first-round series. The Bees will travel to Geneva on Wednesday and will host game two and, if necessary, game three, as well.