Second Season Begins for West Virginia

West Virgnia received contributions from many sources en route to claiming the SAL's Northern Division second-half title. They'll need the same production in the playoffs starting Wednesday.

West Virginia won the South Atlantic League's Northern Division second-half title with a 45-25 record, three games ahead of Lakewood, securing the organization's second straight postseason appearance.

The Power open the Class A playoffs Wednesday against Lake County, a best-of-three series.

Manager Jeff Isom and his squad—which finished 77-62 overall--face a foe that won seven of the teams' 12 meetings this season, eight of which were played in the first half. However, seven of the contests were decided by two runs or less and West Virginia won four of the last six.

Interestingly, West Virginia lost all three home games—the first three in the series—but went 4-5 on the road.

West Virginia hosts Game 1 and then heads to Ohio for Game 2 on Friday and, if necessary, a rubber game Saturday. The winner faces the Southern Division victor, either Asheville or Augusta, in the best-of-five championship series starting Sept. 8.

Isom will send La Crosse, Wis., native R.J. Seidel to the hill for Wednesday's playoff opener. The right-hander finished the regular season with a 9-5 record and 4.51 earned-run average.

However, Seidel, who features one of the Milwaukee system's best changeups, rebounded from a rough stretch to post a 6-1 record since the All-Star break and a 2.22 ERA in August. He's been particularly sharp during his last three outings, combining for a 2-0 mark with 14 hits, 15 strikeouts and four walks in 18.1 innings.

Seidel should get plenty of help from an offense that features postseason All-Stars in left fielder-catcher Eric Fryer, right fielder Caleb Gindl and infielder Steffan Wilson.

Fryer, an Ohio State product, has led the team in hitting for most of the season and finished at a league-best .335 with 26 doubles, 10 homers, 63 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, a .407 on-base percentage and .914 OPS in 104 games.

Gindl came on strong the last three weeks, finishing at .307, good enough for eighth in the SAL. He led the team with 156 hits, 38 doubles and 241 total bases. He drove in 81 runs and clubbed 13 homers, including long balls in four straight games from Aug. 19-22.

Outfielder Lee Haydel hit .295 and led the team with eight triples and 34 stolen bases, second baseman Eric Farris batted .293 and registered 32 thefts and Steffan Wilson finished at .289 with a league-high 100 RBIs with 19 homers.

West Virginia compiled the ninth-best team ERA out of 16 teams at 4.18, but it turned in some fine performances nonetheless.

Lefty starter Evan Anundsen finished 12-8, ending in a five-way tie for second-most victories in the league. He compiled a 4.28 ERA in 28 outings, striking out 102 and walking 38 in 145 innings.

Seidel was second in innings pitched with 121.2, while Roque Mercedes (5-5, 4.30) worked 113. Amaury Rivas went 8-3 with a 3.50 ERA.

Mike Ramlow (6-3, 2.59) and Corey Frerichs (6-9, 2.82) have registered eight and 10 saves, respectively, and with Robert Wooten (four saves) offer the Power several good relief options.

West Virginia faces a Lake County squad that won the first-half title with a 41-29 mark, which was 8.5 games ahead of the fifth-place Power (32-37).

The Captains, an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians this is in the playoffs for the first time since 2003, will go with righty Joseph Mahalic in the opener. He finished 7-6 with a 4.19 ERA.

Lake County had the third-best ERA in the league at 3.44 and allowed the fewest hits, but its pitchers walked more batters than anybody else. So it will be a matchup of West Virginia's offense vs. quality pitching.


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