A two-out error gave West Virginia the opportunity, and the Power took advantage of the situation in the eighth inning in claiming a 4-1 victory against Lake County in the third and deciding game of their playoff series Saturday night.
The visitors broke a 1-all tie when first baseman Steffan Wilson reached on a fielding miscue and went to second on a wild pitch. Right fielder Caleb Gindl was intentionally walked and third baseman Zelous Wheeler lined a single to left for a 2-1 lead and designated hitter Curt Rindal followed with a double to center that scored Gindl and Wheeler.
However, the late heroics wouldn't have been possible without masterful pitching from a West Virginia staff that allowed the Captains only one run in the final 18 innings.
Southpaw Lucas Luetge worked the first 4.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits while walking two and striking out five. Fellow lefty and winning pitcher Mike Ramlow then tossed 3.1 innings of one-hit ball before right-hander Robert Wooten registered a strikeout to end the eighth and fanned two more in the ninth for the save.
West Virginia advanced to the South Atlantic League's championship series for a second consecutive season, but the Power definitely are seeking a different outcome after being swept a year ago against Columbus.
Skipper Jeff Isom's squad begins the best-of-five showdown on the road for games one and two Monday and Tuesday against Augusta, the second-half winner in the Southern Division.
The remainder of the series will be at West Virginia from Sept. 11-13.
In the finale at Lake County, West Virginia got on the board in the first. Second baseman Eric Farris started with a walk, went to third on Wilson's single to right and scored on a balk.
Wheeler finished 2 for 3, while Rindal, Farris and left fielder Lee Haydel contributed doubles.
Meanwhile, the Power will tangle with an Augusta squad that features the top pitching staff in the SAL with a 2.95 earned-run average--nearly a half-run lower than any other team. The GreenJackets topped the circuit with 15 shutouts, walked the fewest batters and finished sixth out of 16 teams in strikeouts.
West Virginia scored 24 runs as the teams split a four-game series at Appalachian Power Park in April. The GreenJackets then took three of four at home from Aug. 11-14, limiting the Power to six runs.