Augusta falls, Lakewood wins SAL Championship

After two of Lakewood's top three starters were arguably outpitched by their less heralded Augusta counterparts, there was some hope that the GreenJackets might be able to pull out the impossible by winning 3 in a row. But the third guy went for Lakewood on Friday, and that was all she wrote for Augusta.

Finally, one of Lakewood’s aces put up an ace-like performance.

Lakewood Blueclaws starter Matt Maloney turned in a career high in strikeouts when it counted the most, pitching a complete game shutout against the Augusta GreenJackets, and with Lakewood’s 5-0 win, the Blueclaws took home their first ever South Atlantic League championship.

Maloney struck out 12 while walking just 2 and giving up 7 hits.

The closest that GreenJackets came to scoring was in the 3rd.  With one out, Maloney gave up both of his walks, to Pablo Sandoval and Antoan Richardson.  After getting the 2nd out, he threw a wild pitch, advancing the runners to second and third.  But shortstop Brian Bocock hit a line drive back at Maloney that he snagged, and it ended the inning.

Lakewood took the lead early, grabbing a one out walk in the first against starter Ryan Shaver.  Asprilla took the walk, then stole second, and came home on Mike Spidale’s double.  Spidale scored on Jeremy Slayden’s single right after that.

Lakewood added three more in the 5th, as Shaver walked one and gave up two two-out singles to allow a run to come in and put runners at the corners.  Reliever Bryan Millikan came in, and immediately gave up a single to score a second run, and threw two wild pitches to allow a third to score before getting out of the inning.

Shaver was charged with all five runs on 5 hits and 2 walks in 4.2 innings. Millikan only gave up 2 more hits the rest of the way, but the damage was done.

The series ended with Augusta’s biggest strength having all but disappeared.  Augusta managed just one stolen base in five attempts.  Eugenio Velez attempted four of those attempts, completing the only successful steal.  Catcher Barry Gunther attempted the only other steal, as the team’s three outfielders who combined for 134 stolen bags on the year, Ben Copeland (30), Michael Mooney (38), and Antoan Richardson (66) did not get going on the basepaths at all.

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