The series could not have ended any other way. During the regular season, Lancaster and Inland Empire played in 11 one run games.
The Sixers closed the lead to within a run in the ninth, but left the tying runner on second base to end the game as well as the season for the Inland Empire in a 5-4 defeat to the Jethawks at Arrowhead Credit Union Park on Tuesday night.
The win by the Jethawks moves them into the California League Championship Series for the first time since landing in Lancaster in 1996. They will either play Modesto or San Jose in the final round.
Lancaster knocked around left-hander Bobby Livingston in the third inning. With two outs second baseman Dan Uggla and designated hitter Jon Zeringue hit back-to-back doubles to get the JetHawks on the board. Zeringue's drive plated a pair to give Lancaster an early two run lead.
Two pitches later Jay Garthwaite ended Livingston's season a few innings early as he lined a pitch off of Livingston's pitching hand. He was forced to leave the game with a bruised left wrist after just 2.2 innings of work.
Cesar Jimenez gave up a single as the Jethawks took a 3-0 lead before settling down and getting the final out of the inning.
Meanwhile Gary Harris was the only offense for the Sixers for the first five innings. Harris hit doubles in the first and third innings but the Sixes failed to drive him each time.
But in the sixth inning, Inland Empire mounted a three run comeback to tie the game. The inning was highlighted by a Wladimir Balentien double to right center field to knot the game at three.
Lancaster regained a two run lead with runs in the eighth and ninth innings.
In the bottom of the ninth the Sixers did not go down quietly, however. Carlos Arroyo reached on an infield single to lead off the inning. After Balentien moved Arroyo to second, Matt Rogelstad drove in the 66ers fourth run of the game and got the Sixers to within one.
Two batters later, with the tying run on second and the winning run on first, Harris grounded meekly to first to end the game, and the 2004 campaign for the defending league champions.
In the game, Inland Empire went 4/13 with runners on base while the Jethawks scored four of their five runs with two outs.
Though Harris was retired for the final out of the game, his bat was on fire at the plate in the playoffs. Harris went 10/27 with seven extra base hits. Balentien drove in six runs for the Sixers in the playoffs to prove he is ready for a full season at the Advance-A level next season.
Hey everybody guess what?
Opening day is just 205 days away.
Season Over for M's Farm
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