Lakewood Repeats In South Atlantic League

After a brawl and a rain-out, the Lakewood BlueClaws came from behind to beat Greenville 4-2 to win back-to-back South Atlantic League titles.

According to manager Mark Parent, beating Greenville was going to happen even though the club was down 2-0 in Game Four. "This team never even thought about going to a final game. It was just a matter of who was going to do what to make it happen and it turned out that we got a few guys to contribute, just like it's been all season," explained Parent.

The big blow came from Sebastian Valle, who homered into the grass beyond the left field fence. Valle's shot capped off a four-run rally that took Lakewood from a 2-0 deficit to a 4-2 lead that they wouldn't relinquish.

The rally started with a leadoff walk to Brian Gump and two outs later, Keoni Ruth singled to drive home Gump for Lakewood's first run of the game. Kendall Volz came on in relief of starter Dave Britton and gave up a base-hit to Jonathan Singleton to set the stage for Valle. Valle took the first pitch he saw from Volz and turned it into a towering drive to left that easily cleared the fence and put FirstEnergy Park into a frenzy, except for in the Greenville dugout.

Jonathan Pettibone picked up the win - his second in the playoffs - throwing five innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and a walk.

Besides Valle's home run, the performance of the night came from pitcher Josh Zeid, who was dominating in four perfect innings of relief, striking out six hitters.

"Zeid was just dominating," said Phillies assistant director of minor league operations Steve Noworyta after the game. "I'm so glad that Ruben [Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.] was here to see his performance."

With the indoor batting cage converted to a party room, the players, coaches and staff took turns soaking anyone within spraying range with champagne and used the SAL trophy filled with beer to target specific individuals such as manager Mark Parent. Noworyta was also a target of a few players who huddled behind his back to deliver a deluge of champagne and other adult beverages over Noworyta.

"Hopefully, this is practice for the World Series in Philadelphia," said the soaked farm boss.

Did You Know?

  • With the win, Lakewood became the first SAL team to win back-to-back titles since Savannah accomplished the feat in 1993 and 1994.
  • Just like last year, Lakewood beat Greenville in four games to win the title, even clinching the championship exactly one year after they beat Greenville last year.
  • Lakewood is the first SAL team to win the title after winning both the first and second-half titles.
  • This was the first SAL Title Series rematch since the league transformed from the Western Carolina's League and saw a rematch between Salisbury (NC) and Rock Hill (SC) in 1964 and 1965, with each team winning one title.
  • The win came on Jonathan Singleton's 19th birthday. Singleton celebrated with two hits.
  • Sebastian Valle has now hit five home runs in 18 career playoff games.
  • Lakewood's Julio Rodriguez and Greenville's Vladimir Frias were suspended for Game Four as part of the fallout from the Game Two brawl between the two clubs.

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