Photo courtesy Lakewood BlueClaws

Rome came back to win three straight games and take the 2016 SAL Title

The Lakewood BlueClaws won the first game of the SAL Championship Series and scored the first run of Game Four, but wound up on the short end of their quest for a fourth league title.

Even though they were trailing 2-1 in games in the SALCS, there was a lot to like about the Lakewood BlueClaws chances. They had never lost an elimination game and every time they were in the playoffs, they've come away with a championship. They were also the last team to clinch the South Atlantic League Championship on their home field, which came in 2010. 

Unfortunately, things didn't work out as the 'Claws would have scripted them, and Rome downed Lakewood 6-1 in Game Four to win their second SAL Championship, and first since 2003, their inaugural season.

Lakewood took a 1-0 lead in the fourth, and it was the hot-hitting Damek Tomscha who got it started. Tomscha singled to lead off the inning and two outs later, Grenny Cumana (pictured above) doubled to drive in the first run of the game. A passed ball and a walk put runners on the corners, but Emmanuel Marrero struck out to end the inning. Nobody knew at the time, but that would also end the scoring for the 'Claws in the game.

Starter Harold Arauz, making his first postseason appearance for Lakewood, couldn't provide a shutdown inning and Rome picked up three runs in the top of the fourth, all charged to Arauz, who finished the night with 4 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits and four strikeouts. Rome added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh off Grant Dyer, while Lakewood's offense sputtered. On the night, BlueClaws hitters struck out 15 times.

Rome starter Max Fried picked up the win.

Tomscha hit .500 in both the series (7-for-14) and the postseason (9-for-18) for the BlueClaws, providing a home run and six RBI. Mark Laird was 9-for-25 (.360) in the postseason for Lakewood.


Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories