Lakewood Wins Opener; Reading Drops Game One

Matthew Way was the story of the night in the Phillies minor league playoffs. The 2009 fifth round pick of the Phillies threw seven strong innings as Lakewood took Game One of their best-of-three series with Kannapolis.

Akron 9, Reading 4 (Akron leads best-of-five series 1-0)

Reading jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but errors proved to be their demise as they lost the opener of their best-of-five series with Akron 9-4. Neil Sellers, Domonic Brown and Kevin Nelson strung together three straight singles to load the bases with one out in the second and Freddy Galvis hit a groundball to first baseman Beau Mills that scored Sellers from third. On the play, a throwing error by Akron shortstop Carlos Rivera allowed Brown to score, giving Reading their early lead.

Akron cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third with an RBI double from Josh Rodriguez. An inning later, an error by Sellers put runners on first and second, but it appeared that starter Matthew Way would pitch out of the jam when he retired the next two hitters. After a base hit loaded the bases, Jared Head doubled to center to score two runs and put Akron up 3-2.

Things stayed pretty quiet until the bottom of the sixth when Akron would plate two more runs when John Drennan would launch a two-run shot to center as the Aeros extended their lead to 5-1. Things started to look better for Reading when Chance Chapman got them out of the sixth and threw a one-two-three seventh inning. In the top of the eighth, Reading rallied for two runs off reliever Steven Wright. With runners on first and third and one out, Mike Spidale hit a ground ball that plated one run and Ozzie Chavez followed with an RBI double as Reading made it a 5-4 game.

After Chapman gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth, Mike Zagurski came on in relief. What should have been a sacrifice bunt to put a runner on second with one out actually turned into runners on first and third with nobody out on a throwing error by Nelson. An RBI single and a sacrifice fly put Akron's lead back to five as they led 9-4 going to the final inning.

Josh Judy, who had come on to get the final out of the eighth inning, threw a perfect ninth for Akron to give them a one-game to none lead in the best-of-five series.

Lakewood 4, Kannapolis 2

Matt Way pitched a gem, his seven inning effort went a long way in winning game one of the South Atlantic League Northern Division Championship Series by the score of 4-2 on Wednesday night. The series is a best-of-three that continues in Lakewood on Friday night.

The Intimidators got on the board first as two base hits and a double plated a run in the very first inning off of Matthew Way, but the lefty then settled down and did so in a big way. Way ended up pitching seven innings, allowing just the one run in the first inning. He struck out seven and walked just one. The lefty from Alaska was a member of the 2009 draft class and has made a quick impression on the coaching staff to earn him a start in the first game of the series and he didn't disappoint.

The BlueClaws got on the board in the second inning with an unearned run as Sebastian Valle led off with a ground ball to short that was thrown high and into the seats behind first base. After a sacrifice bunt from Brian Gump, Travis Mattair punched a single through a drawn-in infield to tie the game at one-to-one.

The BlueClaws grabbed two runs in the third inning as D'Arby Myers walked to leadoff before Anthony Gose singled. With runners on second and third, Travis d'Arnaud singled in Myers to take a 2-1 lead. The other run came in as starter Charlie Leesman threw a wild pitch. Leesman, the South Atlantic League leader in wins in the regular season, went five innings and allowed three runs, two earned. Those numbers were a far cry from what Leesman did against Lakewood in the regular season when he retired 20 straight BlueClaws hitters. He allowed eight hits in the game on Wednesday.

The BlueClaws left runners on second and third in both the fourth and sixth and left the bases loaded in the seventh but broke through again with a run in the eighth.With one out, Myers walked again, was singled to third by Gose and scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield to make it 4-1. The BlueClaws though left the bases loaded again in the inning.

Travis Mattair delivers an RBI single in Lakewood's 4-2 win over Kannapolis. The best-of-three series now comes to Lakewood for Game Two on Friday night.

In the bottom of the eighth the BlueClaws brought in Austin Hyatt and he delivered with a one-two-three inning, but things got interesting in the ninth. Santo Hernandez came on and allowed a leadoff single before recording the first out. He then balked twice and sent Luis Sierra to third. With the runner on third, Hernandez walked Dan Black before an RBI groundout made it 4-2. Hernandez then faced Kenny Williams, who almost tripled down the line in right but the ball was called foul. Hernandez then came back to strike out Williams to end the ballgame.

The best-of-three series now shifts to Lakewood on Friday night, when the 'Claws can clinch the series and head to the South Atlantic League Finals with a win.

Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories