Lakewood Sweeps, Heads For SAL Championship

The Lakewood BlueClaws made quick work of the Kannapolis Intimidators, taking the first two games of their best-of-three series. The sweep sends Lakewood to the Championship.

For the second time in team history, the Lakewood BlueClaws are champions of the South Atlantic League Northern Division and headed to the Championship Series which begins on Monday at FirstEnergy Park. The BlueClaws did it with their bats as they belted out 14 hits in a 9-0 win on Friday night.

The BlueClaws set the tone early in the first as they took advantage of a misplayed fly ball as Sebastian Valle drove in Travis d'Arnaud with a single to give Lakewood an early 1-0 edge.

That would be the only run the BlueClaws would need as starter Trevor May went six innings, allowing just two hits and striking out eight. May combined with Jacob Diekman and Ryan Bergh to deliver a shutout.

Offensively, the BlueClaws did a lot more damage, adding eight more runs. Lakewood scored two in the second with RBI doubles, by D'Arby Myers and Troy Hanzawa to extend the lead to 3-0.

The lead was further extended on an RBI groundout in the third and they broke the game open in the fourth. Harold Garcia and Jim Murphy each delivered RBI doubles in the fourth as the BlueClaws plated two more runs to take a commanding 6-0 lead. However, Lakewood still wasn't done as one swing of the bat in the sixth produced three more runs. With Garcia on second and d'Arnaud on first, Valle drove a pitch deep over the left field fence for a three-run blast, making it 9-0.

The BlueClaws played as well as they have all season and the Northern Division Champions are bound for the Championship Series for the second time in the last four seasons.

In the game, Valle had three hits, d'Arnaud had two doubles, Hanzawa had three singles and Garcia had a pair of hits.

Intimidators starter Joseph Serafin started and took the loss, lasting just 3 1/3 innings after allowing six runs.

The South Atlantic League Championship Series will feature the BlueClaws against the winner of the Southern Division Championship Series, either the Asheville Tourists or the Greenville Drive. That series is still ongoing with Greenville winning game one by the score of 3-2.

The Championship Series is a five game series and begins on Monday, September 14th at 7:05 pm at FirstEnergy Park. The series continues the next night on Tuesday, September 15th at 7:05 pm at FirstEnergy Park and concludes with three games on the road on September 17th, 18th, and 19th.

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