The last week resembled in many ways what the ‘Wolves season was like. They dropped the final game of their four game series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels 14-0. Much like the beginning of the year when Erie struggled to score runs. Jon Kibler made his second start since returning from Lakeland.
Then Erie resembled the team of early May reeling off three straight wins. The ‘Wolves used timely hitting and dominant pitching to take the first three games of the four game series against Akron.
Duane Below opened the series with his best pitching performance of the year. TigsTown's No. 21 prospect worked 6 1/3 innings allowing one run on just two hits. The left-hander is starting to round back into form after having Tommy John surgery last year.
"I was happy with my start and I want to carry it into next year," said Below.
The second game of the Akron series represented the never say die attitude of the team. Erie and the Aeros were tied entering extra innings and Akron scored twice in the top of the 10th, but Erie scored three times for the walk-off win.
"This team has battled all season," said manager Phil Nevin. "I couldn't have had a better group of guys."
Brent Wyatt delivered the game winning hit a two-run home run. It was his second since being called up to Erie. Over his final 10 games Wyatt batted .282.
"I didn't have a great read on Aguilar because I was squaring to bunt, and I got a little out in front," said Wyatt. "I guess the ball just got up in the wind and flew."
After starting the year in the bullpen Brooks Brown has been Erie's most consistent starter during the season. In his previous two starts Brown was roughed and found his way to the disabled list with shoulder fatigue. He came off the DL and delivered one more time this year.
Brown earned his 12th win of the year, moving him into fifth on the SeaWolves all-time win list. Against Akron Brown (12-9) threw six shutout innings allowing just two runs. Three Erie relievers preserved the shutout.
Kibler Struggles in Return
Jon Kibler struggled early this season with the ‘Wolves and was sent down to Class A Lakeland. At the time of his departure the left-hander was 4-5 and had been roughed up in very last outing.
It was much of the same for Kibler in his return. He made his first start for the ‘Wolves on the road against Akron and allowed seven runs on seven hits in just four innings of work. Kibler also managed to walk six batters.
Looking to improve his next time out Kibler started the finale of the Richmond (68-73) series and again was roughed up. Again he managed to last just four innings allowing six runs (five earned runs).
In the last two starts Kibler walked six while just recording three strikeouts.
"It's not the way I wanted things to finish up, but I just have to get better for next year," Kibler said.
Before this season Phil Nevin was the manager of Orange County's Independent League baseball team. He took the opportunity to move back into organized ball when he took over as the SeaWolves skipper this year.
As the ‘Wolves grew as a team so did Nevin as a manager. Most of these guys should continue to grow together since many should be back in Erie next season.
"I learned a lot from the experience and I'm looking forward to coming back next year," said Nevin. "I think on a developmental side we did a good job with the guys that have come through here and we should do a better job next year."
"I had a great group of guys this year."
- TigsTown's No. 19 prospect Brandon Douglas hit .359 during his time with the ‘Wolves, and .345 overall between Erie and Lakeland.
- TigsTown's No. 41 prospect Alden Carrithers finished the minor league season with a combined .312 batting average between Erie and Lakeland. The .312 average ended up being the highest in the organization based upon qualifying at-bats.
- Brooks Brown's 12 wins this year were tied for the Tigers minor league lead in wins.