(Photo: Brad Glazier)
The Wilmington Blue Rocks are the 2019 Carolina League’s North Divison Champions after a 6-3 win over the Salem Red Sox at Frawley on Sunday. It took a lot for the Rocks to be Champions, as the team was down two games early in this series. The previous two wins that setup this game were wild ones as well. Saturday’s game three was a 3-2 comeback win for the Rocks and game four was a wild extra-inning 5-4 win.
The Rocks now head to the Mills Cup Championship Series which starts on September 10th at 6:35 PM ET at Frawley Stadium.
The RBIs in the game came from right fielder Kyle Isbel (1), third baseman Dennicher Carrasco (2), second baseman Kyle Kasser (1) and center fielder Michael Gigliotti (2).
Six Blue Rocks players had runs in the win and they were Isbel (1), first baseman Nick Pratto (1), Carrasco (1), pinch-runner Ricky Aracena (1), catcher MJ Melendez (1) and shortstop Cristian Perez (1).
Six Wilmington hitters gained a hit in the win and they were Isbel (1), DH Tyler Hill (2),Pratto (1),Carrasco (2),Kasser (2) and Gigliotti (1).
The Wilmington Blue Rocks were four for ten with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base.
Kyle Isbel (1) and Dennicher Carrasco (1) each recorded a home run in the win.
On the pitching side, Rito Lugo was on fire in the championship win as he recorded 10 strikeouts in six innings. Lugo went six innings, five hits, one earned run, one run, two walks and earned the win ( first win of the playoffs).
Robert Garcia would come into the game to relieve Lugo, as he went one inning, one strikeout and earned the hold ( first of the playoffs).
Josh Dye would be the next pitcher up and he had some trouble as the Red Sox were able to score runs during his time on the mound. Dye went 0.1 innings, two runs, two earned runs, three walks, one strikeout and earned the hold ( first of the playoffs).
Andrew Beckwith would try to calm the game down, as he went 0.2 innings, one hit, one walk and earned the hold ( first of the playoffs).
Collin Snider was the man sent in to wrap it all up in the top of the ninth, as he went one inning, three hits and earned the save ( first of the playoffs).
Rocks Take Early Lead With Isbel’s Home Run In Third Inning
In the first two innings of the game, the scoreboard was silent as the pitching was in control of the game.
In the third inning, that would all change when Rocks Kyle Isbel hit a solo home run to right field which gave his team a 1-0 lead.
The Rocks would come back in the fourth inning where the home run ball was flying again. This time, it was Dennicher Carrasco who demolished the ball for a two-run home run to left field which extended Rocks lead to 3-0.
Red Sox Score One Run In the Sixth Inning
The Red Sox were silenced for five innings by Rocks starting pitcher Rito Lugo but in the sixth, the team rallied to get their first run on the board in the game.
The Sox run came from catcher Kole Cottam who would hit a double to right field which scored Keith Curcio to decrease Rocks lead to 3-1.
Rocks pitcher Rito Lugo would leave after completing the sixth inning but what a day it was for the young man, as he struck out 10 Salem hitters in this game. Lugo went six innings, five hits, one earned run, one run, two walks and earned the win.
Robert Garcia would come into the game to relieve Lugo, as he went one inning, one strikeout and earned the hold.
At the bottom of the seventh inning, Rocks would add one more run to their lead as Michael Gigliotti would hit a line-drive double to left field which would score Cristian Perez to give their team a 4-1 lead.
Sox Try To Rally But Rocks Hold On To Become Champions
Josh Dye would come in the eighth inning for the Rocks pitching staff and he had some trouble as the Sox scored two runs during his time on the mound. Dye went 0.1 innings, two runs, two earned runs, three walks, one strikeout and earned the hold.
Dye would walk the first three out of four batters he faced in the inning which spelled trouble in the next at-bat.
Dye would leave after facing those four batters and it was Andrew Beckwith’s turn to try to stop this momentum the Sox were building. Beckwith went 0.2 innings, one hit, one walk and earned the hold.
The Red Sox first run of the inning came from a fielder’s choice which had Tyler Esplin reach base and allowed Victor Acosta to score to decrease Rocks lead to 4-2.
The next run for the Sox came when Jerry Downs hit a line-drive single to right field which scored Kole Cottam to decrease Rocks lead to 4-3.
Rocks would answer back in the bottom of the eighth inning with two runs of their own, to put a more comfortable cushion to this lead.
The first run of the inning for the Rocks came from Kyle Kasser who would hit a single to center field which scored Ricky Aracena to give their team a 5-3 lead.
The last score of the game for the Rocks came when Michael Gigliotti would be out on a sacrifice bunt but that allowed MJ Melendez to score to extend their team’s lead to 6-3.
At the top of the ninth, it was all up to Collin Snider to close this championship out for the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Snider did just that as he only allowed three hits and earned the save in the ninth inning.
The last final out was a pop-out that Cristian Perez would catch to end the game and made it official that the Rocks were the 2019 Carolina League’s North Divison Champions.