Cannons 14, Blue Rocks 6
Class A Potomac needed just one prolific inning last night to end a streak of 15 years without a Carolina League playoff win.
The Cannons pounded Wilmington, 14-6, at Pfitzner Stadium with an 11-run third inning, evening the best-of-three Northern Division series.
Potomac could do little wrong in the third, sending 15 batters to the plate and collecting eight hits. Third baseman Mark Schramek and designated hitter Matt Logan struck the biggest blows, each hitting a three-run home run to electrify a noisy crowd of 817.
"Innings like that are few and far and between, but they're fun when they come around," Schramek said. "We just put it together for that inning and coasted the rest of the way."
The win forces a decisive third game tonight at 7:05 in Woodbridge, with the winner advancing to the Carolina League championship series. It is the first postseason victory for the Cannons since 1989, when they won the league title. The Cannons haven't even had a chance to win a playoff game in the last decade -- they reached the postseason this year for the first time since 1995.
The third inning started with the Cannons increasing their lead to 5-2 on RBI hits by Logan and right fielder Chad Durham, chasing starter Jason Kaanoi after just 21/3 innings. The Cannons continued roughing up his replacement -- Schramek pulled a ball over the left field wall on reliever John Gragg's second pitch.
The Cannons scored three more runs before Logan's home run to right-center gave him four RBI for the inning and his team a 14-2 lead. Gragg was ejected from the game after his next pitch, which hit Durham in the back. Gragg, who pitched one-third of the inning, allowed two inherited runners to score and gave up seven earned runs of his own.
The inning ended when Drew Endicott, the Blue Rocks' third pitcher of the inning, retired Schramek on a fly ball. The Cannons hit for the cycle as a team in the inning, with several base hits, a double by Durham, a triple by left fielder Junior Ruiz and the pair of home runs.
"We were swinging the bats well, our pitching kept us in the game and we got some good defense," Logan said. "That usually wins playoff games."
Potomac starter Eddy Valdez gave up all six Blue Rocks runs in five innings, but pitched well enough to earn the victory. Kyle Edens pitched three scoreless innings in relief, striking out four.