CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — The York Revolution players can sleep a little easier on their journey back home, knowing they're just one win away from their third Atlantic League championship in franchise history.
A two-run eighth inning secured a 5-4 victory over the Long Island Ducks on Thursday, Sept. 28. The Revs will take a 2-0 lead back to York in the best-of-five title series.
It was a Jared Mitchell single with two runners on base that broke a 3-3 tie with nobody out in the eighth. Two batters later Mitchell scored on a base hit from Telvin Nash to put the Revs up by two.
The Ducks put the pressure back on York in the bottom half of the inning, scoring a run with two outs and the bases loaded to pull within one, but York reliever Chase Huchingson struck out Anthony Vega to end the inning.
“I had some guys step up,” Revolution manager Mark Mason said. “When they focus and they get locked in and they get motivated, they find a way to do it. That’s hats off to them.”
Pitcher Grant Sides picked up his second consecutive win of the series, throwing two thirds of an inning and striking out two batters. He entered the game in the middle of the seventh, relieving starter Frank Gailey, who pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits.
The Revs only used three relievers in the win.
“I know Frank Gailey did a good job with starting pitching for us,” Mason said. “That did get to save a lot of our bullpen guys, because I used a lot of guys last night.”
Alonzo Harris hit a solo shot over the left-field fence in the Revolution’s first at bat of the game to a take 1-0 lead early. The home run was Harris’ team-leading 24th of the season.
The Ducks tied the game in the bottom of the inning off a throwing error by Chase Simpson.
Long Island took a brief lead in the bottom of the fourth when Alex Burg hit a homer to left, but the Revs answered back two innings later to even the game off a sacrifice fly from Harris.
“Alonzo is probably player of the year in this league,” Mason said of his left fielder.
The Revs recaptured their lead in the top of the seventh off an RBI double from Travis Witherspoon, but Giovanny Alfonzo hit a slower roller to shortstop that allowed Burg to score from third base.
Looking for third title: The series now shifts back to Pennsylvania with the Revs eyeing another championship. York’s last title win came against the Ducks back in 2011 when they defeated Long Island in four games for their second consecutive Atlantic League championship.
Mason, now in his fifth season as manager of the Revs and eighth overall on the staff, is no stranger to playing championship games in York. He was a pitching coach for both of the club’s league titles. He's expecting a raucous atmosphere at PeoplesBank Park on Friday, Sept. 29, for Game 3.
“Obviously trying to get one win is easier than trying to get two, no matter where you’re playing, but we’ll be in front of our fans," Mason said. "I know they’ll be fired up. They’ve been fired up all year. This is my eighth year here, so I know how they are. I’ve been here for all the championships and everything, so I know what to expect going into (Friday) night.
“The place will be rocking and I’m sure our guys will feed off of that.”
Reach Christian Arnold at firstname.lastname@example.org