The York Revolution celebrates its 2017 Atlantic League title, the third in franchise history.
For the majority of Friday night's, Sept. 29 Atlantic League Championship Series Game 3 against the Long Island Ducks, a sweep for the York Revolution looked grim.
The team trailed from early on, as Long Island tried to extend the series and the season at least one more night. But, like he had done twice before in the Atlantic League playoffs, Telvin Nash came through when York needed him most.
With the Revs down by one in the bottom of the eighth, Nash played hero one final time, launching a two-run home run to right-center field, putting York ahead, 3-2. Three outs later, the Revs were Atlantic League champions for the third time in franchise history, sweeping the Ducks in the best-of-five series, clinching the trophy in front of 5,415 fans at PeoplesBank Park.
"Words can't explain how this one feels," Nash said about his home run. "It came down to those last couple outs. I made a comment to one of the players that they were going to give me something. Somebody was going to make a mistake and I had to be ready and I finally got a pitch I could drive and the man above did the rest."
While Nash's home run will show up in the boxscore as the game-changing highlight, it would've been for naught had Jared Mitchell not flashed the leather in the top of the ninth.
With normal closer Chase Huchingson unavailable after collecting a pair of five-out saves in Games 1 and 2, Grant Sides got the call in the big spot. The first batter he faced drove a ball deep to right field and, with his back up against the wall, Mitchell leaped and robbed Marc Krauss of a game-tying home run.
The rest was history, as Sides converted the final two outs of the game, one by strikeout and the last one a weak grounder to shortstop Ryan Dent, who made the throw on to Nash at first.
"It's special because of the guys and the tale of two halves that we had this year," manager Mark Mason said. "I think it says a lot about them and the way we stuck with it and battled the whole year and came out on top all the way."
The win was the third consecutive one-run decision of the series, with York winning the first two games, 8-7 and 5-4, respectively.
Strong start for Ducks: Long Island got off to a strong start in the game, getting to Revs' starter Victor Mateo in the top of the third inning. With runners on first and third, a single brought home the game's opening run, while keeping Mateo in a jam with nobody out.
However, he worked his way out of the bind with only that run of damage, thanks to a nice snare on a line drive by third baseman Chase Simpson, who then doubled up the runner on first.
The Ducks extended their lead to 2-0 on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth, but, Mateo again limited the damage to that lone run to keep York within striking distance.
One last rally: After squandering a number of scoring opportunities in the first several frames, the Revs finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Isaias Tejeda roped a single to center, pulling York to within a run at 2-1.
The game stayed that way into the eighth, when Nash came up with a man on base and nobody out. Off the bat, Nash knew he got all of it, emphatically tossing his bat to the side. However, the Long Island center fielder Delta Cleary Jr. had a play on the ball, only to have it evade his glove and land on the grass mound in right-center field.
"I know my power," Nash said. "It came off the bat too good. It sounded too good. As a hitter, when it comes off the bat and you don't feel it, you know good things happen."
Mateo was strong for the Revs, pitching 5 2/3 innings, allowing the two earned runs. York's bullpen was lights out, with Luke Westphal, Michael Click and Sides pitching 3 1/3 innings of one-hit, shutout ball.
Improbable title run: The win for the Revs capped an improbably turnaround to their season.
In the first half, York went a dismal 28-42, before resetting in the second half, going 40-30, winning the second half Freedom Division title and making the playoffs.
The Revs won the first round of the playoffs over Southern Maryland in four games and, with the sweep of the Ducks, went 6-1 in the postseason.
"Nobody would've probably predicted us winning this after the first half," Mason said. "So, I think that makes it even sweeter."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org