After recovering from a disastrous 1st half of the season to winning the 2nd half title in roaring fashion, this year’s edition of the Wilmington Blue Rocks overcame a lot to put themselves 1 game away from advancing to the Carolina League finals. But at the end it was another one of those 1 run loses that ended their season.
The game started out as a pitcher’s duel between Blue Rocks’ Leondry Perez and the Hillcats’ Aaron Northcraft with both sides not getting a runner past first base til the top of the 3rd when Blue Rocks DH Geulin Beltre hit a one out solo homer to left, giving the Rocks the 1-0 lead. That lead would hold til All World/Future Atlanta Braves SS Andrelton Simmons hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 4th to tie it up 1-1 for the Hillcats.
The pitchers’ duel would continue with help from both team’s defense and the game did have the feel of one that was going to be decided in extra innings until Hillcats catcher Braeden Schlehuber hit a one out homer in the 8th for a 2-1 Hillcat lead. The top of the 9th had swinging strikeouts from Matt Fields and Cheslor Cuthbert before Brett Eibner worked a walk to keep the game going for the Blue Rocks. However the next batter Geulin Beltre hit a soft flyout to right to cinch the series win for Lynchburg.
Lynchburg now will play the Southern Division champ Winston Salem in a best of 5 series for the Carolina League Championship which started Saturday in Lynchburg.