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09/06/2008 12:38 AM ET
Detwiler, P-Nats end Finals drought
Former first-round pick on the mound for another clincher
Ross Detwiler was 8-8 with a 4.86 ERA in 26 regular-season starts for Potomac. (Carl Kline/MLB.com)

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The Potomac Nationals earned their first trip to the Carolina League Championship Series in 19 years Friday, edging the Wilmington Blue Rocks, 1-0, to sweep their best-of-5 playoff series.

The Nationals will face Myrtle Beach or Winston-Salem in the Mills Cup Finals, beginning Monday.

It's the third trip to the Finals in the franchise's 31-year history and first since 1989, when the Prince William Yankees won the championship.

"I think it's great for the Potomac Nationals and for the Washington Nationals," said Potomac manager Randy Knorr. "It shows we've got guys coming up in the system who are competitive and really go after it. It's a great achievement for them."

The Nationals got a strong start from former first-round pick Ross Detwiler (1-0), who allowed two hits and five walks over 5 1/3 innings with four strikeouts.

It was the third time this season that Detwiler notched a victory in a clinching game. He was on the mound when Potomac secured the Northern Division first- and second-half titles.

"There's something about Ross in big games, and this was a big game," Knorr said. "He stepped it up, he was focused and did a super job."

Josh Wilkie fanned two in 1 1/3 perfect innings to notch his first postseason save.

The Nationals scored the game's lone run in the third when Michael Burgess led off with a ground-rule double, moved to third on Jhonatan Solano's sacrifice and came home on Boomer Whiting's sacrifice fly.

Whiting, a 24-year-old left fielder, scored the winning run in Potomac's 15-inning victory on Wednesday and in Thursday's 10-inning triumph.

As the Nationals wait to find out who they'll play for the title, Knorr said he doesn't plan on making any changes.

"We're just going to continue doing what we've been doing," he said. "We'll let these guys continue to play. I'm proud of every one of them." Box score

In other Carolina League action:

Myrtle Beach Pelicans 5, Winston-Salem Warthogs 1
Cole Rohrbough gave up an unearned run on two hits over six strong innings as the Pelicans took a 2-1 lead in their best-of-5 first-round series. Tyler Flowers had three hits, including a solo homer, and two RBIs for Myrtle Beach. Box score

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.