(WOODBRIDGE, VA) With a 2-0 shutout over the Kinston Indians, the Potomac Nationals clinched as spot in the Carolina League playoffs with a second-half championship. Trevor Holder dominated for six shutout innings, Tyler Moore drove in the winning run in the first inning, and the P-Nats completed their remarkable turnaround and set up a date with the Frederick Key's in the first round of the Mills Cup Championship.
The Nationals, who were eight games under .500 in the season's first half, have won eight of ten to fend off the Wilmington Blue Rocks and wrap up their second postseason spot in three seasons. When Potomac last reached in 2008, they won the League title.
Holder sent the K-Tribe down in order in the first inning, including a pair of strikeouts, and would get all the offense he needed in the Nats' half of the first. A pair of one-out walks by Kinston starter Joe Gardner brought Tyler Moore, the Carolina League's home run and RBI leader, to the plate. Typical of his second-half run, Moore singled to left to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.
Gardner settled in from there, and retired the next 13 Potomac hitters. Francisco Soriano broke up that streak with a leadoff walk in the sixth, and would score a massive insurance run later in the frame. Soriano stole second base and moved to third on a crucial throwing error by Garnder, who tried to pick the Nats' shortstop off at second and flung the ball into centerfield. Derek Norris then singled to left to push the Nationals' lead to two.
Patrick McCoy came on to pitch a perfect seventh inning for his sixth save that sent Potomac into the postseason.
In the nightcap of the doubleheader, Abner Abreu's bases-clearing triple in the fifth inning keyed a 4-1 Kinston win.
Potomac will begin their quest for the Mills Cup Championship on Wednesday in Frederick at 7:00 P.M. Game two is scheduled for Thursday September 9 in Frederick, and the clubs will return to Woodbridge on Friday, Septmeber 10 for Game Three. If necessary, games four and five will also take place at Pfitzner Stadium.
The Nationals are excited about their 2010 Belly Bustin' Playoff ticket package. Due to the popularity of the Belly Buster promotion during the 2010 season, the P-Nats have rolled the remarkable plan into the postseason. Fans can purchase the entire Playoff Package for just $60. This is a $30 discount (or 2 FREE games) from the individual price of a Belly Buster Ticket. For each game, fans get a game ticket for any available seat in the stadium, and all-you-can-eat hamburgers, hot dogs and popcorn. To get your tickets, call 703-590-2311 and Join the Playoff Party!