ABERDEEN, MD. - The Lowell Spinners needed not only to win their game Wednesday night, but they needed a bit of luck, as the only path to a Wild Card berth involved a win and a Jamestown Jammers loss.
While the Spinners battled the IronBirds, the Jammers made the outcome moot with a 9-4 win over the State College Spikes to clinch the Wild Card and eliminate the Spinners from post-season contention. The IronBirds added to the misery, topping the Spinners 5-4, in their final post-season tune-up to end the Spinners season.
Lowell (40-33) got on the board in the first inning after a one out double by Wendell Rijo to the left field gap. A Manuel Margot flyout moved Rijo to third and when Jared Breen couldn't handle Danny Bethea's groundball, Rijo scored to give the Spinners a 1-0 lead.
Aberdeen (40-32) took a 2-1 lead in the second inning, taking advantage of a Deiner Lopez throwing error. After Conor Bierfeldt went down swinging to lead off the inning, Lopez threw away a Ronarsy Ledesma's ground ball to the hole in short after a great play to stop the ball. Lopez took second and would come around to score on a single by Breen. After Breen stole second, Tanner Rust singled him in to give the IronBirds a 2-1 lead.
Shortly after the completion of the State College/Jamestown game that eliminated the Spinners from post-season play, the Spinners tied the score in the seventh inning. After Jake Romanski singled to lead off the inning, he took second on a sacrifice from Lopez. After Nathan Minnich went down swinging, Mike Meyers delivered a single to center, scoring Romanski to tie the game at two.
After the Spinners left Margot at third to end the top half of the eighth inning the IronBirds capitalized in the bottom half of the inning, taking a 5-2 lead on a three-run home run by Ledesma.
The Spinners did not go down quietly however, as Raymel Flores pinch-hit to lead off the ninth inning and worked a walk. Minnich followed with a walk and Flores stole third, scoring when the throw sailed into the outfield, all the way to the outfield wall, advancing Minnich to third. After a Meyers strikeout, Asuaje singled to the the pitcher and Rijo drove in a run with an RBI groundout before Margot grounded out to end the game.
Myles Smith, a fourth round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, made his Spinners debut and went the first 2.2 innings. He struck out three while allowing two runs on four hits. Corey Littrell was fantastic in a career high 4.1 innings out of the bullpen. He allowed just two hits while striking out five. Taylor Grover (0-3, 2.63) was tagged with the loss, allowing the first home run of his professional career and three runs in his inning of work.
Walter Miranda's pitching staff ends the season with a cumulative 2.95 earned run average, narrowly setting a new franchise record and breaking that of the 2009 squad, who finished the season at 2.96.
Minnich led the Spinners offensive attack with two hits, while Rijo continued to impress in his three-game cameo, doubling and finishing the three games with a .357 average (5-for-14).
The Spinners now take the roughly seven hour bus ride back to LeLacheur Park where exit procedures await before trips to Logan Airport for the start of the offseason. LeLacheur Park will not remain quiet however, as Milan Lucic and his Bruins teammates arrive Thursday night for the fourth annual Rock and Jock Softball classic. Tickets remain available and all proceeds benefit Celebrities for Charity.