Jamestown, NY- Jamestown's mission sounded simple enough entering play Wednesday night, "Win and you're in". The only thing standing in the way of the Jammers and their third playoff appearance in the last five seasons would be none other than the State College Spikes. In the end, Jamestown would pick the right time to snap their eight game losing streak against the Spikes en-route to a 9-4 victory and securing the fourth and final NY-PL playoff spot.
Chad Kuhl, who garnered the "Jammers Pitcher MVP" honors prior to gametime made his 13th start of the season for the Jammers in quite possibly the biggest game of the season. Kuhl would hardly break a sweat against the Spikes in the first inning as he needed just seven pitches to retire the side. The Jammers offense would get to work right away in the bottom half of the inning against State College starter Willy Paulino.
Elvis Escobar and Harold Ramirez would kick things off with back-to-back singles that would put runners on the corners for the good guys. Edwin Espinal would break the 0-0 deadlock on a sacrifice fly to deep center field allowing Escobar to score easily from third base to make it 1-0. Consecutive walks would plate the Jammers second run of the game followed by a passed ball to put the Jammers on top 3-0.
Kuhl would keep things in check on the defensive side for the Jammers heading into the bottom of the third inning. Austin Meadows would continue to impress early on in his career as he clubbed his second home run in a Jammers uniform this season to give the Jammers a 4-0 lead. State College would get on the scoreboard in the fourth inning as Luke Voit drove in his first of three runs on the night to cut the Jammers lead to three.
The Spikes would add another run in the inning against Kuhl as the Jammers saw their lead get a little less secure at 4-2. The sixth inning would see the Jammers widen the gap as they put a four spot on the scoreboard aganst State College reliever Michael Aldrete. Jin-De Jhang would be the benefactor of a bases loaded walk to give him his second RBI on the night without having to swing the bat. When all was set and done, the Jammers would take an 8-2 lead.
Things would get heated in the top of the seventh inning as Henry Hirsch, working his second inning of relief for the Jammers would hit the leadoff batter Carson Kelly. The end result would be both benches and bullpens filling the field as tempers flared in a series that had been highly contested all season long. Order would be restored on the field after a 25 minute delay that saw both managers, inlcuding Hirsch and State College hitting coach Ramon Ortiz ejected from the contest.
The two teams would regain their composure and get back to play as the Spikes would get two runs back and close the deficit to 9-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. The Jammers would find themselves in an all to familiar spot as they entered the ninth inning needing just three outs to secure just their second win against the Spikes this season. Brett McKinney, working in a non save situation would earn redemption as he would get the three outs needed to clinch the wild card spot and punch the fourth and final playoff ticket.
The two teams will take Thursday off before renewing their rivalry on Friday night at Diethrick Park. The first pitch for game 1 is set for 7:05 p.m. The series will then shift to State College for game 2 on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m. If a game 3 were to be played it would take place on Sunday at 7:05 p.m. Playoff tickets for game 1 will go on sale Thursday morning and anyone with questions can give the Jammers front office a call at 716-664-0915.