Even though he'd homered in the first two games of the series, Brandon Drury anticipated he'd get some pitches to hit.
Arizona's No. 15 prospect was right, and he didn't waste the opportunity. Drury smacked a three-run shot on a four-RBI night and Class A South Bend used some two-out magic to reach the Midwest League Championship Series.
The Silver Hawks scored all their runs with two outs in a 9-5 victory against the Fort Wayne TinCaps Monday night at Four Winds Field. The Silver Hawks took the best-of-three series, 2-1, and will play Quad Cities in the Finals starting Wednesday in South Bend.
With runners at second and third with two outs in the fifth inning, Fort Wayne decided to challenge Drury. On the first pitch after a conference at the mound, the third baseman smacked a three-run homer for a 4-1 South Bend lead. Drury finished the Fort Wayne series hitting .385 (5-of-13) with three homers, a triple and six RBIs.
"I thought they would throw to me," Drury said. "I was ready. I didn't think they were going to give me anything great to hit, but I was ready for anything close. I was just looking for a fastball to hit, and they threw me a slider and I took advantage of it. It felt good. In a big game like this, to get a big hit, that's pretty fun."
The blast was part of a five-run rally in the fifth that started with nobody on and two outs and ended in a 6-1 advantage. After Fort Wayne closed to 6-5, the Silver Hawks stretched out their advantage with a three-run outburst in the eighth that again started with two outs and the bases empty.
Reliever Jimmie Sherfy slammed the door on Fort Wayne, striking out the side on 12 pitches in the top of the ninth to trigger a wild on-field celebration.
Socrates Brito slashed a three-run triple in the eighth inning for the Silver Hawks their 9-5 lead. He went 4-of-5 on the night.
In other action:
Quad Cities 9, Beloit 5
The River Bandits smacked three homers -- solo shots by Carlos Correa (the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Draft by Houston), Rio Ruiz and Teoscar Hernandez.
Correa ended up with two hits and three RBIs. The Quad Cities shortstop is 8-for-19 in the playoffs with a homer and five RBIs.
"It means a lot to reach the championship," he said. "Everybody puts in so much hard work, starting with Spring Training, throughout the whole season. Moments like this is where you want to show up, be prepared and just go out there and have fun and try to win games.
"I'm just trying to help the team. I've having great at-bats, waiting for my pitch. Teams have been throwing around me a lot. I just have to stay patient, look for my pitch, and when I get it, put a good swing on it. I think I'm maturing as a hitter. The way teams pitch me, I'm learning a lot about being patient -- work walks and put a good swing on the ball when I get my pitch."