San Bernardino, CA - Despite falling short after being just five outs away from a spot in the California League championship series the Inland Empire 66ers (2-2) are poised for a winner take all game five against the Lancaster JetHawks (2-2) on Wednesday, after losing Tuesday's 10 inning affair 6-1.
Starting pitching was the early story line for both teams with Thomas Shirley not allowing any runs in his first five innings on the mound, and Alex Keudell supplying his second quality start of the postseason for the 66ers. The Oregon alumnus went 6 1/3 innings Tuesday, permitting just four hits and two walks while striking out three.
Inland Empire struck first offensively when Eric Stamets led off the 6th with a double and was driven I by Zach Borenstein's triple off the centerfield fence. That raised the California League MVP's postseason RBI total to a league best eight, and left Inland Empire nine outs from a spot in the championship.
After a quick 7th, the JetHawks responded in the 8th. Joe Sclafani led off with a double, was sacrificed to third, and then driven home by Carlos Perdomo to tie the game. The two teams traded zeroes in the 9th, and the JetHawks offense, held to just three runs in their prior 24 innings, erupted for six in the 10th to take a 6-1 lead, and the victory.
Wednesday will be winner take all at the Hanger in Lancaster. Kramer Sneed will start for the 66ers against Kyle Smith of the JetHawks. First pitch time for the winner take all matchup is set for 7:00 PM and the game can be heard on the 66ers flagship station AM 1050 KCAA.