The State College Spikes are headed back to the New York-Penn League playoffs.
St. Louis' Short-Season affiliate clinched a second consecutive Pinckney Division crown Saturday night with a 7-3 win over Jamestown at Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park. First baseman Jake Stone homered as part of a five-RBI night, third baseman Danny Diekroeger extended his hitting streak to 17 games and Will Anderson turned in a quality start.
"They've played hard all year, took a pretty good lead in the division and I'm proud of what they've done," Spikes skipper Oliver Marmol said. "So we went ahead and celebrated after the game, enjoyed all the hard work.
"I just told them that they deserve it. They've worked harder than every team in this league and they deserve every bit of this, so let's [celebrate] again, once we're the last team standing."
At 41-26, the Spikes lead the league with 355 runs scored and a .746 team OPS. Their 3.10 staff ERA ranks fourth behind Brooklyn (2.84), Hudson Valley (2.91) and Connecticut (3.09).
Although he has since moved up to Class A Peoria, Rowan Wick contributed plenty to State College's success, as St. Louis' No. 17 prospect batted .378/.475/.815 with 14 homers and 38 RBIs in 35 games. He required only 19 games to break the franchise's single-season home run record of 10, set last year by David Washington.
Anderson has proved to be one of the Spikes' top pitchers, as the 21-year-old right-hander has compiled a 6-2 record and 2.52 ERA in 11 starts. On Saturday, he gave up three runs on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six-plus innings.
"Will's done a phenomenal job," Marmol said. "It was great the way it worked out, where he got to pitch the game that we clinched, and he did a phenomenal job tonight. Held those guys down for a while, gave us six solid. But he's been a special part of this and moving forward he's going to play a big part of us moving along in the playoffs."
The New York-Penn League playoffs begin Sept. 3. Last year, State College advanced to the Finals but lost the best-of-3 series to Tri-City.
"These guys have just shown that they're a mentally tough team," Marmol said. "They've grinded from the very beginning. ... We've still got work to do, and we'll get back at it tomorrow."