Excitement was in the air at Falcon Park as the Doubledays prepared for their first playoff game in Auburn since 2012. Although the team had lost clubhouse leader Aaron Barrett following the conclusion of the season, his spirit still lived on as his jersey hung in the Doubledays bullpen during pregame. Everyone was ready for Auburn to start Game 1 off on the right note against defending New York-Penn League champions, the Hudson Valley Renegades.
The Renegades bats, however, proved too much for Auburn to handle. Hudson Valley tacked on double digit runs in their 11-5 victory over the Doubledays.
The Doubledays appeared fortunate to have starter Luis Reyes - making a rehab start from Harrisburg - pitch Game 1 of their semi-final matchup against the Renegades. At 23-years-old and the added benefit of facing older and more advanced bats, Auburn looked to have an extra advantage when facing the defending NY-Penn League champs.
But despite a quiet two innings of work to start off the game, the Renegades solved Reyes and quickly hit him with a two-run third inning off of two sacrifice flies. They tacked on another two runs in the fourth after a one-out triple came around to score and a single brought in the runner from third. Reyes started the fourth inning but was replaced by Alfonso Hernandez following a two-run double to Jacson McGowan, giving him seven earned runs after the runner at second came around to score.
The Renegades' three-spot in the fifth was erased, however, as the Doubledays scored three of their own to counter. Auburn only had one run up to that point off of a long home run by Jacob Rhinesmith in the first inning. Jose Sanchez scored from third base after a tailor-made double play to end the inning was booted by second baseman Jonathan Aranda. Renegades starter Nicholas Padilla then allowed a bases-loaded single to Wilmer Perez before getting pulled for Tampa Bay Rays' 2018 second-round draft pick, Tanner Dodson. Dodson allowed one inherited runner to score on a wild pitch but stopped the bleeding by forcing a groundout.
The Doubledays' rocking fifth inning closed the gap to within three, with the Renegades' lead at 7-4. Another huge inning for Hudson Valley, however, would ultimately seal the deal for the Doubledays. A four-spot gave the Renegades an 11-4 lead with all of the runs being charged to Alfonso Hernandez. The Doubledays were only able to score one more run in the seventh inning before ultimately falling, 11-5.
The Doubledays will be back in action Thursday at 6:35 PM at Hudson Valley.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.