DANVILLE, VA.- The Burlington Royals secured the second Appalachian League East Division championship in team history on Tuesday, taking a pair of 9-2 victories over the Danville Braves in the resumption of a suspended game from August 16 and in the regularly scheduled nightcap.
Burlington officially clinched the title after winning game one and receiving word of the Princeton Rays' 4-1 victory over the Bluefield Blue Jays in the completion of their own suspended game.
The Royals improve to 41-25 with the wins, while the Braves slip to 30-35.
Game One (Resumption of Suspended Game from 8/16)
The Royals built a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. 3B Emmanuel Rivera hit a leadoff double, and C Chase Livingston walked to put two on with one out. An RBI single by RF Jose Sanchez plated Rivera and sent Livingston to third. Livingston would score on an RBI sacrifice squeeze bunt from SS Nicky Lopez.
Danville answered back with a run in the bottom of the second. CF Cristian Pache walked with one out, and scored on an RBI double by DH Brett Cumberland.
The score held at 2-1 until the sixth. Royals RHP Travis Eckert tossed five innings, allowing the one run on four hits and a walk. He struck out six and picked up the win.
Burlington's offense boosted him with two more runs in the sixth. Livingston walked with one out once again, and scored on a Lopez RBI double. Lopez took third on an error in left field on the play, and scored on an RBI single by CF Vance Vizcaino.
Danville scored their second run in an eighth inning that spanned nearly two weeks of real time. 3B Marcus Mooney drew a leadoff walk, but Royals RHP Alex Massey struck out SS Derian Cruz to record the inning's first out. The Royals looked like they would escape the frame when LF Matt Gonzalez hit a routine bouncing ball to second, but it was bobbled and Gonzalez was safe. Burlington went to RHP Walker Sheller, but before he could throw a pitch, the power went out. When play resumed on Tuesday, Sheller was back on the mound, and an early wild pitch put both runners into scoring position. 1B Ramon Osuna bounced out to first, allowing Mooney to score an unearned run, but putting the second run on the board.
Burlington blew the game open in the ninth by batting around. Vizcaino singled to lead off the inning, and DH Kort Peterson drew a walk to follow him. After two outs, the latter of which was a groundout to first that advanced both runners, 3B Emmanuel Rivera walked to load the bases. 2B Gabriel Cancel drew a bases-loaded walk to score Vizcaino, and Livingston followed with a two-RBI single to bring home Peterson and Rivera. RF Jose Sanchez would cap the scoring with a two-RBI single that plated Cancel and Livingston.
Sheller shut the door with a 1-2-3 ninth and the Royals emerged victorious.
Game Two (Regularly Scheduled, Nine-Inning Game)
The Royals' offense started with a bang in a contest in which Burlington collected 15 hits. SS Nicky Lopez hit a leadoff triple in the top of the first, and immediately scored on a sacrifice fly by 2B Gabriel Cancel. Another Royals run scored in the third, when C Michael Arroyo singled to begin the frame, stole second, and went to third on a single by LF Jose Sanchez. Following a popout, an infield single by Cancel plated Arroyo.
LHP Cristian Castillo worked five shutout frames, earning the win. He scattered four hits and two walks, striking out one. The win tied him for the team lead with six.
Burlington broke the game open with three runs in the sixth. 3B Tyler Straub led off with a single, and CF Vance Vizcaino followed with a walk. A groundout by Arroyo to first moved both runners up, and Sanchez walked to load the bases. 2B Jonathan McCray, who had entered for Lopez, hit a ball that was misplayed by Braves 2B Marcus Mooney, allowing Straub and Vizcaino to score. A Cancel RBI single plated Sanchez to push the lead to 5-0.
Danville's first run scored in the bottom of the sixth. DH Elias Arias singled with two out, and LF Bradley Keller sent him to third with a double. 3B Darien McLemore hit an RBI single that scored Arias and put the Braves on the board.
Burlington answered with two runs in the seventh. 1B Chris DeVito hit a leadoff single, and Straub hit a double into the left-center field gap to bring him home. Straub would score one batter later on an RBI single to right by CF Vance Vizcaino.
The lead was pushed to 9-1 in the eighth. Cancel reached on a one-out error, and RF Boo Vazquez hit a ground-rule double on a ball hit to left. DeVito lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Cancel, and a Straub RBI single brought home Vazquez.
Danville's final run scored in the ninth. LF Bradley Keller hit a leadoff single, and after two strikeouts, SS Derian Cruz singled to move Keller to second. Mooney singled home Keller, but LHP Vance Tatum recorded the final out to end the game.
- Burlington's 41 wins tie the club with the 2012 team for the single-season Burlington Royals record. The 2012 club finished 41-25 after a pair of cancelled games.
- The Royals now lead the season series over the Braves five games to four.
- Cancel and Straub had three hits apiece in game two; while Sanchez had a four-hit game in game one.
The two clubs continue their series on Wednesday with a 7:00 p.m. contest. LHP Garrett Davila (6-0, 3.05) starts for Burlington against Danville LHP Jhon Martinez (4-5, 3.18). Fans can listen to the game live and for free with Matt Krause on the call. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. at www.burlingtonroyals.com.
Royals playoff tickets are on sale now! Call (336) 222-0223 for your seats for playoff action Sunday, September 4, Monday, September 5 and Tuesday, September 6!
Burlington 9, Danville 2 (Game One- Resumption of Suspended Game from 8/16)
WP: Travis Eckert (4-1)
LP: Ian Anderson (1-1)
SV: Walker Sheller (5)
Burlington 9, Danville 2 (Game Two- Nine Innings)
WP: Cristian Castillo (6-3)
LP: Jeremy Walker (3-3)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.