There is something about the postseason that brings out the best in Dante Bichette.The 26-year-old believes that he shines brightest when the stakes are elevated and the pressure is magnified.He sparkled Thursday.The Nationals farmhand drove in the go-ahead run with a 12th-inning single that proved to be the difference as
There is something about the postseason that brings out the best in Dante Bichette.
The 26-year-old believes that he shines brightest when the stakes are elevated and the pressure is magnified.
He sparkled Thursday.
The Nationals farmhand drove in the go-ahead run with a 12th-inning single that proved to be the difference as Double-A Harrisburg edged Bowie, 5-4, in Game 2 of the best-of-5 Eastern League semifinals at Prince George's Stadium. With the victory, the Senators knotted the series at one apiece.
"The playoffs have always been my thing," he said. "I've always played well late in the season and into the playoffs. The game just slows down for me. ... I think the playoffs brings out the best of true competitors and that's just what happens.
"I'm pretty good at keeping loose during important situations and just having fun and trying to play to win."
Bichette finished 3-for-6 with a double, a pair of RBIs and a run scored. He played a part in four of his club's runs.
The 2011 first-rounder of the Yankees started with an RBI double to right, plating second-ranked Washington prospectLuis Garcia in a three-run opening frame for the Sens. In the next inning, Bichette reached on a fielding error by shortstop Mason McCoy, which sent David Masters home from third to give Harrisburg a 4-0 advantage.
"I think I figured a lot of stuff out, too," the first baseman said, "as far as how to be consistent and how to be good every single day. And good hitters find a way to step up in big situations, and I'm just happy that was ringing true for me today."
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Andrew Lee was rolling on the hill for Harrisburg. The right-hander allowed three walks and fanned six over five no-hit innings. He threw 49 of 77 pitches for strikes.
"His fastball was playing up today, and that's something that when he's on, it's going to be hard to hit him," Bichette said. "He's a big dude and he was getting ahead of guys just about all night. Even the guys that he walked, when they got to first they told me that his fastball was popping. And whenever someone has their heater working like that, it's going to be hard to hit it."
However, the Baysox rallied with a pair of taters off the Senators bullpen. Carlos Pèrez mashed a three-run shot to left in the sixth, and Ryan Ripken socked a game-tying solo blast to right two frames later.
"We've got a really good group of guys here, really tight-knit, and the tires never deflated," Bichette said. "We knew they have a good-hitting ballclub over there, so we didn't think they were going to be shut out. But we gave ourselves an early cushion and then they fought back, but we knew it wasn't going to be a walk in the park. ... I think we took on the adversity pretty well."
Cole Freeman led off the Harrisburg 12th with a single, swiped second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Carlos Pèrez. Bichette plated the No. 26 Nats prospect two batters later, poking a 2-1 offering from Steven Klimek (0-1) back up the middle.
"They brought the infield in to cut the runner off, so I knew I just needed to hit something hard," Bichette said. "He gave me a good pitch to hit, and I hit it hard right back up the middle and it got through.
"When that run scored, I knew it was over. Our guy [Jacob Condra-Bogan] was throwing really hard -- I think his first five pitches came in at 98 mph -- and he is one of my favorite guys to watch pitch. He's a bulldog type. I just didn't see them winning once we got ahead."
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Condra-Bogan (1-0) notched the victory after working around a hit and two walks while whiffing three over two scoreless frames to end the game.
Game 3 is Friday in Harrisburg.
In other Eastern League playoff action:
Thunder 3, Reading 0 (F/10)
A quartet of Thunder pitchers combined to shut out Reading, and Kyle Holder mashed a go-ahead dinger to lead off the 10th. Brian Navarreto and Ben Ruta provided some insurance with an RBI apiece. That Trenton effort spoiled a brilliant outing by No. 18 Philadelphia prospectDavid Parkinson, who allowed three hits and a walk while whiffing five over seven scoreless frames for the Fightin Phils. The Thunder claimed a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 semifinals. The series moves to ARM & HAMMER Park for Game 3 on Friday. Gameday box score
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RobTnova24.