St. Louis prospect Nick Longmire isn't known for his power. After one swing of the bat Sunday afternoon, he will be remembered for some clutch hitting.
The center fielder smacked a three-run walk-off homer to give the Quad Cities River Bandits a 6-5 victory over the Kane County Cougars. The shot enabled the Cardinals' Class A affiliate to sweep the best-of-3 semifinal and book a place in the Midwest League Championship Series.
"I've never had a walk-off before, but it's one of the most exciting things I've ever done," Longmire said. "When I saw the ball go out, I put my hands up in the air then saw the bullpen guys running in from the outfield. It was surreal."
Quad Cities was down in the ninth, 5-3, when Longmire came to bat with runners on first and second base and one out.
"I thought I was going to get a first-pitch fastball because that was what they had done all day," he said. "I was just looking to get a base hit somewhere. I just wanted to keep the momentum going.
"When I hit it I knew that it wasn't going to get caught, so I knew I had at least a game-tying double. Then I saw it go over. It was overwhelming."
Entering the eighth inning, the River Bandits were behind, 5-0, but they plated two runs on Colin Walsh's RBI double and a passed ball. In the ninth, Ronny Gil walked and Jonathan Rodriguez and Cody Stanley followed with consecutive singles to bring Longmire to the plate.
"When we were behind early, I knew we had a chance to come back and win," he explained. "When it's the eighth or ninth inning and you're down by five runs it's hard, but the belief was still there. Once we got the momentum, I knew we had a shot."
Selected in the fifth round of last year's Draft, Longmire hit .242 with eight homers and 42 RBIs in 97 Midwest League games this year. In 2010, he batted .287 with nine homers and 55 RBIs in 68 appearances for the Class A Short-Season Batavia Muckdogs.
Longmire's longball made a winner of Angel De Jesus (1-0), who struck out one batter in a scoreless ninth. Quad Cities starter Zach Russell fanned eight batters and allowed four runs on two hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings.
Kane County's Jason Mitchell struck out nine batters over eight solid innings. He allowed two runs -- one earned -- on four hits but did not factor in the decision.
The River Bandits, who won the second-half Western Division title, will face either Lansing or Fort Wayne in the best-of-5 Championship Series, which starts Wednesday.
In other Midwest League playoff action:
Lugnuts 4, TinCaps 1
Egan Smith (1-0) scattered four hits and a walk while striking out five batters over five shutout innings to lead Lansing to victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Division Finals. Designated hitter Michael Crouse was 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored, and second baseman Matt Nuzzo went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run in the win. Fort Wayne's Rymer Liriano was 3-for-4 with a double in a losing effort. Box score