Catfish stay unbeaten in postseason play

Stewart goes 3-for-4 as Columbus shuts off Power in Sally Finals Game 1

(John M. Setzler Jr./

September 10, 2007 8:03 PM

Quinn Stewart credited a mini-vacation for Columbus' strong showing in Game 1 of the South Atlantic League Finals.

The 22-year-old designated hitter went 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored as the visiting Catfish beat West Virginia, 5-2, in the opener of the best-of-5 series.

Stewart, who spent a couple of days relaxing with his teammates after sweeping Augusta in the opening round, singled and scored on John Matulia's two-run double in the third inning to erase a 1-0 deficit.

He tripled and came home on Maiko Loyola's sacrifice fly in the fifth and singled again in the seventh as Columbus remained unbeaten in postseason play.

"We were really fortunate to have that sweep, so everyone was able to relax a little and recharge the batteries," said Stewart. "One of the guys has a lake house nearby, so we spent some time up there, getting in the water, having some fun. That just helped us get our minds fresh for this series."

Stewart, who batted .281 with 17 homers and 49 RBIs as a position player this year, enjoyed his best night of the season as a DH. He entered Monday night hitting .181 (21-for-116) when he did not have to take the field.

"Everything here [in the playoffs] has been what I expected," said Stewart, who boasts a .583 postseason batting average. "The atmosphere is really charged up, everyone is playing with a little extra energy and you can tell that both teams really want to get that ring badly."

Cesar Suarez belted a leadoff homer, his first of the playoffs, in the sixth and Matthew Fields went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for the Catfish.

Columbus starter Heath Rollins (2-0) allowed two runs -- one earned -- on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts over six innings. Neal Frontz struck out the side in the ninth for his first postseason save.

Kenneth Holmberg went 2-for-4 with a double and Matt LaPorta drove in a run for the Power, who needed three games to get past Hickory in the first round.

West Virginia starter Alexandre Periard (1-1) surrendered five runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five over six innings.

Michael Echan is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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