McDonald, Astros head to Appy Finals

12th-round pick collects three hits in all-or-nothing Game 3

Chase McDonald is hitting .455 in three postseason games. (Tony Farlow/Four Seam Images)

By Ashley Marshall / | September 3, 2013 7:29 PM ET

Three outs away from the end of their season, the Greeneville Astros sent nine men to the plate and scored five runs to guarantee at least two more games.

Chase McDonald said he never gave up hope, even when the Astros were down to their final out. He knew his team would find a way to win. And he was right.

McDonald capped the five-run ninth inning -- and a three-hit night -- with a two-run double as Greeneville stunned Kingsport, 7-3, in the decisive third game of the Appalachian League semifinals.

The Astros advanced to the best-of-3 Championship Series against the Pulaski Mariners, who completed a two-game sweep of Bluefield on Sunday.

"This team is the best in the league, from what I've seen," McDonald said. "It's awesome here right now. It was probably the best game we've played all season. We knew we were going to do it with two outs. We knew we were going to win."

Greeneville will host Game 1 on Wednesday before traveling to Pulaski for the rest of the Finals.

McDonald singled in the first inning, doubled and scored in the seventh and came through with another double in the ninth.

"This is the most exciting thing I've been a part of," the 21-year-old first baseman said. "It is a huge deal to clinch a playoff spot, but when you get to the championship and get a chance to play for a ring, that is an adrenaline rush I've never experienced before.

"There is nothing else you can shoot for except a championship and a ring. For us, to get the opportunity to get a ring is unbelievable."

Teammate Brett Phillips was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, two RBIs and a run scored, while Brian Holberton also had two hits. Astros starter Frederick Tiburcio allowed two runs -- one earned -- on two hits and a walk while striking out seven over six innings. Raul Rivera (1-0) yielded one hit over 1 2/3 scoreless frames for the win.

Kingsport's Robert Whalen gave up two runs on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. Jeff McNeil had put the Mets three outs from a spot in the Finals with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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