Nolan Jones' breakout campaign isn't over just yet.
Cleveland's No. 5 prospect collected six hits, including two doubles, as Class A Mahoning Valley clinched the New York-Penn League's Pinckney Division title with Monday's doubleheader sweep of Batavia. He went 3-for-4 in the Scrappers' 4-3 victory in Game 1 and repeated the feat with two runs scored in a 6-2 win in Game 2.
Game 1 box score
"It was awesome. It's been a pretty long season from extended spring training to now. We have a really close team and I think we were expecting to have a really good season. To see it happen is really cool and shows that all the hard work has paid off," Jones said.
In the opener, the 2016 second-round pick lined a double to right field in the first inning. After lining out sharply to first in the third, he worked the count full in the fifth before driving a single back up the middle. Jones completed his fifth three-hit game of the season by lining a one-out single to left in the seventh.
Mahoning Valley needed a win in the nightcap to clinch the division for the first time since 2009. After a one-out base knock to left in the first, Jones doubled to right in the third. The Pennsylvania native stands second on the circuit with 17 two-baggers in 61 games.
"I just was looking to put the ball in play and hit it hard," Jones said. "So those three hits in both of the games kind of just happened."
After striking out in the fifth, the 19-year-old dropped a one-out single to center in the seventh. He is third in the league with 67 hits and second in OPS (.906), batting average (.313) and on-base percentage (.429).
"That's new to me," Jones laughed. "I don't really look at my stats or anything, but hearing that is pretty cool. I've learned a lot this year and I think there's still a lot of room for improvement."
While Jones helped the Scrappers log the New York-Penn League's third-best batting average at .252, Mahoning Valley's pitching staff also was vital clinching a postseason spot.
Gregori Vasquez (5-3) capped a stellar campaign with his seventh consecutive quality start in Game 1. The 19-year-old allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts over six innings. Kirk McCarty started Game 2 and surrendered one hit with five whiffs in three frames before giving way to James Karinchak and three other relievers. The Scrappers are second in the league with a 2.91 ERA.
Game 2 box score
After going 0-for-3 in the opener, Indians No. 9 prospect Will Benson jacked a pair of two-run homers in Game 2. The 2016 first-round pick stands tied with Tri-City's Jake Adams with 10 long balls for the New York-Penn League lead.
Vermont 7, Tri-City 4
Athletics No. 16 prospect Greg Deichmann launched a three-run homer to cap a four-run first inning and help Vermont clinch the New York-Penn League's Stedler Division crown. Box score