(WOODBRIDGE, VA) The Potomac Nationals used a six-run eighth inning to defeat the Kinston Indians 8-4 and secure a tie for the second half title in the Carolina League's Northern Division in Monday's regular season finale. The Nationals wrapped up the second half with a 39-31 record and will face the Frederick Keys in the Divisional Playoffs beginning Wednesday at Harry Grove Stadium.
Season finales will often feature some bizarre sights, and the Labor Day contest at Pfitzner Stadium was no different. Relief pitcher Cody Allen drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning with his first professional hit and scored later in the inning to put Kinston ahead 4-2.
But a key error by Jose Flores - making his first appearance since returning from the disabled list - in the eighth inning led to six unearned Potomac runs that put the game away. After a leadoff double by Cutter Dykstra, Flores walked Francisco Soriano. Jeff Kobernus then sacrificed back to the mound; Flores bobbled, Kobernus was safe and the Nationals were in business. Destin Hood then hit a bullet to third that was caught by Adam Abraham, who doubled off Dykstra at third. Without the error, the inning would have been over.
But five straight hits, including three two-out doubles, plated six runs for Potomac and set the table for the series-salvaging win.
Kinston took a brief lead in the first inning. Bo Greenwell and Abraham singled with one out, and Jeremie Tice scored Greenwell with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Nats took the lead back in their half of the first. Brian Peaock's single scored Jeff Kobernus, who had singled and stolen his 53rd base. Peacock then stole second base, and Roberto Perez's throw sailed into center field to score Hood and put Potomac ahead.
Casey Frawley was removed from the game in the second inning. Abraham - the designated hitter - was moved to third, Tyler Cannon took over at second, and the Indians forfeited their D.H. spot.
Allen came on in relief of Mike Rayl in the fourth inning and overpowered Potomac on the mound. In three runs he allowed just one hit - and then did some damage with the bat. In the sixth, Tice doubled with one and moved to third on Cannon's single.
Allen then came to the plate with two on and one out. Tice scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, and Allen's single to center past a drawn-in infield pushed Kinston ahead. They held the lead until the fateful eighth.
Hector Nelo got the final three outs of the game to close down the regular season in front of 2,209 hearty fans at Pfitzner Stadium, who withstood sporadic drizzle throughout the ballgame.
On Wednesday, the P-Nats begin their quest to repeat as Mills Cup Champions in Frederick. Game One at Harry Grove Stadium begins at 7:05 P.M. The pregame show for the broadcast can be heard beginning at 6:20.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.