The West Virginia Power are going back to the South Atlantic League playoffs for the second straight year. They just wish they could have done so with a victory.
Curt Rindal ripped a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday as the Power walked off with an 8-7 win over the Kannapolis Intimidators in the opener of a doubleheader at Appalachian Power Park.
However, it wasn't until the first few innings of its 2-1 loss in the nightcap that West Virginia found out it was playoff-bound as Hagerstown rallied for four runs in the top of the ninth to beat second-place Lakewood, 5-2.
"We walked off the field dejected because we didn't win that game," said first-year Power manager Jeff Isom. "We had some fun in the clubhouse, but our goal every game this year is to go out and give an effort to win.
"We won the first game in impressive fashion and the Lakewood game was still going on when we were on the field for Game 2, but we kept it hush-hush. We would have liked to have ended it with a win in that situation. Obviously, we wanted to win it on our own."
Regardless, West Virginia will be bidding for its first Sally championship since the Charleston Wheelers brought home the crown in 1990.
Isom has high expectations for his club after working with many of the players at Rookie-level Helena during last year's run to the Pioneer League playoffs.
"I was in Helena with this group last year and had a little bit of a playoff run," he said. "We're not going to do anything different [now that we clinched]. We want to get some guys some much-needed rest because we've been grinding it out in the second half. But we want to win these games and carry some momentum going into the playoffs."
Eric Farris went 2-for-5 with a double and four RBIs in the opener for the Power (44-23).
Mike Ramlow (6-3) got the final out in the top of the ninth to pick up the win after Robert Wooten surrendered a go-ahead RBI single to Brent Morel earlier in the frame.
Jim Gallagher went 3-for-5 with two homers, four RBIs and three runs scored for the Intimidators (34-28) in Game 1.
Tyson Corley (0-4) took the loss in the opener after surrendering two runs on three hits with three strikeouts in three frames.
R.J. Seidel started Game 2 for West Virginia and gave up a run on six hits and a walk with eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. Corey Frerichs (6-9) took the loss, yielding an unearned run on two hits with three strikeouts in 1 2/3 frames.