It had been a month since Franklyn Kilome's last scoreless outing. He picked a perfect time to regain his form, striking out six and allowing two hits over five scoreless innings on Friday as Williamsport beat visiting West Virginia, 3-1, to force a decisive third game in the New York-Penn League semifinals.
"He was outstanding," Crosscutters pitching coach Les Lancaster said. "The first couple of innings, he struggled with his fastball command. But he settled down. He had a good live fastball tonight with a good angle and he threw a plus curveball with plus-plus command."
The last time the Phillies' No. 7 prospect looked this good also was against the Black Bears on Aug. 10, but he allowed five earned runs over two innings facing them his last time out. Kilome (1-0), a 20-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, worked on some things before Friday's start.
"We really concentrated on basic mechanics, delivery," Lancaster said. "He just started feeling it. And once the pitcher can feel what he's doing wrong, it's a lot easier to correct it and have success."
Catcher Austin Bossart opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the fourth and Venn Biter added an RBI double an inning later. Mark Laird and Carlos Duran had two hits apiece for the Crosscutters.
All three runs were charged to West Virginia starter Bret Helton (0-1), who allowed seven hits and struck out three over four-plus innings.
West Virginia got on the board in the sixth on Daniel Arribas' RBI single, but Skylar Hunter did a good job limiting the damage as he stranded runners on second and third. Anthony Sequeira and Robert Tasin held the Black Bears in check for the final three innings, with Tasin recording his first postseason save.
"Sequeira and Tasin have been outstanding for us," Lancaster said of the 2015 mid-round Draft picks. "Sequeira works very fast and it gets hitters off rhythm. He hides the ball well. Tasin is around the plate all the time. Both are not afraid of getting hit."
Williamsport hosts West Virginia again on Saturday afternoon, with the winner playing Staten Island for the championship.
The Crosscutters will send Mitch Gueller, who led the league in wins and ERA during the regular season, to the mound.
"He's been our most consistent starter," Lancaster said. "He mixes his pitches up. He makes the ball move. He doesn't throw anything straight. Our team loves playing behind him."