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Keys win first Mills Cup in 15 years

Finch outduels Pesco in decisive Game 5 victory
September 16, 2005
Different game, same result.

In a rematch of the Game 1 starting pitchers, Brian Finch outdueled Nick Pesco as the Frederick Keys defeated the Kinston Indians, 2-0, to win the Carolina League Championship Series on Thursday.

The Keys, who defeated Lynchburg in the first round of the playoffs, had not won the Mills Cup since 1990. The Indians, who came back from a 2-0 deficit against Wilmington to win the 2004 Carolina League title, failed in their bid to repeat as champions.

The teams had to wait an extra day to play the decisive Game 5, due to heavy rains resulting from Hurricane Ophelia.

In Game 1 on Saturday, Finch was dominating, yielding one run on three hits over seven innings in a 3-2 victory.

Finch was anything but dominant in the clincher, but he got outs when it mattered. The 23-year-old right-hander surrendered four hits and five walks while allowing 13 Indians to reach base over five scoreless innings. But, Kinston went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position against him, stranding 11.

"I didn't have the command I had in Game 1," Finch said. "I was erratic, hit a couple guys, but really battled when it counted."

Keys manager Bien Figueroa agreed.

"He threw unbelievably, the way he worked out of jams," said the skipper, who was grateful for the extra day off. "It helped us out big-time, him having four days' rest. Otherwise, we would have had somebody else pitching."

The Indians didn't help themselves on the basepaths. Argenis Reyes was picked off first after the second baseman walked to lead off the game. David Wallace was caught stealing in the second after he was hit by a pitch with one out.

Frederick scored the game's only runs in the second against Pesco. Mario Delgado went deep to lead off the frame, his first of three hits. After Nolan Reimold doubled and Dustin Yount walked, Bryan Bass sacrificed the runners to second and third with a well-placed bunt down the third base line. Reimold scored on Brian Bock's RBI groundout.

The Keys' bullpen was sharp, hurling four scoreless innings. Garrett Olson, who started and won Game 2, retired all six batters he faced, striking out three. Chris Britton tossed the eighth and allowed a two-out single to Brandon Pinckney before getting Mike Butia to fly out to center to end the inning.

Marino Salas worked the ninth to earn his second save of the series. The 24-year-old right-hander surrendered a one-out double to Brian Barton before striking out Rodney Choy Foo and Stephen Head, giving the Keys their first Mills Cup in 15 years.

"Our bullpen did a great job," Figueroa said. "Olson was unhittable. We needed him to get to Britton in the eighth."

Pesco (0-2) took the loss, allowing two runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings while striking out six. Relievers Aaron Laffey, Kyle Collins, Jesus Soto and Tony Sipp combined on 3 2/3 hitless innings.