'Cats lose 5-3, eliminated from playoff contention

By Tri-City ValleyCats | August 31, 2016 10:17 PM

BURLINGTON, VT - Vermont's designated hitter JaVon Shelby blasted a two-run homer in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie as the Lake Monsters defeated Tri-City, 5-3, on Wednesday night at Centennial Field, officially eliminating them from playoff contention.

Jorge Alcala pitched well in his second start for the ValleyCats, fanning nine batters across his five innings of work. He gave up just four hits, allowing one run in the first on an RBI single by Miguel Mercedes, and two in the third on a triple by Robert Bennie and RBI single by Nate Mondou.

In the top of the third, 'Cats designated hitter Connor Goedert hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot that tied the game at one a piece at the time.

The ValleyCats added a run in the fifth on an RBI single by Rodrigo Ayarza, and another in the sixth on an RBI double by Taylor Jones, his team-leading 16th of the season.

With the score knotted up 3-3 heading into the bottom half of the sixth, and Erasmo Pinales on in relief of Alcala, Eric Marinez singled to center with two outs to set up Shelby's go-ahead home run, giving Vermont a 5-3 lead.

Devin Raftery pitched a scoreless eighth for the 'Cats, but Vermont set the Tri-City lineup down in order in the ninth to seal the victory.

With the loss, Tri-City's slim chance at a wild card spot was officially dashed. It will be the first time since 2011 that the ValleyCats haven't advanced to the New York-Penn League postseason.

The 'Cats return to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on Thursday night to take on the Staten Island Yankees in what will be the final homestand of the 2016 season. RHP Makay Nelson (2-1, 4.64 ERA) will be on the hill for the ValleyCats, opposite Yankees right-hander Kolton Mahoney (4-4, 3.13 ERA). First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m.

The Yankees and Connecticut Tigers are fighting for the lone NYPL wild card spot, so Tri-City figures to play spoiler for one of those clubs playoff hopes. The 'Cats end their 2016 season on the road with two games in Connecticut, September 4-5.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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