The Tri-City ValleyCats polished off their two-game sweep of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in Niles, Ohio on Thursday night, winning by a score of 8-4 to punch their ticket to the New York-Penn League Championship Series. The 'Cats will take on the Hudson Valley Renegades in a rematch of the 2012 NYPL championship, with Game 1 taking place at "The Joe" on Saturday night.
It will be the ValleyCats' seventh total appearance in the Championship Series and their first since 2014. The ValleyCats' last New York-Penn League Championship came in 2013.
On Thursday night, Tri-City again used brilliant pitching to lock down the win, with the starter Brett Daniels earning the honors.
Daniels went a career-high five innings, allowing two runs as he departed the game with Tri-City trailing 3-1.
Logan Mattix gave the ValleyCats their first lead of the game with a solo home run in the second inning, before Mahoning Valley scored one in the second inning and two in the fourth.
Once Daniels left the game, the ValleyCats assured that he would be the winning pitcher with a five-run top of the sixth inning.
They drew four walks and collected four hits, highlighted by a bases loaded double from Austin Dennis that scored the tying and go-ahead runs to make the score 4-3 Tri-City.
Dennis ended the night with a team-best 3-for-4 day that included one run scored and two runs batted in.
Luis Encarnacion added the icing on top with a monstrous two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning.
Nivaldo Rodriguez came on to pitch in the sixth inning, allowing just one run to score in earning the 12-out save.
Having now swept the Mahoning Valley Scrappers out of the playoffs, the ValleyCats will face the Hudson Valley Renegades in the Championship series.
Game 1 of the best-of-three New York-Penn League Championship Series will be held at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium this Saturday, September 8. First pitch will be 7:00pm, and it will be the final game of 2018 at "The Joe!"
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.