The Mid-Island Brewers will host a playoff doubleheader at Evans Park this Saturday after knocking off the Lambrick Pirates in the South Island Baseball League quarter-finals.
The Brewers swept their best-of-three series against the Pirates in two games, but the games were closer than the 11-3 and 4-0 scores would suggest.
“I had talked to some of the players on the team and told them that we needed to take this series seriously, because they are not your typical 1-vs-8 matchup in playoffs,” Brewers manager Keygan Hankins said. “These guys could very easily get hot and knock us out before we even think about making a run at a back to back championship.”
Game one at Lambrick Park on Saturday was tied 3-3 after five innings before the Brewers opened the floodgates in the sixth. Starting pitcher Jordan Frost led off the inning with a single, followed by a single from Hayden Plester, then back-to-back doubles from Owen Ketch and Gavin Foss. Alex Boos lined a single up the middle and Adam Sakuma walked, and suddenly the Brewers were in control. Frost struck out six and allowed three runs over six innings, and Jamie Roberts closed out the seventh with three straight strikeouts.
As pleased as they were to win the opener, the Brewers still had to face the Pirates’ ace, Adam Cessford, in game two, back at Lambrick on Tuesday. With Roberts on the mound for the Brewers, the second game was a true pitchers’ duel.
Neither team was able to score over the first four innings, as both pitchers limited the opposing teams to just three hits. Sakuma led off the fifth with a pinch-hit walk before Roberts brought him home with a triple. Morley Scott scored Roberts on a sac fly, then Zach Komst got on board with a single. With two out and Komst on first, Frost took a pitch in the ribs to get on base, then rookie Hayden Plester blasted a line drive deep into left field to bring both runners home. Roberts took over for the last three innings, holding the Pirates hitless to secure the win.
The Brewers will face the Layritz Monarchs in the semifinals, with games one and two at Evans Park this Saturday at noon and 3 p.m.