Doubleheader split leaves Potomac one game away from postseason

Potomac NationalsThe Potomac Nationals (34-29) had an opportunity to clinch a spot in the 2018 Carolina League Postseason with a sweep of the Salem Red Sox (30-34). After a 6-1 game one victory for The P-Nats, Salem took the back end of the twin bill, edging Potomac 5-3.

The night was not completely spoiled, however, as Manager Tripp Keister tied Joe Cunningham for the most wins in Potomac franchise history. Both skippers have 313 wins in a Potomac Nationals uniform.

In game one, Potomac took the lead in the second inning and never looked back. After consecutive singles from 1B Ian Sagdal and C Tres Barrera, RF Rhett Wiseman gave The P-Nats a 1-0 lead on an RBI single. SS David Masters followed with a run-scoring ground ball double play for the second run of the inning.

That would be enough offense for RHP Wil Crowe (W, 9-0) who picked up his Carolina League-leading ninth victory of the season. Crowe spanned the first 6.2 innings of the seven inning game, giving up one earned run and eight hits while striking out six batters.

After a scoring a run on a Sagdal sacrifice fly in the third, Potomac tacked on two more in the fifth. CF Blake Perkins led off the inning with a single and came around to score on an RBI single from 3B Jake Noll. With Barrera batting, Noll crossed home on a wild pitch. Noll finished game one 3-4, including another RBI single in the seventh, with two RBI and two runs scored.

Crowe came out to start the seventh inning, but was pulled with two outs and the bases loaded. RHP James Bourque walked the 3B Bobby Dalbec to force in a run, but got the next batter, 1B Jerry Downs, to fly out to seal the victory.

Potomac once again struck first in the backend of the doubleheader, scoring two in the first frame of the game. Noll continued to swing the bat well, driving in RF Rhett Wiseman, who reached base on a walk. Sagdal picked up another RBI, his lone run batted in of game two, one batter later on an RBI groundout to score DH Alec Keller.

Salem took a run right back in the bottom half of the first against RHP Jorge Pantoja (L, 0-3) and traded runs with Potomac in the third. The fourth inning saw Salem take the lead for good and knock Pantoja out of the game. LF Ryan Scott led off the inning with a triple and scored three batters later on a single from DH Nick Sciortino. The next batter doubled, forcing the end of the line for Pantoja, who gave up four runs, three earned, in a season-high 3.2 innings of work. LHP Hayden Howard came in and allowed a single to Baldwin, his third RBI of the game, to give Salem a 4-3 lead.

The P-Nats offense could not manage anything more against RHP Daniel Gonzalez (W, 7-1) who went six innings in the win. RHP Jake Cosart (SV, 1) came on to close out the seventh, but The P-Nats would not go quietly. Masters and LF Edwin Lora led off the inning with singles and eventually moved into scoring position on a Cosart balk, but Potomac went down in order to assure the split.

With the doubleheader in the books, Potomac officially sits with a magic number of one to clinch the Carolina League Northern Division first half title. If Potomac wins any of it’s four remaining games in the first half, or if the Frederick Keys lose any of their final five games, then Potomac will automatically earn a spot in the postseason.

Potomac returns home for a four game series with the Buies Creek Astros, who are looking for a postseason berth of their own. Buies Creek trails the Winston-Salem Dash by 2.5 games heading into the final weekend of the first half.

First pitch at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium on Thursday Night is set for 7:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at or on the TuneIn Radio App.


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