P-Nats end season with 5-3 win over Frederick
In the final game of the regular season, the Potomac Nationals (63-77, 29-41) fell behind early, something that happened far too frequently over the final few weeks of the season, but they rebounded with five runs midway through the game in a 5-3 win over the playoff bound Frederick Keys (68-71, 37-33).
The P-Nats ended a season-high six-game losing streak and sent the Keys into the playoffs off of a loss.
It didn’t take long for the Keys to get into a position for a potential seventh straight win and a sweep of Potomac. RHP Jefry Rodriguez (W, 4-3) gave up a one-out single in the first inning to RF Ademar Rifaela, while DH Jomar Reyes followed with a two-run home run. Despite the early two runs, Rodriguez allowed just three total runs over six innings in the victory.
Potomac went quietly over the first three innings vs. RHP Ofelky Peralta (ND), but took advantage of mass wildness from the Frederick bullpen. Potomac drew a season-high 11 walks, 10 from the Keys’ bullpen. LHP Alex Katz (L, 3-2) entered for Peralta to begin the fourth inning and immediately walked SS David Masters. Two batters later, 2B Jake Noll singled, while LF Dale Carey followed with a walk, which loaded the bases for 3B Bryan Mejia. A soft flare single to right field for Mejia plated Masters, and CF Daniel Johnson tied the game with a fielder’s choice RBI groundout.
One inning later, the walks once again bit the Keys. Katz returned for his second inning of work and walked DH Jack Sundberg on four pitches to begin the frame, which ended the left-handed reliever’s outing. LHP Mitch Horacek entered and didn’t fare much better against Potomac, as he walked four over 1.1 innings. 1B Ian Sagdalgave Potomac its first lead of the series with an RBI double, while walks to RF Rhett Wiseman and C Jakson Reetz loaded the bases with one out. Noll made it 4-2 Potomac with an RBI single, while Carey drew a bases loaded walk, his third free pass of the game. The walk made it 5-2 Potomac, which was more than enough for the P-Nats’ pitching staff.
Rodriguez gave up his final run of the game in the sixth inning, as the first two men reached on a single and a walk. After Reyes grounded out and put men at second and third base, LF Randolph Gassaway made it a two-run game with a sacrifice fly, though the Keys left the tying man at the plate. Frederick also left the tying run at the plate in the seventh inning against RHP Jorge Pantoja, in the eighth inning against LHP R.C. Orlan, and in the final frame against RHP Tommy Peterson (SV, 1).
The Keys will remain at home and host the first game of the Northern Division Championship series on Wednesday night vs. the Lynchburg Hillcats, while the P-Nats will head into the offseason and begin to prepare for the 2018 season. Details on the 2018 Potomac Nationals schedule will be released soon, and ticket plans are already available for another fun filled season of P-Nats baseball at Pfitzner Stadium.