P-Nats come up a bit short in 11-inning thriller for Mills Cup

Due to the impending potential impact of Hurricane Florence on the North Carolina coastline, the Carolina League decided Tuesday afternoon that the Mills Cup between the high Single-A Potomac Nationals and the Buies Creek Astros would be changed from a best-of-five series to a one-game, winner-take-all championship in Buies Creek, N.C. on Tuesday night.

Potomac tallied a run in the fifth on a Nick Banks RBI double to go up 1-0. In the eighth, the Astros tied it at 1-1 on a Jake Adams solo shot. The game went into extra innings. Jonathan Arauz’s sacrifice fly in the 11th brought home the winning run. The P-Nats fell 2-1 in 11.

The P-Nats had a good chance to score in the top of the inning, but Andruw Monasterio struck out in an epic battle with two men on to end the threat.

The P-Nats pitching staff, led by starter Joan Baez, allowed only two runs in 10 2/3 innings on seven hits, striking out 10 but walking six batters.

baseballs-in-bin-sidebar.jpgThis was the 10th time the P-Nats battled for the Mills Cup. They have won the title five times, most recently in 2014.

Even with the loss in a one-game playoff, the P-Nats’ 2018 season will not soon be forgotten, and the players will use the experience of winning a playoff series and playing in a championship game to help them along in their careers. Losing in a winner-take-all game in the 11th inning when you found out the best-of-five series was being shortened to one game just four hours before first pitch is nothing to feel sorry about.

Their accomplishments will help them get a head start on the offseason and prepare them for 2019, something six other Carolina League teams wish they had the benefit from heading into October.

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