FREDERICK, Md. - The Single-A Frederick Keys began the Carolina League playoffs with a win last night as they seek the fourth title in their 23-year history.
The Keys beat Potomac 5-1 in Game 1 of a best-of-five series in a contest that was shortened by rain to six innings. Frederick needs two more wins to reach the Mills Cup championship series.
Miguel Abreu drove in four runs for Frederick and had the game's biggest swing. He hit a three-run homer in the fourth off Nationals right-hander Paul Demny.
"I was feeling good in that at-bat," Abreu said. "My first at-bat he was throwing me inside and I got jammed a little bit. My second at-bat I was thinking, if I saw the fastball, not cheating on it, but just put a short swing on it. He threw me two sliders and I thought I'd see one again. He came with a fastball inside, so I just reacted. It was a good feeling. I hit it very good.
"It's the playoffs and everyone has come here to win. We will all play 100 percent, no matter what," he said.
Keys left-hander Jake Pettit, who put together 10 very solid regular-season starts for Frederick, did the job again last night. He gave up just three hits and one run over six innings.
Frederick catcher Brian Ward said the 24-year-old lefty had his secondary pitches working well Wednesday night at Harry Grove Stadium.
"Throwing his offspeed in fastball counts for strikes (was the key)," Ward said. "Then, when we were ahead in the count, he used them as out pitches. He did a good job doing that against both lefties and righties."
Pettit, a 42nd-round pick in 2010 out of Western Oregon State College, had an ERA of 4.42 at Delmarva this year and it improved to 1.62 with the Keys.
Some feel the continued development with his changeup has been huge in addition to his ability to pitch very well with Ward catching. The two work very well together.
Pettit said he wasn't at his best last night, but still had enough to win.
"I didn't have the fastball command I wanted, but my changeup got me out of some jams. I made pitches when I needed to and overall I'm happy with my performance. It's nice to get this first win out of the way," he said in the Keys' clubhouse.
Frederick, which has won Mills Cup championships in 1990, 2005 and 2007, will try to take a 2-0 lead at home tonight when Rick Zagone takes the mound. The lefty went 4-2 with an ERA of 2.97 this year in seven Frederick starts and was 4-6 with a 4.84 ERA at Double-A Bowie.