FREDERICK, Md. - Jake Pettit pitched Frederick to a win in Game 1 of this playoff series and the lefty came up big tonight in Game 5 as well.
Pettit gave up just three hits and one run over six innings, just as he did in game one, to pitch Frederick to a 3-2 win over Potomac in the fifth and deciding game of this Carolina League semi-final series.
The Keys advance to face Kinston for the Mills Cup championship and will host the first two games of that best-of-five series on Tuesday and Wednesday nights here in Frederick.
If they selected an MVP of this series, and they do not, Pettit would likely get the nod after picking up two wins in this series and allowing just two runs over 12 innings against the Nationals.
This, after he went 7-0 with an ERA of 1.62 in 10 regular-season starts.
“This was a great game, both teams played well,” Frederick manager Orlando Gomez said in the boisterous Frederick clubhouse. “Pettit pitched six strong innings. Our pitching and defense was very strong tonight.”
Pettit said he had better fastball command than he did in game one against Potomac and he relied on that pitch more tonight than his changeup, which has been strong for him in recent starts. He said he was not nervous for the game five start.
“No, not really. Just tried to go out and do my job. My fastball was a lot better this start and that really compliments my offspeed stuff. We’ve got a good team here which gives me the runs and the defense behind me. Manny (Machado) made a huge double play behind me, that was huge,” he said of Machado’s diving stop that led to a 6-4-3 double play in the sixth.
Machado went into the hole at short twice tonight to produce a pair of highlight-reel defensive plays.
“It’s been a great season, we came through and now we have one more series to go to say we are champs,” Machado said.
Ryan Berry blanked Potomac in the seventh and eighth innings and Sean Gleason came on to pitch the ninth. He gave up a two-out homer before recording the game’s final out on a strikeout, which touched off a celebration here at the Stadium
The Keys got all three runs on two homers off Potomac starter Paul Demny in the last of the first. The Keys hit two homers in game one to beat Demny.
With one out, Jonathan Schoop drilled a 2-2 pitch to left for his first homer of the series and a 1-0 lead. After Machado singled to left, Aaron Baker, batting fourth, hit a two-run homer to left and the Keys were ahead 3-0. Frederick did not get another hit in the game after that first frame.
“Through the whole series we wanted to attack and get ahead early. That was very big (to get the early homers),” Gomez said.
Frederick went 11-9 in the regular season against Kinston and pitched to a 2.25 ERA against the Indians. Nick Haughian will start game one Tuesday night and be followed by Rick Zagone in game two and Scott Copeland in game three.
For the Keys, this was their first win in a playoff series since they won their third and last Carolina League championship in 2007.
With this win, their quest for a fourth title begins here tomorrow night.
Click here to listen to the highlights of tonight’s game with Keys radio announcers Adam Pohl and Tim Murray.