The Quad Cities River Bandits and the Dayton Dragons won their respective games Friday, punching their tickets to the second round of the Midwest League playoffs.
Neither team won easily. It initially looked like the River Bandits might, as they scored eight runs in the first four innings to take an 8-0 lead, but the Peoria Chiefs plated five over the next four innings to make it an 8-5 game. Peoria’s offense ended there, however, as the Chiefs left two runners in scoring position in the 8th and went down 1-2-3 in the 9th to end the game.
Quad Cities starter Patrick Sandoval got the win after giving up two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out six batters in 6.2 innings. He took a no-hitter into the 5th inning, losing it on a home run by Brian O’Keefe. Josh Rojas, Abraham Toro-Hernandez and Chuckie Robinson homered for the River Bandits.
Quad Cities will play against Cedar Rapids in the Western Division finals beginning Saturday. The scheduled pitching matchup for Game 1 is RHP Carlos Sanabria for the River Bandits vs. LHP Tyler Watson for the Kernels. Game 1 will be played at Quad Cities; Game 2 and Game 3 (if necessary) will be played at Cedar Rapids.
At West Michigan, the Dragons took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th inning and were one out away from victory when an error allowed two Whitecaps runs to score and tie the game 3-3. Dayton took the lead back in the top of the 11th, when a passed ball allowed the eventual winning run to score.
Dayton’s Michael Beltre had three hits, including a double and a triple. West Michigan’s starting pitcher, top Detroit Tigers prospect Matt Manning, struck out 10 in five innings, while allowing one run on four hits and two walks.
The Dragons will face the TinCaps in the Eastern Division finals, with Game 1 of the best-of-three series played at Fort Wayne. Game 2 and Game 3 (if necessary) will be played at Dayton. The scheduled pitching matchup for Game 1 is LHP Wennington Romero for the Dragons vs. LHP Adrian Morejon for the TinCaps.
Midwest League awards
It was announced Friday that Whitecaps radio broadcaster Dan Hasty was named the Midwest League Broadcaster of the Year, and Dragons head groundskeeper Britt Barry and assistant Brandon Moravec received the Midwest League Sports Turf Manager/Grounds Crew of the Year Award.
Midwest League player and manager awards were announced last month. You can read about them here.