The season rolls on for the Hi-A Lancaster JetHawks but is over for the Lo-A South Bend Silverhawks. As the only two Diamondback teams at any level to make the postseason much was hoped for, especially with the slew of promotions designed to prepare the teams for the playoffs, but only Lancaster remains in the hunt after winning game two of their Best-of-Five series against the Inland Empire 66ers to even the series. For the Silver Hawks the pitching, which had been so good in their first round sweep in the Midwest League playoffs, finally broke under the weight of the West Michigan Whitecaps.
In Lancaster the JetHawks gave the ball to the recently promoted (from short season Yakima) AJ Shappi. Shappi, who's calling card has been pin point control (just eight walks in 67 innings this season), got off to a rocky start, giving up a lead off homer to Inland Empire's Gary Harris and surrendering two more runs in the second, but settled down pitching into the sixth inning and earning the win. The offense responded as they have all season, led by Dan Uggla who got the start at second base and went 2-4 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored. Jonathan Zeringue started the game as the DH, and responded with a run scored, an RBI and a 2/4 performance that included a double.
The bullpen came on and looked strong, allowing only one run in 3.1 innings and was anchored by the spectacular showing of Justin Wechsler who faced seven hitters and struck out four of them earning his first save of the playoffs. With the series now tied at one the teams move to hitter friendly Arrowhead Credit Union Park as Inland Empire will host games three and four of the California League Divisional Series.
There will be no more changes in scenery for the South Bend Silver Hawks. As happened in Lancaster, the Whitecaps led the game off with a home run from Juan Francia, but unlike their Cal League Counterparts, the Silver Hawks never recovered. Jared Liebeck lasted only three innings, giving up seven hits and three runs, all earned, but it was the South Bend bullpen and lineup that really disappointed. Whitecaps starter Daniel Zell gave up only four hits and one run in five innings and the bullpen was lights out allowing only two hits and striking out three over the final four innings. The only Silver Hawk to reach base more than once was Alex Frazier who also scored the only run on an Allen Mottram single.
The big blow for the Whitecaps was dealt by Danilo Sanchez in the fifth inning when his bases loaded double off Alex Cremidan cleared the bases and put the game out of reach. As a whole the Silver Hawks bullpen gave up 12 hits and 10 runs in just six innings of work.