Thomas Layne and Bryan Henry have both worked as swingmen this season for the South Bend Silver Hawks after being starters last season in Missoula and throughout their collegiate careers. Henry started the final game of the regular season, which meant that when Christian Beltre uncharacteristically got chased by the third inning of their second playoff game, Layne was the obvious choice to work in long relief, and he responded with five innings to keep the rest of the staff fresh.
Henry therefore took the reins in the fifth playoff game, and turned in a performance reminiscent of his days at Florida State. All three runs he allowed came on two home runs in the first two innings. Henry faced the minimum number of batters in his final three innings of work thanks to catcher Sean Coughlin gunning down would-be base stealer Justin Reed. Henry finished his five innings of work having only allowed five batters to reach base and striking out six.
Henry then turned the ball over to the Hawks' bullpen, which has been dominant of late. They responded by allowing just one baserunner for the rest of the game. Second-rounder Bryan Shaw fanned four betters in his two innings of work before handing off to first-rounder Daniel Schlereth, who whiffed two of the three men he faced. Clay Zavada then struck out the side in the ninth for his third save of the postseason.
The game's offensive star was Collin Cowgill, the fifth-round pick out of Kentucky who was chasing the single-season Northwest League home run record earlier this season. He only hit one homer in the 50 regular season games he played since getting promoted to South Bend, but hit his second of the postseason in this win. His fourth inning blast came after Jo Jo Batten had already driven in Derrick Walker with a double. It drove in three runs.
"You could always see the power, but he never gave it to us, and then, boom, he starts getting it," manager Mark Haley said of Cowgill after the game. "It's a nice time to get it."
The Silver Hawks will travel to Burlington to tangle with the Bees, an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, and battle for the Midwest League Championship. Jarrod Parker will take the bump again for the Silver Hawks after earning the win in their first game of the postseason.
Silver Hawk Snap Shots
- Burlington has not played since Sunday because they swept Cedar Rapids without having a rain postponement. They won both regular season series that they played against the Silver Hawks, finishing 4-2 against them total
- Cowgill's three hits raised his postseason batting average to .409
- Derrick Walker, who often regales his teammates with a fantastic singing voice in the clubhouse, sang the National Anthem before the game
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