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SeaWolves clinch second half division title despite a Sunday loss

Scores, news, and notes from around the Detroit Tigers’ farm system for Sunday, September 18, 2022.

Toledo Mud Hens 7, Indianapolis Indians 4 (box)

The Mud Hens stayed red hot on Sunday, completely a six-game sweep over Indianapolis and racking up their 10th straight victory. With 10 games left on the calendar, the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate is rolling as they enter the final week and a half of play.

Daniel Ponce De Leon was solid in his second start in the Tigers’ organization. The veteran right-hander tossed five innings of two-run ball, and while the bullpen leaked a pair of runs, the lead was never really in jeopardy.

The pitchers also got some help from the defense out there.

The Hens’ lineup lit up Indy from the jump due to another atrocious display of control from their pitching staff. The first five batters reached base for the Hens, three via walks, while Ali Sanchez and Daz Cameron were both hit by pitches. They led 2-0 before they even got a hit, and Indy went to the pen five batters into the game. A throwing error on Indy’s shortstop led to another run on a Jamie Westbrook ground ball, and they Corey Joyce walked to force in another run. Finally, Jack Lopez struck out for the first out of the game. Zack Short singled in Andre Lipcius before Indy finally stopped the bleeding.

The Hens got another run in the fifth when Corey Joyce walked, stole second, and advanced on a wild pitch. A Dylan Rosa fly ball allowed the shortstop to tag and score from third. Short singled home Lopez in the seventh for their final run.

Short: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, SO, CS

Joyce: 0-1, R, RBI, 4 BB

Lipcius: 2-4, R, RBI, BB, SB

Ponce de Leon (W, 3-3): 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 SO

Coming Up Next: The Hens welcome in the Columbus Clippers for seven, including a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Richmond Flying Squirrels 3, Erie SeaWolves 1 (box)

Well it hurts to fall in what felt like a must-win game. However, as they were tied with the Bowie Baysox entering Sunday’s action, all they needed was to keep pace. They failed to win, but Bowie fell to Akron as well. Holding the tiebreaker based on head-to-head record, the SeaWolves thus came out on top in the Eastern League’s Southwest division. They’ll now proceed to a best-of-three divisional series, followed by a best-of-three championship series should they make it through.

Chance Kirby pitched really well, though he was lifted after just four innings. The veteran minor league right-hander spun four innings of one run ball, with one walk to seven punchouts. Adam Wolf and Gerson Moreno each tossed two innings, each allowing a run. All in all they combined for 16 strikeouts on the day, and lost anyway.

The problems came from the offense. They managed nine hits, but eight were singles. With no walks in the mix, they needed to string some hits together and move runners, and just couldn’t do it. Dane Myers, Quincy Nieporte, and Gage Workman each had two hits in the contest. The SeaWolves scored on two-out singles from Workman and Daniel Cabrera in the top of the fourth. Kirby allowed a solo shot in the bottom half to tie things up.

The bullpen leaked runs in the fifth and the seventh, and the SeaWolves last good scoring chances fell short. In the eighth, back-to-back two-out singles from Nieporte and Michael De La Cruz set them up to score. Unfortunately, Danny Serretti, the Tigers’ fifth rounder back in July, who has been promoted two levels already, grounded out to end the inning. Workman led off the top of the ninth with a double, but the next three hitters went in order.

Workman: 2-4, 2B, 2 SO

Nieporte: 2-4, R, SO

Kirby: 4.0 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, 7 SO

Coming Up Next: The divisional round of the Eastern League playoffs starts on Tuesday night as the best-of-three series. The SeaWolves opponent will be...the Richmond Flying Squirrels again, who had the best first half record in the division.