Akron RubberDucks 2, Trenton Thunder 1
Box Score - RubberDucks win championship, 3-0 (Best of 5)
If you’ve been following the LetsGoTribe Twitter all season, one gif perfectly encapsulates yesterday’s performance by the Akron RubberDucks:
While Akron had leaped out to a 2-0 lead in the Eastern League Championship Series with a pair of big innings in game one and two, last night was all about pitching, and they had to withstand some familiar faces to do it if they wanted to win their first title since 2012.
In a pitching duel between Akron’s Nick Pasquale and Trenton’s former Indians first round draft pick Justus Sheffield, it was Pasquale who took the upper hand.
Pasquale was stellar, tossing 5.2 innings of four-hit ball while striking out three and walking one. His lone blemish was a solo home run given up to Trenton Catcher Trenton Valle in the fifth inning. Over his final three starts, he pitched 20.2 innings and gave up just two runs. His ERA was 0.66 in the playoffs.
Sheffield was knocked out of the game in the fifth inning after having walking four batters and giving up one run, raising his pitch count into the mid 80s.
Akron, on the other hand, scored twice thanks to Greg Allen. Allen sacrified Ivan Castillo to second in the third inning, eventually leading to an RBI groundout from Jordan Smith to put the RubberDucks on the board 1-0. Allen would then proceed to do Greg Allen things in the fifth inning, leading off with a single off LGFT Anthony Swarzak, then stealing both second and third base before scoring on a sacrifice fly to give Akron a 2-0 lead.
Overall, Allen went 3-4 at the plate with a double, a sacrifice and those two stolen bases, picking up half of Akron’s hits in the game.
Mike Papi, who was downright nasty in the playoffs, also picked up a hit in the eighth inning off another former Tribe prospect JP Feyereisen. He also walked, had an outfield assist and was gunned down at the plate.
Those two runs would be all the RubberDucks would need thanks to some absolutely stellar pitching. Cole Sulser and Louis Head were perfect over the game’s final 3.1 innings, striking out four batters to complete the sweep. Here was the final moment captured in all it’s glory:
Eric Haase was named playoff MVP after hitting a grand slam in game one of the finals. He went 7-25 in the Eastern League playoffs with five walks and seven total RBI and will be playing in the Arizona Fall League later this year.