Patriots crowned by no-hitter, Martian's power
Patriots 15, SeaWolves 0
Jasson Domínguez and
"It’s an incredible moment," Patriots skipper Dan Fiorito said. "I’m just so happy for the players and the staff. This group is so incredibly talented, but the attitude and the effort that they brought here every single day was incredible. I'm just so happy to be a part of it all with them."
Before the first inning ended, The Martian was 2-for-2 with a moonshot and three RBIs. By the fourth, the second-ranked Yankees prospect had lifted another home run into orbit, and by the end of the game, he had amassed a career-high six RBIs. Domínguez finished with three knocks -- homering from both sides of the plate -- and a pair of walks.
On the hill, Vasquez was brilliant over eight sparkling frames -- the longest outing of the 14th-ranked Yankees prospect's career. The right-hander was perfect over 6 1/3 innings, whiffing the side in the sixth while posting four punchouts in a row. A 10-pitch walk to Danny Serretti with one out in the seventh was the lone blemish for the 23-year-old. Vasquez exited after throwing 93 pitches -- 68 for strikes -- and racking up eight whiffs. Full story »
Patriots 9, SeaWolves 2
Somerset entered play at TD Bank Ballpark in a win-or-go-home scenario against Erie. The Patriots' response was to come out slugging.
The best-of-3 Championship Series knotted at one apiece after Somerset dropped a four-spot in the run column in the first and second innings, keyed by home runs from catcher Austin Wells (Yankees No. 4 prospect) and center fielder Jasson Domínguez (New York’s No. 2 prospect).
Erie starter Chance Kirby ran into a Somerset buzzsaw from the jump: the club’s highly touted top of the order opened the game with a double, a single, a homer, a walk and another single to put three runs on the board before an out was recorded.
While second baseman
Playing in just his ninth game at the Double-A level, MLB’s No. 40 overall prospect posted his third consecutive multihit performance. Since arriving in Somerset, Domínguez has amassed an .828 OPS, with his two-run Game 2 roundtripper -- which put the Patriots ahead 6-2 -- serving as his first pro postseason home run.
The homer parade didn’t conclude after Domínguez’s wallop, with
Baby Bombers indeed💣 #RepBx pic.twitter.com/8TftrJt8mZ— Somerset Patriots (@SOMPatriots) September 27, 2022
Staked to an 8-2 advantage through two frames, Somerset starter Yoendrys Gómez (Yankees No. 12 prospect) allowed two runs on two hits and a walk while striking out six over five frames. Behind him, the trio of
Erie and Somerset will meet in a winner-take-all Game 3, with the SeaWolves looking to claim their first championship and the Patriots seeking their first crown since becoming a Yankees affiliate. Box score »
SeaWolves 6, Patriots 5
If the rest of the Eastern League Championship Series is anything like Game 1, fans might want to buy some antacids.
In a back-and-forth affair with three lead changes, 11 runs, 18 hits and a whole lot of drama, Erie held on to edge visiting Somerset to capture the opener of the best-of-3 Finals. The Tigers' Double-A affiliate has never won a championship.
The Patriots and SeaWolves met for just one series during the regular season, with Somerset taking four of six games from Erie. Game 1 in Pennsylvania showcased two teams ready to go to the wire.
Somerset jumped out to the initial lead after baseball’s No. 83 overall prospect Austin Wells smashed a two-run double to center in the top of the third inning. Erie answered one frame later when Detroit’s No. 17 prospect
The Patriots rallied. In the sixth, Somerset answered with three runs, the first on a single to left by
That marked Somerset’s last offensive push of the night.
Erie stormed back in the bottom of the frame, knotting the game on Workman’s two-run single to center. In the seventh, Meadows lined a single to center that drove in
Meadows’ three hits led all players, as did Workman’s four RBIs. Wells and Jasson Domínguez , the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect and baseball’s No. 40, were the only Patriots with two hits on the night. Box score »
Patriots 6, Sea Dogs 5
On a night that the Yankees walked off against the Red Sox to clinch an MLB postseason berth, New York's Double-A affiliate did one better. Playing against Boston's Portland club,
Game 2 of the best-of-3 series swung back and forth between the two clubs. Portland led 3-0 after the top of the seventh inning, thanks to a scoreless, seven-strikeout outing from starter
But Somerset began mounting one of two comebacks in the home half of the seventh. Lockridge, the soon-to-be hero, began chipping away with an RBI single, and top five Yankees prospects Jasson Domínguez (No. 2) and Austin Wells (No. 4) drew walks with the bases loaded to even the score at three.
The tie game didn't last long. Sea Dogs infielder
Patriots reliever Carson Coleman worked around the automatic runner to toss a 1-2-3 top of the 10th, setting up Lockridge and the Somerset offense in the bottom of the frame. The 25-year-old lined the game-winner down the right-field line, giving the Patriots a chance at their first title since joining the Yankees' organization in 2021. Box score »
SeaWolves 6, Flying Squirrels 2
A year ago at this time,
Nieporte did what he did all year long. The 28-year-old first baseman mashed a three-run homer to give the SeaWolves a lead they would never relinquish, sending them to the Eastern League Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Erie swept the best-of-3 series after beating Richmond in Game 1, 9-3. The SeaWolves jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a Danny Serretti single, but the Flying Squirrels quickly battled back. Giants prospects
Then, Nieporte swung the momentum back in Erie's favor in a huge way. Richmond was held hitless over the final five frames and SeaWolves designated hitter
Ty Madden, Detroit's No. 4 prospect, made the start, but the story on the mound was Erie's bullpen. After Madden was lifted following the second inning with two runs allowed, four relievers --
SeaWolves 9, Flying Squirrels 3
What began as a dynamic pitchers' duel turned into a runaway 9-3 Game 1 victory for Erie, who moved within one win of claiming the best-of-3 series against Richmond in the semifinals of the Eastern League playoffs.
Richmond’s Kyle Harrison and Erie’s
The SeaWolves' record books continue to fall at Olson’s feet. After setting the franchise’s single-season strikeout mark (168) during the regular season, the 23-year-old set a new high in punchouts for a single Erie playoff game with his performance vs. Richmond. The righty has struck out at least six batters in seven consecutive starts, with at least eight K’s in five of those outings.
Despite falling behind early, Erie rebounded with run-scoring frames in the second and third, before breaking through with a four-run fifth that was capped by Danny Serretti’s three-run homer. It marked the first Double-A roundtripper for Serretti, a sixth-round pick by Detroit in the 2022 Draft out of the University of North Carolina.
Top-ranked Giants prospect
Patriots 9, Sea Dogs 4
It took the Somerset bats a few innings to find a rhythm, but once they did, an eight-run deluge in the fourth carried the team to a 9-4 victory in Game 1 of the best-of-3 semifinal series against Portland.
Without notching an extra-base hit, the Patriots posted a decisive frame in which 13 batters came to the dish. A throwing error by Sea Dogs starter Shane Drohan opened the floodgates, and the Yankees' affiliate followed with five singles and four walks. New York's No. 2 prospect Jasson Domínguez walked with the bases loaded to give Somerset a lead that was not relinquished, while fourth-ranked Austin Wells knocked a two-run single.
Even with the extensive firepower the Patriots carry atop their order, it was a pair of prospects who spent the entire year at Double-A who had the biggest impact:
The Sea Dogs sprung ahead early with back-to-back homers by Niko Kavadas (the No. 21 Red Sox prospect) and Hudson Potts in the second, but were unable to capitalize on the early momentum.
After yielding the early roundtrippers, Somerset hurler
How they got there
Erie entered the day tied in the standings with Bowie, and after tiebreakers were factored in, the SeaWolves either needed a win or a Baysox loss to clinch the second-half title. Bowie dropped its contest to Akron, 8-5, giving Erie a playoff berth for the first time since 2019.
The SeaWolves amassed 41 wins in the second half to give them 80 on the season overall. The Tigers' Double-A affiliate was one of the best road teams in the league, winning 23 contests in visiting ballparks in the second half, while sporting one of the best all-around offenses (third in the league in OPS at .753) and pitching staffs (second in ERA at 3.79).
Righty Chance Kirby led the circuit's qualified starters in ERA with a 2.62 mark -- no other hurler had an ERA under 3.90 -- as well as average-against (.197) and WHIP (0.94). Slugger Quincy Nieporte led the league in homers (31) and RBIs (91).
The SeaWolves will be playing for their first league title. Gameday box score
Portland Sea Dogs
Ceddanne Rafaela picked the perfect spot for his first grand slam.
With his club looking to lock up a postseason berth for the first time in eight years, baseball's 100th overall prospect broke the game open in the seventh with a slam and Portland cruised to a 12-7 win over Somerset at TD Bank Ballpark. The victory clinched the Northeast Division second-half title and a playoff date with ... the Patriots.
After falling behind in the opening frame, the Sea Dogs took control, scoring eight times from the third through fifth innings. Homers by Boston's No. 21 prospect Christian Koss, No. 24 Wilyer Abreu and Tyler Dearden helped Portland take a 8-2 edge.
Somerset cut the lead to four, but Rafaela's seventh-inning clout eliminated any remaining suspense over the final three innings. The salami was the No. 4 Red Sox prospect's 12th homer for the Sea Dogs and 21st overall. The 21-year-old is slashing .303/.346/.549 with 63 extra-base hits, 86 RBIs and 27 stolen bases in 113 games.
The victory improved Portland's second-half record to an Eastern League-best 45-24, a far better run than its 30-39 mark in the first half. Gameday box score
Down to his team's final strike in a winner-take-all matchup for the Northeast Division title, top Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe delivered.
Volpe belted a two-run, walk-off homer to left-center, rallying Double-A Somerset from a deficit in the 10th to a 6-5 win over Hartford that gave the Patriots a first-half Northeast Division title.
Somerset started its season just 7-6 before going on a tear with wins in eight of its next nine games to set the tone for the remainder of the first half. Since the start of that streak, the Patriots have gone 37-19. Their push across the finish line wasn't easy. Somerset was two games back of Hartford with three to play entering the first half's final weekend and finished the job by claiming three of four games from the Yard Goats, including two by one run. Gameday box score
Richmond Flying Squirrels
Double-A Richmond took care of business with a 7-2 win over Portland, but they needed some help from Harrisburg to officially clinch the Southwest Division first-half title. The Flying Squirrels gathered together to watch the final out, and when the Senators took down the Rubber Ducks, the San Francisco prospects erupted in celebration. In the clincher, Richmond was led by top Giants pitching prospect, Kyle Harrison, who struck out 11 across seven innings of two-run ball.
Harrison is relatively new to a solid Richmond pitching staff that leads the league in shutouts (eight) and has allowed the second-fewest homers (61). They're fifth in the league with a 4.01 ERA and have struck out the fifth-most batters (674). The offense has also held its own, slugging the second-most homers (89) posting the third-most RBIs (307) with a .325 OBP (fourth-best) and a .402 slugging percentage (fifth-best). Gameday box score