Laredo Lemurs Punch Ticket to American Association Playoffs: Lemurs Line
After losing to Amarillo Tuesday night to remain just one game away from a playoff berth in the American Association, the Laredo Lemurs finally punched their ticket with a 5-1 win over the Sox Wednesday night. The win locked them into the Wild Card spot, and gave them 57 wins, the third most in the league.
After a scoreless first, the Lemurs put three on the board in the second. John Alonso led off the bottom of the inning with a walk. One out later Devin Goodwin tripled into the right field gap to score Alonso, and put Laredo up 1-0. JP Ramirez hit a ground ball to second that scored Goodwin, and the Lemurs had to be feeling pretty good about themselves at that point. It got better, however, when Carlos Ramirez followed with a solo home run, his sixth of the season.
Staked to a 3-0 lead, Lemurs starter Cesar Carrillo went to work. The right-hander dominated the Sox hitters through eight innings. Carrillo shut down the Sox, never allowing more than one base runner to reach in any inning other than the fifth, and only allowing a run to score when Kyle Nichols hit a solo home run to start the fourth. The shot was Nichols 11th home run of the year.
Carrillo (8-5) earned the win going eight innings, allowing seven hits and three walks, while striking out seven. The one run he allowed lowered his league-leading ERA to 2.80 and propelled the team to victory.
Clinging to a 3-1 lead, the Lemurs added a run in both the fifth and seventh innings, courtesy of right fielder Denis Phipps. Phipps hit a solo home run with two outs in the fifth, his 15th of the year, and in the seventh Nick Van Stratten scored on a single by Phipps. For the day the Lemurs right fielder had an outstanding day at the plate, finishing 3-3, with a run and two RBI.
The victory took some pressure off of Laredo. They travel to Wichita for the final four games of the year, and were not looking forward to needing a win against the Wingnuts to secure their post-season position.
Despite when they earned their place in the post-season, the Lemurs enter the post-season as one of the most challenging teams in the American Association to play. Laredo boasts six players in their everyday lineup hitting at least .290, and lead the league with 109 home runs, 20 more than the second place Wichita Wingnuts. With Nick Van Stratten at the top of the order setting the table with his .347 average, .401 on-base percentage and 76 runs, and Travis Denker cleaning the table with 25 home runs and 82 RBI, this is a team that can swing a bat with any team in the league.
While they have a very potent group at the plate, they also have a dominant pitching staff that ranks third overall in ERA. The starting three of Josh and Jeremy Strawn and Carrillo have been incredible for the Lemurs, and will be as formidable as any rotation entering the post-season.
The Laredo Lemurs move onto Wichita looking to get at least two wins from their South Division rivals. They would like some an additional momentum entering the post-season, but even without it the Lemurs have shown that they will be one tough group of primates to defeat.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA