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Miracle swept by co-champion Cardinals

September 7, 2017
Special to the Breeze , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The dramatic late-season run to capture the Florida State League's South Division second-half title ended in disappointment for the Fort Myers Miracle Wednesday night in Jupiter with a 3-2 loss to the Palm Beach Cardinals.

A walk-off hit-by-pitch produced the winning run in the ninth inning, handing the first-half division-winning Cardinals a 2-0 sweep of the best-of-three South Division Championship series. It was the second 3-2 win for the Cardinals in the series in two days.

With the league announcing Tuesday that the championship series is cancelled because of the approach of Hurricane Irma, the Cardinals are 2017 co-champions with the Dunedin Blue Jays, who rallied to win a doubleheader Wednesday against the Tampa Yankees to claim the North Division Championship series 2-1.

The Cardinals plated a run in the second inning after putting the first two men on base against Miracle starter Sean Poppen. Blake Drake bunted the runners over, and Shane Billings bounced a ball to third. Chris Paul gloved the ball with a chance to come home and cut down the runner, but could not transfer the ball out of his glove in time. The throw went to first instead and Palm Beach took led 1-0. The Cardinals added a second tally in the fourth when Jose Martinez doubled to left-center to score Drake.

Cardinals pitcher Connor Jones pushed through five scoreless innings in his start and allowed just one hit along the way. In the sixth, Tanner English led off with a walk and stole second. Paul bounced a ball to third with two outs that Leobaldo Pina booted, allowing English to score. Jones pitched to one batter in the seventh before being taken out with a 2-1 lead.

In the top of the eighth, Derian Gonzalez struck out English before Nelson Molina pinch-hit for Kevin Garcia. Molina whacked a solo home run to right to tie the game at 2-2.

Fact Box

Miracle Record: 43-26 (76-61)

Home: 45-21 Away: 30-41 Strk: L-3

--------------------------

(Best-of-Three Series)

South Division Championship Series

Tuesday's Game

Cardinals 3, Miracle 2

Wednesday's Game

Cardinals 3, Miracle 2

Cardinals win series 2-0

---------------------------

South Division Championship Series

Tuesday's Game

Yankees 8, Dunedin 6

Wednesday's Games

Blue Jays 4, Yankees 1

Blue Jays 5, Yankees 3

Blue Jays win series 2-1

After scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth, Tom Hackimer trotted out for the ninth for the Miracle. He issued a one-out walk to Drake before Billings singled to put runners at the corners. The Miracle intentionally walked Martinez. Thomas Spitz and Hackimer hit him with a pitch on the left jersey sleeve to bring home the championship-winning run.

 
 
 

 

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