A year ago the Lynchburg Hillcats, the high-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time, beat the Salem Red Sox to win the Carolina League championship. One year later, many of those Hillcats find themselves on the Altoona Curve, who defeated the Trenton Thunder tonight to win the Eastern League championship, the first in Altoona franchise history.
Altoona lost game one in extra innings, despite a great pitching outing by Rudy Owens, who was going toe to toe with Andy Pettitte. The Curve bounced back to win game two, led by a strong outing by Jeff Locke, and two homers by Jordy Mercer. A strong pitching performance by Justin Wilson gave Altoona a 2-1 lead in game three. Tonight, Altoona continued their string of strong pitching performances, this time with Tony Watson.
Watson pitched six innings, allowing two runs on five hits, with two walks and ten strikeouts. Watson gave up the first run of the game in the third inning, allowing a leadoff triple to start the frame. Watson got two outs before allowing an RBI single to give Trenton a 1-0 lead.
Altoona bounced back with two runs in the fourth inning. After an error allowed Andrew Lambo and Matt Hague to reach second and third base, Jim Negrych singled to bring in both runners. Negrych came through again in the fifth inning. Three batters after Matt Hague got on with an RBI single to put Altoona up 3-1, Negrych hit a line drive double, bringing in Hague, and giving Altoona a 4-1 lead.
Watson gave up a solo homer to start the seventh inning, before being pulled for Jared Hughes. Hughes pitched two shutout innings, allowing just two walks, and striking out two. Altoona got the run back in the top of the eighth when Chase d’Arnaud hit an RBI single, bringing in Jose de los Santos. Daniel Moskos came on for the ninth inning, striking out two to get his fifth save of the post-season, and close out the series.
2009 Lynchburg/2010 Altoona
The following prospects played a big role in the championship runs for the 2009 Lynchburg Hillcats and the 2010 Altoona Curve:
2009: 12.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 13 K
2010: 6.2 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 9 K
2009: 7.1 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 7 K
2010: 11.2 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 13 K
2009: 10.2 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 12 K
2010: 13 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 6 BB, 10 K
2009: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
2010: 3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
2009: 33 AB, .212/.297/.394, 1 HR
2010: 28 AB, .321/.421/.679, 3 HR
2009: 31 AB, .097/.200/.129, 0 HR
2010: 37 AB, .297/.316/.595, 3 HR
2009: 35 AB, .314/.306/.457, 1 HR
2010: 37 AB, .189/.211/.459, 3 HR
2009: 30 AB, .333/.393/.600, 1 HR
2010: 31 AB, .161/.297/.226, 0 HR
New Faces to the Crew
The following prospects didn’t play on the 2009 Lynchburg championship team, but were key performers in the 2010 Altoona championship run:
Daniel Moskos: 6.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 5 SV
Tony Watson: 12.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 14 K
Jared Hughes: 8.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K
Andrew Lambo: 32 AB, .281/.343/.531, 2 HR