York ousted from playoffs

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Twenty years from now, after the dust has settled and memories have faded, the final scores in this playoff series will suggest the York Revolution went down swinging like a famed prize fighter.

But in reality, that is not how York’s crushing exodus from the postseason should be remembered. The Revs had their chances to give Yorkers their first pro baseball postseason victory in 46 years. Too much timid play from the Revolution simply would not allow it to happen.

York committed three errors for the second straight night while watching another close loss circle the drain. The Revs were ousted from the Freedom Division Series Wednesday night after Somerset’s 6-4 victory before an announced crowd of 6,346 at Commerce Bank Ballpark.

And the end of the season came after York seemed to wake up in big fashion during a three-run seventh that created a one-run lead. But George Sandel overthrew first baseman Chris Ashby on a routine ground ball that would have ended the seventh. That error, which gave Somerset the tying run, allowed the Patriots to smell blood and they went in for the kill.

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Defense dooms Revs in Game 1 loss

In a season in which the York Revolution scored nearly 800 runs, its biggest weakness went unnoticed week after week.

The Revs have not been a good defensive team all year — and it finally caught up to them when it mattered most.

Three errors, including an eighth-inning miscue through the legs of Jose Enrique Cruz that allowed the eventual winning run, plagued York in a 3-2 loss to Somerset in Game 1 of the Atlantic League Freedom Division Series Tuesday at Sovereign Bank Stadium. A crowd of 4,038 watched the Revolution drop its first playoff game ever in the best-of-three series.

And York, which had a league-worst .969 fielding percentage and committed 156 errors (second-to-last) in the regular season, wasted a brilliant outing from Aaron Rakers. The right-hander, making his first postseason start since his college days at Southern Illinois Edwardsville, went 7 1/3 innings and gave everything he had for 123 pitches. Rakers, a career reliever before this year, could even be seen biting his glove in the late innings in between his rare mistakes.

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Game 140: York 8, Lancaster 7

LANCASTER — On most days, Clipper Magazine Stadium lays claim to one of the most electrifying atmospheres in minor league baseball.

The cowbells jingle. The chants of “Everybody hits,” reverberate throughout the stadium. It seems every fan in attendance is fully invested in the game. 

But after the York Revolution delivered perhaps the knockout blow of the season to the Barnstormers’ glass jaw, an unfamiliar sound flooded the Clip — silence.

York pulled off another comeback Sunday against its Route 30 rival, scoring four runs in the top of the ninth inning and surviving a bases-loaded situation in the bottom half for an 8-7 win before an announced crowd of 6,737. Matt Padgett, who was 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts coming into the ninth, launched a two-run homer over the short porch in right field that proved to be the decisive hit.

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Game 138: York 8, Lancaster 1; Game 139: York 12, Lancaster 5

The York Revolution’s players and its coaching staff won’t have to worry about creating momentum for the playoffs.

The Revs are already functioning like a well-oiled machine.

That was evident Saturday as the Revs took both ends of the first Route 30, day-night doubleheader in history. York won 8-1 in the noon game at Sovereign Bank Stadium and then brought its surging offense across the Susquehanna River to Clipper Magazine Stadium. The Revs torched Lancaster pitching in the nightcap, securing a 12-5 victory.

The victories mean that no matter what happens on Sunday, York (40-29, 70-69) will finish with a .500 overall record this year. But in order to win the Community Cup (pictured) and the 2008 War of the Roses outright, the Revs will need a win Sunday. A 10-10 tie would result in last year’s War of the Roses winner (Lancaster) retaining the cup and York currently holds a 10-9 advantage in the series.

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Game 137: Lancaster 12, York 3

Whether it was the champagne hangover or just an off night for the York Revolution, it really doesn’t matter.

York’s most pressing task over the final four regular season games is simple — prepare for the postseason by getting everyone rested and ready to go.

That fact took the sting out of a 12-3 loss to the Barnstormers Friday night at Sovereign Bank Stadium. Corey Thurman was shelled for 10 earned runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings and Lancaster got homers from Matt LeCroy (2), Mike Woods, Lloyd Turner and Ian Bladergroen. The ‘Stormers now hold a 9-8 advantage in the War of the Roses and the chase for the Community Cup.

York (38-29, 68-69) was slowed by the pitching duo of Monte Mansfield and Wes Wilkerson. Mansfield went four with six walks, but escaped trouble by allowing only one earned run. And Wilkerson went the final five innings to pick up a save while only allowing two hits and a run in the process for the ‘Stormers (34-44, 64-73)

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Game 136: York 14, Lancaster 5

The jog around the bases will forever be a moment frozen in time.

The euphoria. The feeling of walking on air. The thoughts centered around a father who died too young and wasn’t around to see this moment of greatness.

In an instant, Jason Aspito became a York Revolution legend Thursday night before 4,855 boisterous fans at Sovereign Bank Stadium. His team-leading 24th homer, a monster grand slam that broke a 5-5 tie in the sixth, gave York a 14-5 win over Lancaster and punched the ticket to the first Revolution playoff appearance in the club’s two-year history.

The Revs (37-28, 68-68) also earned the honor of becoming York’s first pro baseball playoff team since the 1969 York Pirates.

And it was fitting that the big blow came from a man who has carried York all year. The same guy who lost his father, Gerald, at 68 in the offseason to a heart attack and needed coaxing from manager Chris Hoiles and teammate Matt Dryer to even return for an eighth pro season.

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Game 135: York 5, Newark 3

NEWARK, N.J. — After Newark’s Keith Reed had just launched a ball into orbit for a two-run homer, Wayne Franklin dropped his head and sulked on the mound.

He had just given up a game-tying homer. He couldn’t find his release point. And he was playing the part of human rain delay as he struggled to find a rhythm.

Then third-base umpire Dan Wilson handed him a new baseball as Franklin said, “That was the right pitch, just the wrong location.”

To which Wilson replied: “Don’t throw it there anymore.”

Franklin laughed, loosened up and most importantly remembered to play baseball through the rest of his outing. The calmed nerves led to three more shutout innings and Franklin ended the day with six innings, only three earned runs allowed and the win in York’s 5-3 victory over Newark Wednesday at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium. 

The win helped the Revs (37-28, 67-68) take their first series in 12 tries against the Bears (33-33, 72-64) and moved their magic number down to one.

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