In the space of 21 hours the Kinston Indians went from being 4 outs away from a two games to none series lead to being on the verge of elimination. On Wednesday night in Frederick Maryland the Indians lost a close game which did not begin until 10 PM due to a 3 hour rain delay. The Tribe took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the 8th inning and lost when reliever Kyle Landis gave up 2 runs with 2 outs on singles by Manny Muchado, Miguel Abreu and Brian Ward. Frederick won the game which ended at about12:45 PM. The teams arrived in Kinston after an overnight bus ride at about 7:30 AM Thursday.
On Thursday at Historic Grainger Stadium the K-Tribe got off to a quick start on First Baseman Jesus Aguilar’s two run home run in the bottom of the second inning. The shot was Aguilar’s fourth home run in the last 4 post season plays. However the Indians were shut down by Frederick pitchers Scott Copeland, Ryan Berry and Sean Gleason scoring just one more run that in the bottom of the 9th inning.
The Keys played very aggressive baseball against a Kinston team that seemed at times listless taking advantage of K-Tribe mistakes all night long. Kinston’s problems began with and ended with pitching. Starting pitcher Mike Rayl struggled from the beginning and relievers Trey Haley and Giovanni Soto had a hard time finding the plate. They were taken deep in the count by numerous Frederick batters and control was a major issue. K-Tribe pitchers gave up 7 runs on 10 hits, but the walked 5, hit 3 and a wild pitch. The K-Tribe added two errors in the field both on errant throws.
To give credit to the Keys they played well, their pitching was strong and their hitting sharp. They used aggressive base running, stole 3 bases and laid down several outstanding bunts. In the field turned three very important double plays that erased chances that the Tribe had to get back in the game.
The losses were difficult especially because of how well the Indians have played during the second half of the season. It think that the loss Wednesday took a lot of life out of the Indians Thursday.
Friday night the teams will meet again in a must win game for the K-Tribe. If the Indians win they will force game five on Saturday and if they lose it will be the end of an era for baseball in Kinston as the Indians franchise moves to Zebulon to become the Carolina Mudcats in 2012. I will be there and cheering for the K-Tribe to win and force that final game in their quest for the Carolina League championship and the Mills Cup.