The Lancaster Barnstormers are headed to North Carolina.
Lancaster blasted four homers off Southern Maryland ace Daryl Thompson to defeat the Blue Crabs, 10-2, in the deciding game of the best-of-five Atlantic League North Division series. The club will face the winner of the fifth game of the series between High Point and Gastonia.
It will be the first trip to the finals for the Barnstormers since 2014 when they swept the Sugar Land Skeeters in the championship series. That club also rallied from trailing, two games to one in that series.
Andretty Cordero reached Thompson (1-1) for a two-out solo blast in the top of the first inning and tacked on another in the fourth, matching a Jack Sundberg drive onto the left field deck in the third.
With the Barnstormers still up, 2-1, in the top of the sixth, Melvin Mercedes lofted a ball off the clubhouse roof in left for a 3-1 lead. Cordero walked, and Ariel Sandoval singled into center. Following a pop up by Anderson Feliz, Jacob Barfield homered for the fourth straight game, staking Oscar De La Cruz to a 6-1 advantage.
De La Cruz (1-1) worked eight innings, allowing six hits and two runs, on Sundberg’s homer in the third and one by Zach Collier to start the bottom of the sixth. The right-hander walked two and struck out nine.
Thompson gave up seven hits and six runs in his 7 2/3 innings. The Southern Maryland ace walked one and fanned six.
Lancaster iced the game with four unearned runs off James Dykstra in the top of the ninth. Feliz rapped a single into center to open the inning. Sundberg tracked down a drive by Barfield into the right field corner for the first out, but Michael Wielansky fumbled a potential double play ball by Anthony Peroni. Jake Hoover singled into right center for a 7-2 lead. Shawon Dunston, Jr. got Peroni home with another single. Mercedes capped the scoring, slicing a two-run triple into the left field corner.
The first two games of the Championship Series will take place in North Carolina on Tuesday and Wednesday. Lancaster will host the remainder of the series at Clipper Magazine Stadium, beginning on Friday at 6:30.
NOTES: Barfield finished the series with four homers and 10 RBI while playing in only four games…Cordero had four extra base hits and nine RBI…The Barnstormers are now 2-3 in Game Fives in their history…De La Cruz allowed three runs, all on solo homers, in his two starts, covering 13 2/3 innings.