Lynchburg Hillcats Playoff Preview: Championship Series vs. Winston-Salem Dash

6'7" righty Michael Lee will start the first game of the Carolina League Championship Series.

A pair of homers, including an 8th inning blast by catcher Braeden Schlehuber, helped the Lynchburg Hillcats to win their first round series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks 2-1 on Friday night. They will now face the Winston-Salem Dash in the best of 5 Championship Series starting with Game 1 tonight in Winston-Salem. Game 2 will be Sunday afternoon in Winston-Salem, followed by Game 3 Tuesday in Lynchburg and, if necessary, Game 4 and Game 5 Wednesday and Thursday in Lynchburg.

Projected Lineup

  1. LF Dan Brewer
  2. SS Nick Ahmed
  3. 2B Tommy La Stella
  4. 1B Chris Garcia
  5. RF Adam Milligan
  6. DH Edward Salcedo
  7. CF Myke Jones
  8. C Braeden Schlehuber
  9. 3B Emerson Landoni

Dan Brewer went 4-11 with a sacrifice in the opening series. Nick Ahmed was 3-11 with a double, 2 RBI, a walk, a steal, and a sacrifice against the Blue Rocks. Tommy La Stella drove in 5 runs in the opening series, going 3-10 with 2 walks. Braeden Schlehuber hit an 8th inning homer in the bottom of the 8th in the deciding game 3 of the opening series, going 3-9 overall. Emerson Landoni was 4-7 while starting 2 of the 3 games of the Wilmington series. Edward Salcedo went 1-8 with a walk, a steal, and an error in the first round series while Myke Jones went 2-12 with a double and 5 strikeouts.

After the break we'll look at the rotation and the bullpen.

Projected Rotation

  1. RHP Michael Lee
  2. RHP Ryan Weber
  3. RHP Gus Schlosser
  4. LHP Dimasther Delgado
  5. RHP Aaron Northcraft

Game 1 starter MIchael Lee began his season by putting up a 7.00 ERA and a 2.22 WHIP in 9 innings for AA Portland before being released by the Red Sox. He joined Lynchburg in July and finished the year with a 3-3 record, a 3.93 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 55 innings over 11 appearances, 9 starts. Game 2 starter Ryan Weber pitched in relief in the second game of the Wilmington series, allowing 3 earned runs in 3 innings of work. Gus Schlosser, the Carolina League Pitcher Of The Year, tossed 8 shutout innings in a Game 1 win against Wilmington. In Game 2 against the Blue Rocks, Dimasther Delgado took a loss, allowing 5 earned runs in 4 innings. Aaron Northcraft allowed 1 earned run over 6.2 innings in the third game of the first round.

Righty reliever John Cornely pitched in both Game 1 and Game 3 against Wilmington, picking up the win in Game 3 while striking out 4 in 2.1 scoreless innings. Juan Jaime struck out 2 in a scoreless inning while picking up the save in the decisive third game. Chasen Shreve allowed 4 earned runs in 1 inning of work in Game 2 against the Blue Rocks.

Winston-Salem Dash

Winston-Salem, the High A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, beat the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 2-1 in their first round playoff series. The Dash won the first half Southern Division title with a 44-25 record and also won the second half title with a 43-26 record, finishing with a 87-51 record, which was the best record in the Minor Leagues this year. Tommy Thompson was named the Carolina League Manager Of The Year. First baseman Dan Black was named the Carolina League MVP, leading the league in batting average (.315), hits (157), and total bases (241) while finishing with 17 homers, 88 RBI, and a .875 OPS. Right fielder Michael Earley was a year-end All-Star, hitting .291 with a .819 OPS, 27 doubles, 7 triples, 13 homers, and 73 RBI this season. Shortstop Courtney Hawkins was the 13th overall pick in this year's draft and he hit .284 with a .804 OPS, 15 doubles, 8 homers, 33 RBI, and 11 stolen bases in 229 at bats this season, going 5-17 in 5 games with Winston-Salem. Left fielder Cyle Hankerd hit .325 with a 1.026 OPS, 24 doubles, 15 homers, and 51 RBI in 74 games with the Dash. Chris Curley, who played 2 years in the Braves organization, went 5-12 in 3 games this season with Winston-Salem. Game 1 starter Stephen McCray went 9-3 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.19 ERA in 117.1 innings for the Dash this season. Erik Johnson was 4-3 with a 2.74 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 49.1 innings for Winston-Salem and Chris Bassitt was 5-4 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP in 91 innings. Closer Taylor Thompson had 12 saves, a 2.44 ERA, a 0.88 WHIP, and 57 strikeouts in 44.1 innings.

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