Harry Grove Stadium was the site for its third game five in its history and it was a success for the home team as the Keys squashed the Potomac Nationals 3-2 to head to the Mills Cup Championship Series for the fifth time. The win also notches them the season series against the Nationals 13-12 (including postseason play).
Frederick put up a crooked number in the first with a Jonathon Schoop solo home run, and a two-run homer by designated hitter Aaron Baker to make it 3-0 Keys early. The Keys recorded all three of their hits in the first inning.
Jake Pettit, who helped earn the game one win of this series, started for the Keys in game five and gave up one run, three hits and struck out five in six strong innings of work.
Potomac got on the board in the fifth with a ground out to Manny Machado for the second out of the inning that scored Zach Walters to make it 3-1. Machado singled in the first inning and played great defense at shortstop making two stellar plays including a diving play that started a 6-4-3 double play in the sixth.
Ryan Berry came in and pitched two scoreless innings in relief for Pettit. Sean Gleason, who led the Carolina League in saves for a good portion of the season, came into the game in the ninth and closed out the Carolina Northern Division Championship.
Quotes from Game Five Win
On his performance
“My main goal was to try and keep the team in the game and I was able to do that.”
On potentially pitching in the decisive game five for the Mills Cup Championship
“If it works out that way I will be pretty pumped up to do it that’s for sure.”
On if there were any nerves heading into this game
“No not really. I just wanted to come out here and do my job which I was able to and I am happy.”
On your mechanics compared to game one start
“My fastball was a lot better. I was able to control it a lot more and throw it for strikes. I ended up throwing some quality changeups. The changeup is my go to pitch.”
On being a part of this team and going to the Mills Cup
“It is a great feeling to be a part of this awesome team. Ever since I have been here since day one it has just been about making an impact here in the playoffs. I feel like I was able to just do a small part to win the game. I feel like we threw the ball well, there was great defense. Manny played really well at shortstop. It’s a team game. If Manny doesn’t make those plays, Pettit doesn’t throw the way he does it could be a different score.”
On your time here
“We mesh really well together and everybody gets along. Like I said the first day I was here everybody welcomed me with open arms and its helpful and really made me feel comfortable here."
On your home run in the first Inning
“Well I really wanted to try and get him early in the count. Manny got him early and I wanted to do the same. He threw me a fastball on the outer half of the plate and it stayed pretty true and I was able to put the bat on the ball.”
On going to the Mills Cup Championship Series
“I am excited and happy and it is a thrill for the team!”
“He is awesome! He did a really good job of keeping us in the game.”
On this season and going to the Mills Cup Championship
“It is a very big highlight and great season. We came through this series but we still have one more series to go.”
On the defensive plays that he made that were crucial for the win
“My adrenaline was pumping and I have good range overall so I just made the play. Those are two ground balls in the hole and I have confidence in myself to get to them.”
“We were very confident in him. Ever since he was called up he has been pitching shut out innings. He has gotten so much better. He started off pretty slow in Delmarva but now he is a totally different pitcher.”
“It is all about pitching. We had the lead 1-0, but with [Potomac] the lead is nothing. It was 3-1 and they come up and hit that homer in the ninth. If we didn’t score that extra run it would have totally been a different game. We are excited for the championship series coming up.”
On the win
"It was a great game. Both teams played well, got good pitching and great defense. The bullpen tonight was outstanding."
“Pettit threw six strong innings. He was good. Pitching and defense was outstanding tonight. His fastball command was much better. He pitched inside of hitters and out. A lot of the hitters were sitting on his change-up tonight. He used the fastball well. He had a nice change-up, they didn’t chase it but it was well.”
On Machado’s stellar defense
“He is reading the hitters. His first step is outstanding and is reacting to them well. He is reading those balls on the ground very nicely and for a 19-year-old to play it at that level and read those balls is outstanding.”
On if Machado’s defense is major league ready
“I don’t know about Major leagues… the game changes a little bit there. He can probably go up there and catch some balls but it’s different up there.”
On getting home runs early
“It was very big. After that inning I don’t think we had another hit. We had the three hits in the first inning and that was it. We had some guys on base and tried to run them but you have to give credit to the other pitching staff they located and both teams threw well.”