Pelicans win first-half title, seventh straight playoffs

pel-wMyrtle Beach clinched the first half Southern Division championship with their second consecutive shutout of Frederick behind eight shutout frames from Thomas Hatch in the Pelicans’ 3-0 victory over the Keys on Wednesday night from TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Hatch (2-6) was in command for Myrtle Beach (40-26) throughout the entire evening. The right-hander tossed eight shutout innings and mowed down seven Frederick (29-36) batters. James Norwood entered the contest in the top of the ninth inning and struck out a pair of Keys to lock down his fourth save of the season and the Pelicans’ league-leading ninth shutout of the campaign. Myrtle Beach has now tossed 22 consecutive innings, which ties a franchise record.

Bryant Flete kicked off the Myrtle Beach offense with a leadoff double in the first inning. P.J. Higgins laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Flete to third. Daniel Spingola struck out swinging on a wild pitch that got past the catcher and allowed Flete to score the game’s first run.

Myrtle Beach would continue their offensive pursuit in the second. With one out in the inning, Robert Garcia  ripped a base hit to right field before Trent Giambrone launched his fifth home run of the season to extend the Birds’ lead to 3-0.

With the Myrtle Beach victory and a Buies Creek loss, the Pelicans have clinched the first half Southern Division title. This marks the seventh straight season that the Pelicans will reach the playoffs, which is the longest streak in the Carolina League since Kinston appeared in seven straight from 2001-07.

Myrtle Beach will play the remainder of their first half games in Kinston, N.C., against the Down East Wood Ducks. The Pelicans will send LHP Justin Steele (4-3, 2.51 ERA) to the mound to oppose RHP Richelson Pena (4-2, 3.18 ERA) in game one of their four-game set in Thursday’s 7:00 p.m. contest.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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