Pensacola entered Friday afternoon needing a win to claim their half of the Southern League title. The game took place at Blue Wahoos stadium, but the Blue Wahoos were the “road team” on the day. Hurricane Irma has caused the Southern League to cancel the championship series. The winners of the first round series will share a Co-Championship for the 2017 season.

The game was full of drama, including Pensacola losing a lead in the 9th inning. The game went into extra-innings before a 12th inning single by Aristides Aquino brought Gabriel Guerrero in to give the Blue Wahoos a 5-4 lead.

Andrew McKirahan returned fro the bottom of the 12th after a perfect 11th inning and he made rather quick work of things in the inning, clinching the title for Pensacola who swept the series three games to none.

The Dayton Dragons advance

On Wednesday night the Dayton Dragons blew a lead in the top of the 9th inning and lost the first game of a best of three series at home. West Michigan had two outs and no one on they would rally to take a 3-2 lead that they held onto in the bottom of the frame.

On Thursday night, this time in West Michigan, it almost happened again. Dayton entered the bottom of the 9th inning holding onto a 2-0 lead. The Whitecaps scored a run and had the tying run on second base with two outs, but Dauri Moreta came on to record the final out of the game to tie the series up.

Friday night saw the Dragons enter the 9th inning holding a 3-1 lead. With what seems like a never say die attitude, West Michigan didn’t give up. Dayton recorded the first two outs in the 9th inning rather quickly. The Whitecaps then saw back-to-back singles and a walk load the bases. Aaron Fossas battled back and got an easy ground ball to shortstop that seemed like it would end the game, but the throw to second base for the force out was wide of the bag and two runs came around to tie the game up. A fly out by the next batter would end the inning and send the game into extras.

Neither team would score in the 10th inning and the game headed into the 11th. Cassidy Brown led off with a double and moved up to third base on a sac bunt by Carlos Rivero. With Michael Beltre at the plate a passed ball brought Brown in to put the Dragons up 4-3. Two ground outs would end the top of the inning and send Alex Webb back to the mound to try and close the game out. He didn’t leave much to chance this time for Dayton. Webb got an easy ground out to Taylor Sparks to start the inning. The next batter would strike out before Webb fielded the final out on his own before flipping the grounder to first baseman Bruce Yari to end the game and the series.

The Dragons will begin a best of three series on the road Saturday night in Fort Wayne at 7:05pm. The next two games will be played in Dayton on Sunday and Monday (if necessary) at 7pm. Wennington Romero will take the mound for the Dragons in Game 1.

Billings eliminated from the playoff race

The Billings Mustangs won on Friday night, but the playoff birth that was still available entering Friday was taken out of their hands when Great Falls beat Missoula earlier in the evening. The Mustangs will play their final game of the 2017 season on Saturday night.

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