SUWANEE, Ga. – Last night, the Atlanta Crackers clinched the Sunbelt League’s Eastern Division title with a 7-3 win over the visiting Norcross Astros from Russell Field in Suwanee.
Atlanta scored first with a run in the first as Zach Moon ground out to third scored Jeremy Glore from third. Moon later added another RBI in the fifth. He now leads the team with 15, tied for second in the league.
The Crackers picked up three in the second. Devin Daugherty doubled, bringing in Romero Greer. A double by Glore scored Daugherty, and Glore later scored on Cletis Avery’s single. This made it 4-0.
The Astros closed the gap by picking up one run in the fourth, fifth, and sixth. Sam Freitas’ double plated JD Dutka in the third. Joshua Profit scored off Eric Furphy’s single in the fourth, and a solo blast to right by Kyle McCann was the last of the Astros’s scoring. The Crackers added one more with a solo shot by Nile Goings to left center in the eighth.
There was a tense moment when Cracker starter Chris Raasch caught a liner straight to the cheek from Dutka to end the first. Raasch passed the concussion protocol in the dugout. He is due to visit the dentist on Friday for an X-Ray.
With Raasch out, Lucas Cloud was pressed into long relief. He responded by surrendering two runs on six hits over four innings. He also struck out four and walked two to pick up his first victory of the year. Carson Cupo absorbed the loss, dropping his record to 2-2.
“It was a huge opportunity for Lucas to get out there and do what he does best,” said Cracker pitching coach Steve Autry. “He’s very aggressive. He attacks hitters. He keeps the ball down around the ankles. He ate some innings. I can’t say enough about Lucas and the job he did for us tonight.”
The Crackers get a bye to the Eastern Conference Finals, as the team continues its’ quest to repeat at Sunbelt League champions. “There’s a lot to be done,” said head coach Kevin Meistickle. “We’ve struggled a lot with the weather and guys getting hurt. We’ve had everything happen. It’s kind of neat in the end to put it away and start thinking about the playoffs, our favorite time of the year.”
The Astros’ record drops to 10-13, in a tie with the Carrollton Clippers for second place in the West. The Sunbelt Patriots have already clinched and will host the first game in the Western Conference FinaIs on Tuesday. In today’s regular season finale, the Astros host the Crackers the Clippers host the Patriots in a doubleheader. Whoever does the best will host the Western Conference Wild Card game on Monday.
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