Bowie falls to Akron in Northeast League Championship Series opener

BOWIE— Bowie’s players started arriving at Prince George Stadium approximately six hours before Game 1 of the Double-A Northeast League Championship Series against Akron.

Baysox manager Buck Britton would have preferred the players to arrive later to conserve their energy, but he could understand their enthusiasm.

That excitement was heightened when Jordan Westburg, who started from the shortstop, led the first with a home run through right-hander Akron Peyton Battenfield’s right-hander. However, that was Bowie’s only hit as Akron won Game 1 of the series, 5-1, ahead of a 1494 announced at Prince George’s Stadium on Tuesday night.

Akron won the regular season series, 8-4, but Bowie has won 12 of his last 14 games to earn a playoff berth.

“They’ve got a whole new squad since we last saw them,” Bowie manager Buck Britton said. “[Manager Rouglas Odor] did a really good job with them. They do a lot of the same things. They are very aggressive on the bases. They played really hard on us.

Battenfield, which was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays on the deadline in exchange for Jordan Luplow and DJ Johnson. shut down the Baysox for the remainder of his outing, finishing with 10 strikeouts and no walks in seven innings.

Akron took the lead, 2-1, in the fourth with a two-run homerun from wide receiver Bryan Lavastida to Gray Fenter, who spent his 2021 season with Bowie. Fenter allowed two runs and four hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.

Fenter, who was selected by the Orioles in the seventh round of the 2015 Draft (223rd overall) from West Memphis High School in Arkansas, was 3-3 with a 3.66 ERA in the regular season.

Baysox reliever Cameron Bishop came in in the fourth and hit the first hitter he faced to charge the bases. However, Bishop asked center Will Brennan to fly away to end the threat.

Akron first baseman Jonathan Engelmann started the seventh with a Bishop homerun that extended the RubberDucks lead to 3-1. Bishop loaded the goals again later in the inning and gave up a two-run single to George Valera who provided a four-run cushion.

Bowie will look to bounce back with Grayson Rodriguez starting Game 2 Wednesday at 6:35 am. The Baysox will need to generate some offense, which has been solid throughout the regular season.

“The talent is there,” said Britton. “We are very dynamic. We can run and that’s one of the things we’re proud of, being aggressive on the bases, going from first to third. We have walked so much. The swing decisions are huge here.

Bowie has qualified for the championship series for the second time in a row. In 2019 – the last minor league season that was played due to the pandemic – the Baysox lost to the Trenton Thunder, then the New York Yankees’ Double-A affiliate.

Bowie won the Eastern League title in 2015, beating Reading in five games, and that club included Trey Mancini, Mike Yastrzemski, Terry Doyle and Mychal Givens.

Remarks: The Orioles made a few moves that affected the Baysox ahead of the game. Infielder Adam Hall and right-hander Conner Loeprich have moved from Aberdeen to Bowie. Right-handed pitcher Mickey Jannis has transferred from Bowie to Norfolk. Left-hander Bruce Zimmermann has been transferred from Bowie to Norfolk on a rehab mission.

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