The Binghamton Mets claim their title as the kings of Double-A, winning the franchise's third Eastern League Championship, 2-1, over the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants) on Friday night at NYSEG Stadium. The thrilling win capped off a three-game sweep for the B-Mets (89-61), who previously captured the Eastern League title in 1992 and 1994.
Long Island's Steven Matz fired 7⅓ hitless innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters, but it was Jace Boyd's pinch-hit double in the bottom of the ninth that plated Gavin Cecchini with the championship-clinching run, sending the 5,904 fans into a frenzy. A sixth-round pick by the Mets in 2012, Boyd batted .293/.382/.414 with eight home runs and 59 RBI for Binghamton in 2014. The 23-year-old knew he hit the ball well, but tells the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin he wasn't sure if it would be enough to bring in the winning run.
"I knew I squared it up. I didn't know if it had enough to burn the guy in center field. He's a pretty good outfielder and he's got some wheels. I didn't know if it quite got over his head or not, but I knew I squared it up."
Though he was the unfortunate recipient of a no-decision when Hansel Robles allowed the Squirrels (82-67) to tie the game in the eighth, Matz turned in one of the finest outings of his career, allowing just one run (earned) on two hits and two walks to go along with his 11 punchouts.
One year after leading the B-Mets to the best regular season record in franchise history, manager Pedro Lopez was the last man standing at the conclusion of his third year at the helm in upstate New York.
"It was incredible. Last year we came up short, and being able to do what we did against Portland was a turning point. Being able to do it here and win the championship in front of our home fans was great."
Starters Tyler Pill, Greg Peavey, and Matz combined for a 1.79 ERA over 20⅓ innings in the three games, striking out 23. Brandom Nimmo and T.J. Rivera both went 11-for-34 (.324) in the postseason, which began with a five-game series win over the Portland Sea Dogs in the first round.
Xorge Carillo, who started the ninth-inning rally with a single, was named the Eastern League Playoffs Most Valuable Player.
Cody Satterwhite earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief for the B-Mets. Steven Okert suffered the loss for the Flying Squirrels after surrendering three hits and the winning run, retiring just one batter.
2014 Eastern League Champions, a big thank you to everyone who supported us all season long! pic.twitter.com/Mgnm2dADnp— Binghamton Mets (@bmets) September 13, 2014