2023 NATIONAL LEAGUE WILD CARD SERIES “D”

Harsens Island Walleye

 

Harsens Island

Walleye

vs.

Sacramento

Capitals

SERIES PREVIEW – The Sacramento Capitals and Harsens Island Walleye match up during the 2023 MWBL NL Wild Card Round. The teams were evenly matched during the regular season, with the teams earning 96 and 94 wins respectively, and a 6-6 head-to-head record against each other.

The Walleye have the upper hand when it comes to pitching, with a 2.78 ERA and 486 runs allowed during the regular season versus the Capitals’ 3.24 season ERA and 582 runs allowed. For the Wild Card Round, the Walleye line up a rotation touting grades 15, 15, 14, 11, with a stellar group of relief pitchers backing them up, while the Capitals put forth a comparable rotation with grades of 18, 17, 13, 12, but a more motley crew of arms in relief. The Capitals appear to have the clear edge on offense, with the team batting .251/.317/.427 over the season, hitting 218 HR and scoring 751 runs versus the Walleye hitting .239/.298/.359 with 134 HR and 640 runs.

GAME #1 – Luis Severino 10-6 (2.35) vs. Max Scherzer 13-4 (2.08)

Gavin Lux leads off with a double and is promptly brought home with a Josh Naylor RBI single. The Walleye take the early lead 1-0. Sacramento answered with a run in the bottom of the 2nd; Francisco Lindor singled to right and stole second base, leaving it up to Juan Yepez to earn the RBI. It would stay 1-1 until the bottom of the 6th, when Nick Gordon hit a solo home run to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead. And, that’s where it would stay. Luis Severino pitched well, going 7 IP allowing just 3 hits and 2 runs with 11 strikeouts. Max Scherzer was one better, going 8 IP allowing 4 hits and 1 run with 9 strikeouts.

Sacramento 2 – Harsens Island 1

Win: Max Scherzer 1-0 (1.13)
Loss: Luis Severino 0-1 (2.57)
Save: Alex Vesia #1

GAME #2 – Jeffrey Springs 13-4 (2.51) vs. Hayden Wesneski 2-1 (1.60)

Scoreless into the 6th inning, Albert Pujols puts the Caps on the board with a 2-run home run. Nolan Arenado answered in the 8th with a solo home run, but that is all the Walleye could muster. Great pitching once again for both teams. Jeffrey Springs goes 6 innings allowing just 3 hits and 2 runs with 8 strikeouts. Hayden Wesneski goes 8 innings allowing 7 hits and 1 run with 6 strikeouts.

Sacramento 2 – Harsens Island 1

Win: Hayden Wesneski 1-0 (1.13)
Loss: Jeffrey Springs 0-1 (3.00)
Save: Ryne Stanek #1

GAME #3 – Ross Stripling 10-5 (2.92) vs. Kyle Wright 15-10 (2.91)

Sacramento jumped to an early lead when Kyle Wright hit leadoff hitter Nick Gordon and followed the hit batter with a wild pitch and an error. With Nick Gordon on 3rd, Vinnie Pasquantino got the sac fly to right and, with that, Sacramento was up 1-0 without a hit. Moving to the 2nd, Kyle Wright loaded the bases with the back end of the Capitals order.  Vinnie Pasquantino up to bat, and he smacks a bases clearing double. Sacramento up 4-0, and it would remain that way until the 8th when Wilmer Flores smacked a solo home run to extend the Capitals’ lead. The Walleye would manage a run off a Capitals error in the 9th, but that would be it for the Walleye in 2023.  Ross Stripling goes 8 innings giving up 1 hit and 0 runs with 4 strikeouts. Kyle Wright goes 7.1 innings giving up 7 hits and 5 runs (4 earned) with 11 strikeouts.

Sacramento 5 – Harsens Island 1

Win: Ross Stripling 1-0 (0.00)
Loss: Kyle Wright 0-1 (4.91)

SERIES SUMMARY – As the dust settles on the 2023 MWBL NL Wild Card Round series between the Harsens Island Walleye and the Sacramento Capitals, one thing becomes abundantly clear – this was a clash of titans. With an even regular-season record and closely matched statistics, MWBL fans were treated to a thrilling showdown that truly lived up to the hype.The Walleye showcased their pitching prowess throughout the series, maintaining a consistent performance from their rotation and a reliable bullpen to back it up. Their impressive regular-season ERA and runs allowed proved to be a valuable asset, making every game a nail-biter as they tried to outduel their opponents.

On the flip side, the Capitals brought their offensive firepower to the plate, consistently hitting for power and driving in runs. Their regular-season batting statistics painted a picture of a team that could explode at any moment, and they did just that during critical moments in the series.

In the end, it was a back-and-forth battle that showcased the true essence of playoff baseball. Both teams fought hard, and every pitch and swing carried immense weight. While the Capitals had the edge on offense, the Walleye’s pitching staff displayed remarkable resilience, keeping the series close and competitive.

As we conclude this thrilling series, one can’t help but admire the dedication and talent displayed by both teams. Baseball fans were treated to a memorable matchup, and regardless of the outcome, it’s a testament to the enduring appeal of the sport. The Harsens Island Walleye and the Sacramento Capitals may have battled fiercely on the diamond, but they’ve left us with lasting memories of a series that will be remembered for years to come, however only one team moves forward & that’s the Sacramento Capitals who get to face the Evil Empire – the Tempe Tempers in the 2023 National League Division Series.

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