Spikes fight for win in final game

WILLIAMSPORT — It was a fitting way to end the 2018 season for State College.

Battling, scrapping and taking whatever the opponent gave them is the way the Spikes concluded the campaign Monday afternoon with a 1-0 win over Williamsport before 1,645 fans at Bowman Field.

With the two teams battling each other to a scoreless stalemate through the first seven innings, the Spikes were able to manufacture the only run of the game in the top of the eighth that stood up for the win.

State College loaded the bases with nobody out on a walk issued to Cameron Knight and Jonathan Machedo was safe on a Williamsport miscue.

Edwin Figuera followed with a single to shallow left field, setting the table for the only score of the game.

Although Imeldo Diaz hit into a double play, it allowed Knight to score with the game’s only run.

Down 1-0, the Cutters didn’t go quietly while facing Spikes reliever Kevin Hamann in their final at-bats.

Hamann walked Alec Bohm and Jake Holmes singled to left for a first-and-second situation with nobody out.

Brayan Gonzalez bounced into a fielder’s choice, Bohm forced at third and Lenin Rodriguez became the second out when he bounced out to Hamann.

With runners on second and third, Spikes manager Joe Kruzel chose to intentionally walk Nerilus Martinez to set up a force play at any base and Hamann got Keudy Bocio on a come-backer for the final out of the game.

“You know from day one I liked the way these guys compete,” Kruzel said. “Regardless of what our record was or is that never derailed my belief in this ball club. They went and all the way to the final day they competed and battled through some ups and downs during the season. The effort they gave today on a hot day, on a day they could have easily not put forth the effort, they did was impressive. I am very proud of what this ball club has accomplished.”

Regardless of what happened prior to the final day of the season, it is always nice to have one last victory.

“It is always nice to win the last one, but today, it was more of how they competed,” Kruzel said. “I am very proud of them and I think the organization will be proud of them as well.”

Earlier in the week, the Spikes named and recognized their three award winners. Infielder Stanley Espinal was named the club’s Most Valuable Player while right-handed pitcher Franyel Casadilla earned the Spikes’ Pitcher of the Year award. Brady Whalen won the Josiah Viera Perseverance Award.