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Lakewood dropped by Lexington, trails in championship series

LAKEWOOD, NJ- The Class A Lakewood BlueClaws fell behind early and could not mount a comeback as they fell in game three by a score of 6-3.  The 'Claws not trail the South Atlantic League Championship Series two games to one in the best of five series and will need wins in the next two games of the series or Lexington will prevail as the league champions.

On a night when a steady mist kept the grass and the baseballs damp, the BlueClaws struggled in the field.  Five Lakewood errors helped Lexington amass their run total.

The 'Claws added a balk, two wild pitches and a passed ball to its collection of miscues on the losing effort.

BlueClaws skipper Marty Malloy expressed frustration with his team following the defeat.

"Obviously, we're not happy with the way we played.  It was a sloppy game," Malloy said in his office after a meeting with the team's coaching staff.  "It's not something that we've done very often this year.  It was very minimal.  We didn't play good enough to win."

Lakewood starting pitcher Andrew Brown was touched for five runs (three earned) on nine hits while striking out three and walking three.  The 20-year-old right-hander, who was the Phillies' 13th round draft selection in 2016, took the loss.

Jake Scheiner, image- Jay Floyd
A bright spot for the Lakewood offense that left seven runners in scoring position in the game's first eight frames was first baseman Jake Scheiner, who notched four hits in the contest.  Tasked with starting a rally when he lead off the ninth, Scheiner struck out against Legends closer Tad Ratliff, who retired the BlueClaws offense in order.

Righty reliever Luis Carrasco tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for Lakewood, striking out four batters.

"At the end of the day we've got to come back tomorrow and be ready to go.  You know, there is no (next day) if we don't come ready to play tomorrow," Malloy stated.

Trailing in the series, the BlueClaws will need to win on Friday and Saturday nights or they'll see the visiting Legends celebrate a championship on their field.

Taking the mound for Lakewood in the must-win game four on Friday will be righty Spencer Howard, who recorded a historic no-hitter in his last start that clinched the division championship and a trip to the championship series just seven days prior.  Malloy says the team

"After that last start, obviously, we all feel good that (Howard)'s gonna be in there tomorrow.  Hopefully, he replicates what he did last time," Malloy said.  "I mean he'll be excited, we'll all be excited tomorrow to have him on the mound tomorrow and get us to a game five."

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