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Jersey Shore clinches playoff berth on final day of regular season

Ottto Kemp, image- Jay Floyd
With an extra-inning victory over first-half division champions Hudson Valley on Sunday, the Class A Advanced Jersey Shore BlueClaws clinched the team's first playoff appearance since 2018, winning the second-half division title.

Key performers in the BlueClaws' clincher were righty hurler Jason Ruffcorn, who threw three innings of relief to earn the victory and third baseman Otto Kemp, notched three hits, a walk, two stolen bases and plated the game winning run in the 11th inning on a sacrifice fly.  On top of that, Kemp, who turned 24-years-old on Saturday, made an absolute game-saving defensive play to help the club hold their lead in the bottom of the 11th frame.

One of Jersey Shore's most consistent performers all season long has been right-handed reliever Cam Wynne.  The Phillies' 20th round draft pick in 2021 out of Nebraska.  In 34 appearances, one start, the 24-year-old tallied a 1-1 record with one save, a 2.44 ERA and a .190 batting average against.  

"I'm very satisfied with the season so far.  We've got a great team here.  Really fun.  We've had a good run and we're trying to finish strong," Wynne shared recently about the team's chances to continue what had already been a successful season.

Phillies 2022 first round pick Justin Crawford has been another standout of late.  The lefty hitting outfielder was promoted to the BlueClaws in August, after an impressive campaign with Class A Clearwater in which the 19-year-old sported a .344 average with three home runs, 60 RBI and 40 stolen bases in 69 contests.  Since joining the BlueClaws, Crawford posted a .288 average with six doubles, two triples and seven steals through 18 games.

Despite having to leave the Threshers team that he had helped clinch a postseason berth in the first half of their season, Crawford had a positive outlook when coming north to New Jersey.

"I was really excited to know that I was going to be here with a great group of guys, especially right now, competing for a first-place spot, trying to get into the playoffs.  It's been really good, and I've enjoyed it all," Crawford stated.  

Game one of the best-of-three South Atlantic League North Division Series with be hosted by the BlueClaws on Tuesday, September 12th at 6:35 PM at ShoreTown Ballpark.  Games two and three (if necessary) will take place in Wappingers Fall, NY, home of the Hudson Valley Renegades.  The winner of the North Division match up would advance to face the winner of the Hickory vs. Greenville series.  

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