Fightins season ends with a playoff sweep by Trenton

The Reading Fightins won 80 games during the regular season, but couldn't avoid being swept by Trenton in the Division Championship Series.
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The 2019 Fightin Phils season started almost like how it began back in April: with cold and wet conditions at the ballpark. From that 4-0 win over the Sea Dogs in Portland on Opening Day to game #142 at Arm & Hammer Park, the Fightins had a tremendous year and led the Eastern League with 80 wins during the regular season. Unfortunately, that success did not carry over into the Eastern Division Championship Series, and the Thunder eliminated them for the third time since 2012. On Friday, Trenton used three Yankees on Major League rehab assignments, and cruised to a 12-2 win to finish off the three-game sweep. 

Just several days after beating the Thunder in their own building, Phillies 40-man roster member Adonis Medina allowed a first-inning run on three straight singles from Thairo EstradaBen Ruta, and Chris Gittens. In the top of the second, Darick Hall crushed a leadoff home run to center off Luis Severino, who got the start for the second stop on his rehab assignment. From there, the Thunder poured it on, chasing Medina after five straight one-out base hits in the bottom of the inning to break the tie and go ahead 5-1.

Jeff Singer relieved Medina (0-1) and put the first two Thunder batters on with a single and a walk in the home half of the third. Alexander Palma delivered a one-out single that loaded the bases, and after a groundout from Max Burt, Singer looked like he had the final out of the inning when he got Rashad Crawford to swing through an 0-2 pitch. However, the ball rolled away from catcher Jack Conley, and all the runners moved up to bring across the sixth Thunder run. Estrada then cleared the bases with a three RBI base-hit off Grant Dyer to tie a Thunder postseason record with five runs batted in to put the game out of reach at 9-1. Ruta then sprayed an opposite field single into left for a 10-1 advantage, which set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Severino was knocked out of the game on his 50th pitch when Cornelius Randolph smashed a leadoff single into right in the fourth. The two-time All-Star finished up with five hits allowed, whiffing five Fightins in the process. Matt Wivinis got the first call from the bullpen, and promptly retired the side in order in what was an impressive series from Thunder relievers. Dellin Betances worked the fifth in his first game-action of 2019, getting a strikeout while also hitting Conley with a pitch and walking Alec Bohm.

The Thunder pushed across their last two runs against Phillies rehabber Edubray Ramos in the bottom of the fifth. Ruta and Gittens pushed the lead to 12-1 with fielder’s choice groundouts, at which point Julian Garcia (two innings) and Aaron Brown (one inning) combined on the last three frames without allowing another run.

Reading’s last run of the season came in the top of the eighth against right-hander Brooks Kriske, who surrendered the second single of the game for Mickey Moniak to start the inning. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Moniak later came around to score on a two-out single from Nick Maton.

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