Kevin Markham‘s two-run single in the seventh inning lifted Clearwater to the second half title in the Florida State League North, with a 2-1 comeback win over the Jupiter Hammerheads at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on Wednesday night.
With Lakeland’s doubleheader cancelled due to rain, the Threshers needed only to win to clinch the second half title in the Florida State League.
On a 2-2 pitch, Markham sent a soft liner to right to plate Cabral and Cumana and give the Threshers the decisive runs.
Clearwater (43-22) (75-58) has won the second half in the FSL North, and will return to the playoffs for a rematch of the 2015 FSL North division series against the Daytona Tortugas. The Threshers will host the opener of the best-of-three set at Spectrum Field on Tuesday, September 4 at 7 p.m., while games two and three (if necesary) will be played at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona on Wednesday and Thursday at 7:05 p.m.
Threshers pitching continued its recent domination as Adonis Medina turned in seven innings of one-run ball in the start. Medina (10-4) held the Hammerheads to just five hits and a walk while striking out seven in the victory.
Jupiter (27-35) (68-63) edged ahead in the second on an unusual play. With two on following a walk and a single, Cameron Baranek struck a grounder that took a high hop off the pitcher’s mound toward third. Gomez rushed in attempting to make a bare-handed pickup, but was unable to come up with it cleanly, as Schubert scored all the way from second on the play.
Medina settled in after that to retire the next nine batters he faced, striking out the side in the third and holding Jupiter to only three baserunners the rest of the way.
Trevor Bettencourt kept it on lockdown in the eighth, retiring the side in order while picking up one strikeout.
Addison Russ entered in search of the final three outs in the ninth. He struck out the side, earning his 14th save to send Clearwater to the playoffs.