Once again, the State College Spikes are headed to the playoffs.
Behind Jake Stone’s bat and Will Anderson’s pitching, the Spikes cruised to a 7-3 victory over the Jamestown Jammers at Russell Diethrick Park on Friday night, clinching the New York-Penn League’s Pinckney Division title.
State College became the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the league, entering the night with the largest lead among the three divisions.
Stone paced the offense by crushing a three-run home run to go with a two-run double. Nick Thompson also had a pair of hits and scored three times, Robelys Reyes posted two hits and Darren Seferina stole three bases.
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Danny Diekroeger extended his hit streak to 17 games with a third-inning single. He is one short of the team record 18 set by Brian Friday in 2007.
State College, which has won eight of its last nine, had been in the division lead since July 1 on its way to a second consecutive division title and playoff berth. The Spikes lost to Tri-City in the league championship series last season. The league playoffs begin Sept. 3, with the schedule still to be announced.
Anderson (6-2) had another solid outing, retiring eight straight batters at one point. He gave up five hits, two walks and three runs with six strikeouts. He tossed six shutout innings before losing a little command in the seventh to get chased from the game.
Jammers starter Austin Coley (0-2) pitched just one inning, giving up two hits, two walks and two runs for the loss.
The Spikes started the scoring quickly, as Seferina walked to lead off the game and stole second and third before scoring on Thompson’s double. Thompson scored on a Reyes single.
Stone’s three-run shot to left-center field added to the advantage in the third, his fifth homer of the season.
In the fourth, more speed on the bases spurred the Spikes. Seferina singled and stole second, Thompson walked and a double steal assisted by a wild pitch put them into scoring position before a Stone double brought both runners home.
Jamestown finally got to Anderson, and on the scoreboard, in the seventh with a Chase Simpson double, a walk and a Francisco Aponte two-run double. Jeff Rauh finished the frame, with the first batter he faced, Deybi Garcia, cracking an RBI double before he shut the door.
Kyle Grana pitched a perfect ninth inning, with a pair of strikeouts, to wrap up the win and division crown.