The Lancaster Barnstormers are the Atlantic League Champions. Gabe Jacobo homered to right-center in the bottom of the 13th to give the Stormers an 8-7 victory over Sugar Land on Friday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium and a three-game sweep of the best-of-five championship series.
"I'm just so proud of this team," Stormers skipper Butch Hobson said during the locker room celebration after the win. "I’ve had some wonderful teams, but this might be one of the best. Not because they won it, but because of the way they hang in there."
The Stormers had won the first two games of the series in Texas before returning home to take the title in front of 6,084 fans.
For Jacobo, who was named the series MVP after the game, it was his second homer of the contest.
"It was just an unbelievable feeling going around those bases," Jacobo said. "It was my first ever walk-off homer in pro ball."
After Wilson Batista grounded out to begin the bottom of the 13th, Jacobo hit the first pitch he saw from Skeeters reliever Cory VanAllen, a fast ball up and away, over the wall to start the celebration.
"I just kind of figured it was time to go home," Jacobo said.
It is the Barnstormers' second title. They last won in 2006.
Evan Englebrook, who pitched a perfect top of the 13th got the win.
The Barnstormers had scored two runs in the bottom of the 12th to tie the game, 7-7. Greg Golson’s two-run triple scored Lance Zawadzki and Keith Castillo, who had both singled.
The Skeeters’ Denny Almonte hit a two-run homer in the top of the 12th inning to provide Sugar Land with a 7-5 lead.
After former Stormer Travis Denker walked to start the 12th, Almonte hit a 2-2 pitch from Stormers closer Jason Urquidez over the right-field wall on on to Clay Street.
It was the Skeeters third homer of the game.
The Skeeters took a 4-0 lead on Stormers starter Chris Schwinden. They scored an unearned run in the first and added three runs in the fifth when Ryan Langerhans hit a two-run homer and Delwyn Young followed with a solo shot. It was the first time all season the Stormers gave up back-to-back homers.
Schwinden pitched seven innings, gave up seven hits, struck out seven and walked one.
The Barnstormers got within a run when Jacobo hit a three-run homer to center off Skeeters starter Sean Gallagher in the sixth.
Lancaster tied the game at four in the seventh when Yusuke Kajimoto walked and eventually scored on an Olmo Rosario single.
Sugar Land regained the lead on Young’s second home run of the game, a solo shot to left off Ross Peeples, to start the eighth.
The Barnstormers came back again in the bottom of the eighth. Jacobo hit a grounder to Skeeters third baseman Travis Denker, who threw wide to first. The Skeeters throught first baseman Rene Tosoni had made the tag but the umps disagreed.
Jacobo advanced to second on a sac bunt, third on a fly ball and scored on a Kajimoto single.
Both teams had plenty of opportunities to end the game before they did.
The Barnstormers had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. Garner and Rosario hit back-to-back singles with one out. But Skeeters reliever Roy Corcoran got pinch hitter Wilson Batista to ground into a double play to end the threat and sent the game to extra innings.
Sugar Land had a chance in the top of the 10th. Pete Andrelczyk walked Travis Scott and he got to second on a groundout. Andrelczyk struck out pinch hitter Chase Lambin to end the inning. Lambin disagreed with umpire Fred DeJesus’ call and ended up getting thrown out of the game.
The Stormers put two on with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, but the Skeeters retired Greg Golson on a groundout to end the inning.
In the 11th Dominic Ramos doubled, but was stranded there when Scott Patterson relieved retired the next three.
Blake Gailen doubled to start the bottom of the 11th, but was left aboard when Gary Majewski got Garner to ground out and Rosario to fly out to deep right-center.
After Batista was intentionally walked, Gabe Jacobo hit the ball hard but right at right fielder Langerhans.
Homers: With Jacobo’s home run Barnstormers homered in every postseason game this year except Wednesday’s 5-0 win in Game Two of the championship series at Sugar Land.