York manager Andy Etchebarren penciled in Eric Eymann in right field and Liu Rodriguez at second base after left-handed hitter Jose Herrera and switch-hitter Chris Walker struggled at the plate in this series.
Lancaster turned to another left-handed pitcher, and Etchebarren turned to his bench.
“Well, nobody else was doing nothing,” Etchebarren said. “Little Liu, I know if he goes out there he’s going to play defense. And he ended up getting a big hit. Eymann ended up getting a big hit. Liu played great second base. Eymann made a nice play in the right field corner to hold (Lancaster catcher Matt) Tupman to a single. So it all worked out.”
It was the first start of the series for Eymann and Rodriguez.
It might have been the biggest strategic move of the game — and the series.
Eymann came through with an RBI single up the middle through a drawn-in infield in the seventh inning to tie the game. Liu Rodriguez led off with a single up the middle in the 10th, and he scored the go-ahead run on a hit-and-run play where Lancaster second baseman Gilberto Mejia couldn’t handle a hopper.
Etchebarren said he will return Herrera to the lineup in Game 1 of the Atlantic League Championship Series.
“But I’m not to wait for four games to change it again,” Etchebarren said. “I’ll change it the next day if they don’t do nothing.”
No home-field advantage: It was just the fifth Game 5 in Atlantic League history (1998-present).
And even though it might sound odd, history was on York’s side — even though they were visitors.
Road teams won the league’s first three Game 5s in league history. Lancaster manager Butch Hobson led the last road team to a victory before York’s extra-inning win Monday. Hobson’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs beat Long Island, 7-5, in Central Islip, N.Y., in 2009.
Somerset pulled off the feat twice, topping Newark, 4-0, in Newark in 2001, and the Patriots beat Nashua, 8-4, in New Hampshire.
The only home team to win a Game 5 should be an easy team to remember for local fans. The York Revolution topped Somerset 1-0 in the “Who’s Your Daddy?” game as York fans taunted Somerset’s Josh Pressley since his father was ejected after getting in a shouting match with Etchebarren earlier in the series.
New territory: After never winning a postseason game before the 2010 season, York returns to the championship series for the second consecutive year. York is the fifth team to return to the championship series in Atlantic League history. Somerset (2007-09), Newark (2001-02), Somerset (1999-2001) and Bridgeport (1998-99) also have accomplished the feat.
The only back-to-back championship team was the 2008-09 Somerset Patriots.
Tough out: Stephen Douglas, 26, has never played above low-A, topping out in the New York-Penn League. But the left-handed hitting outfielder for the Lancaster Barnstormers is proving he can compete with the best in independent baseball. He batted .378 for the league champion Grand Prairie AirHogs in the American Association this season. He appeared in just four regular season games for the Barnstormers, but he batted .529 (9-for-17) in the divisional series. He had the most hits in the series for Lancaster. EDIT: York 3B Vince Harrison led all teams with 10 hits in the divisional series.
Before the series began, Etchebarren knew Douglas would be a player to watch — making a point to tell reporters the left-handed hitting outfielder for Lancaster should be mentioned alongside Tommy Everidge and Fernando Seguignol as offensive threats.