09/09/05 — K-Tribe sweeps Hogs, advances to Mills Cup championship series

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K-Tribe sweeps Hogs, advances to Mills Cup championship series

Published in Sports on September 9, 2005 2:24 PM

KINSTON -- The Kinston Indians claimed the Southern Division pennant for the second straight year, sweeping Winston-Salem with an 8-1 victory before 987 fans at historic Grainger Stadium on Thursday night.

The Indians, first-half champions in the South, advance to play the Frederick Keys in the Carolina League Championship Series in a best-of-five series that will begin Saturday night at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick. The Keys defeated Lynchburg 7-5 Thursday night to sweep the Northern Division series.

In a game that had striking similarities to Kinston's 3-1 win at Winston-Salem in game one Wednesday night, the Warthogs took a 1-0 lead in the second only to see Kinston's offense wake up the second time around against the Winston-Salem starter. Travis Hinton opened the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the second against K-Tribe starter Adam Miller, but the Indians finally figured out Warthogs lefty Ray Liotta in the bottom of the fourth.

Liotta had not allowed a hit through the first three innings, but did himself no favors by walking Brian Barton on four pitches to start the fourth before Kevin Kouzmanoff followed with a base hit to left. Stephen Head then tied the game with an RBI double to right-center, and Rodney Choy Foo delivered a bouncing single up the middle to plate a pair of runs and give Kinston a 3-1 lead. Ryan Goleski followed with a broken-bat single to left, and Mike Conroy capped the rally when he pounded a full-count fastball over the wall in right for a three-run homer and a 6-1 lead. In Wednesday's game, Kinston didn't have a baserunner for the first three innings before taking the lead for good in the fourth.

Kinston added two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth when Choy Foo crushed a two-run homer to right-center off Fernando Hernandez to make it 8-1, and the Warthogs didn't get a runner past second base the rest of the way.

Choy Foo finished 2-for-4 with four RBI and Conroy went 1-for-2 with a walk and the three-run homer.

The Indians are off Friday before opening defense of their 2004 championship at 6:35 p.m. Saturday night in Frederick. Game two will be at 2:05 p.m. Sunday afternoon in Frederick before the series shifts to Kinston for game three Monday. If necessary, game four will be Tuesday in Kinston and game five will be Wednesday in Kinston. All games in Kinston will begin at 7 p.m.