Rockers fail to clinch postseason berth

·2 min read

Sep. 12—LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Rockers can clinch an Atlantic League playoff berth Tuesday with a win when it plays host to Gastonia at Truist Point.

High Point could have secured a wild-card berth Sunday with a win over Kentucky but the Genomes won 9-7 to remain mathematically alive, trailing by 5.5 games. They have seven games left while the Rockers (69-57) have six to go (three at home against the Honey Hunters and three at York beginning Friday.

Gastonia, which was the South Division first-half champ, clinched the second-half pennant Sunday, opening up a wild-card spot in the playoffs. Automatic berths in the four-team playoff are given to the first and second half winners in each division. If a team sweeps both halves, the open spot is filled by the non-division winner with the best overall record for the season.

The Genomes scored three in the first and four in the second off High Point starter and loser Neil Uskali. The Rockers tallied a single run each in each of the first four innings and added another in the sixth. The first three of those runs came courtesy of solo home runs off the bats of Michael Russell, Quincy Latimore and Ben Aklinski. The other two scored on RBI doubles from Michael Martinez, cutting the Genomes' lead at 7-5.

In the eighth, Zander Wiel became the first Rocker to reach the 30-homer mark in a season. High Point added another run when Russell doubled and scored Martinez, who had singled for his fourth hit of the day.

The loss also prevented the Rockers from sweeping the series. High Point smacked five home runs and 17 hits in a 14-2 win on Saturday. Roldani Baldwin, Giovanny Alfonzo and Ben Aklinski hit two-run homers and Baldwin and Tyler Ladendorf lifted solo shots. Criag Stem was the winning pitcher as he picked up his 13th all-time win as a Rocker.

High Point rolled to a 12-3 win on Friday. Keyed by a Quincy Latimore homer, they scored four times in the first. Latimore added a three-run homer in the third and Logan Morrison provided a solo shot in the ninth.