BALTIMORE – After a rocky start to their 2019 season, the Bowie Baysox found their way into the Eastern League playoffs.
In their final four-game series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Bowie lost three games to end up the second half of the season in a tie with the Erie SeaWolves to win the Western Division. Due to a tiebreaker and Erie SeaWolves losing on Sept. 1, the Baysox clinched the division with one game left in the season.
Bowie, who won the Eastern League title in 2015 for the only championship in club history, will host the Harrisburg Senators in Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-5 Western Division title series on Sept. 4 and 5.
The Eastern League is using a new format for the playoffs this season. They split the season into two halves with the winner of the first half taking on the winner of the second half in the first round of the playoffs. Plus, the second-half winner is the lower seed and Games 3-5 will be hosted by Harrisburg, the first-half champion. The winner of this series then advances to play the winner of the Eastern Division title series between Trenton and Reading for the Eastern League championship.
While the Baysox ended up 10 ½ games in front of Harrisburg in the second half of the year, they did not end the second half on a great note after dropping three of their final four games in Richmond.
They nearly clinched the division title on Aug. 31, holding a 2-1 lead in the 10th inning before giving up two in the bottom half to fall 3-2. Then, with their magic number stuck at one, Bowie lost 2-1 to Richmond on Sept. 1, but Akron beat Erie that day which put the Baysox into post-season play.
The second half of the regular season ended on Sept. 2 with Richmond handing Bowie the 7-1 loss thanks to a six-run fourth inning. Three home runs helped the Flying Squirrels break the game open in that frame.
Pitcher Alex Wells (8-6) suffered the loss in that game, giving up two home runs and four runs on six hits in 3 ⅓ innings. Based on the rotation, Wells would be set up to pitch late in the first playoff series, if needed.
Bowie’s offense needs to get back on track heading into the Harrisburg series. The Baysox scored just four runs in those final three games they lost in Richmond. The Senators are coming into the playoffs on a better role as they won their final four games of the season.
Harrisburg ended the second half at 34-35 and finished 42-28 in the first half to win the division.