The Double-A Reading Fightins are headed to the Eastern League Championship Series for the first time since 2001 folowing a sweep of the Binghamton Mets in the opening round of the playoffs.
Top prospect J.P. Crawford led the offense, slamming a solo home run and reaching base three times via a walk. Outfielder Nick Williams, acquired in July’s Cole Hamels trade, slugged a two-run homer, his second of the series.
Infielder Angelo Morda plated the other Reading run with a sacrifice fly.
Right-hander Ben Lively notched the win, tossing five innings while allowing two earned runs on four hits, striking out six and walking one. The 23-year-old was acquired last off-season from Cincinnati in a trade for outfielder Marlon Byrd.
The bullpen tossed four scoreless innings, capped off with a save by All-Star closer Stephen Shackleford, who led the EL with 30 saves, a team record, in the regular season.
Reading will open the championship round against the Bowie Baysox (Baltimore affiliate) on Tuesday night at home.
In the Class A short-season New York-Penn League playoffs, the Williamsport Crosscutters and the West Virginia Black Bears were rained out on Saturday. The deciding game of their best-of-three division series will be made up on Sunday at 5:05 PM with the Cutters as the host.