Robert Kilcrease took the ball when Payne's evening on the mound was finished and held the BlueClaw bats at bay for the final two innings. Kilcrease allowed one hit and walked one batter in addition to striking out two. He also got some help from his defense in the ninth inning.
Villalobos led off the final frame for Lakewood and smacked what looked to be a sure foul ball deep down the third base line. Sosa, the Power's left fielder, broke on the ball and had to stretch, flipping over the wall part of the way in to the stands, to record the first out of the inning. Kilcrease got the final two Lakewood batters to ground out to end the game and secured West Virginia's third win in its last 11 games.
"We're a young club that's trying to figure this out," Sofield said. "A lot of guys are trying to do too much when it comes their turn and it just ruins the recipe. Sosa makes a very good catch to get one that sometimes we don't get and helps Kilcrease go back (for the final two outs)."
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IF THE POWER hopes to participate in the South Atlantic League playoffs this season, it will have to come by winning the Northern Division in the second half of the season. West Virginia's 16-35 record has the team trailing first-place Greensboro (36-14) by 20.5 games in the standings.
West Virginia only has 19 games remaining before the mid-June All-Star break, meaning that if the Power won all of its remaining games and Greensboro were to lose all 20 of its remaining game then West Virginia would have a record of 35-35 while Greensboro would be 36-34 and still ahead of the Power in the standings.
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THE BLUECLAWS and Power play the second of their three-game series at Appalachian Power Park today with the first pitch schedule for 7:05 p.m. The teams finish the series on Wednesday before the Power hits the road to make room for this week's State Tournament that begins Thursday and runs through Saturday.