LAKEWOOD, N.J.- In Monday’s regular season finale, the Delmarva Shorebirds labored to a 12-3 defeat at the hands of the Lakewood BlueClaws. Despite the loss in the last game of 2015, the Shorebirds (71-67, 38-32) still finished with their best record since 2008.
The excitement of the finale favored Delmarva at first. Ademar Rifaela led off with a double moments into the game. Cam Kneeland crushed a deep flyball to the left-center gap that took a wild bounce off the wall, caroming all the way to the left field corner. Kneeland came racing around for an inside-the-park home run and a 2-0 lead.
After the highlights in the first inning, Lakewood took over for the rest of the afternoon. The BlueClaws scored five runs in the second off Caleb Kellogg, making his first career start for Delmarva. The second inning was sparked by back-to-back doubles by Cord Sandberg and Jiandido Tromp. Drew Stankiewicz lifted a two-run double for the BlueClaws’ first lead.
In the third, the BlueClaws’ attack continued in full force. Lakewood tallied six more runs, beginning with a three-run home run by Tromp. Damek Tomscha hit a two-run double as well as Lakewood batted around in the third. In the fourth, Emmanuel Marrero tripled and scooted home on a wild pitch to make it 12 unanswered runs.
The Shorebirds’ offense was held in check after Kneeland’s inside-the-park home run. Steve Wilkerson lifted a sacrifice fly in the seventh to get Delmarva back on the board. Jairo Munoz earned the win for Lakewood, allowing just two runs in five innings. Jason Zgardowski, Manny Martinez and Matt Hockenberry closed out the win for the BlueClaws.
The season as a whole was a resounding success for the Delmarva Shorebirds, finishing with a winning record for the first time since 2008. At 71 wins, Delmarva easily surpassed its best win total from the previous six years (66).
With the 2015 season coming to a close, the Shorebirds will return to action in April. Delmarva begins the 2016 season on the road at Hagerstown on April 7th. The Shorebirds’ home opener at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium is scheduled for Thursday, April 14.