Nationals featured on #MissionOctober Monday night

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by Amanda Comak

While the Washington Nationals open a three-game set in Atlanta on Monday night, Nationals fans would be wise to set their DVRs for Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. to ensure they don’t miss the Nationals episode of “Mission October.”

As part of the weekly all-access series put together by MLB Productions, Mission October crews joined the Nationals for their four-game series in New York this past weekend. With the Nationals’ Magic Number shrinking to four by the time they boarded their flight for Atlanta on Sunday night, the show will give fans an inside look at a pivotal series in their march toward the Posteason.

“‘Mission October’ takes an inside-access look at a different potential playoff team every weekend in September, and we’re very excited to spotlight the Nationals this week,” said on-field producer Jason Katz. “We had a great time filming with the Nats.

“The show will feature a very fun in game wire on Denard Span, an off-the-field element and in-game wire with Bryce Harper, Matt Williams and some of his coaches on their daily run, and much more.

Nationals fans won’t want to miss it.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos from the filming:

 

 

 

Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche named co-NL Player of the Week

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by Amanda Comak

Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche was named the co-National League Player of the Week on Monday, sharing the honor with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. Major League Baseball made the announcement Monday afternoon on MLB Network.

LaRoche, 34, opened the month of September on a powerful tear at the plate as he helped guide the Nationals to two pivotal victories over the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.

In earning his first NL Player of the Week honors, LaRoche hit .333 (5-for-15) with a .421 on-base percentage, and a 1.133 slugging percentage. Over the course of five games (four starts), four of LaRoche’s five total hits were home runs. He drove in 10 runs, walked three times (one intentional) and was also hit by a pitch.

Wednesday, after being relegated to the Nationals’ bench with a tight back and flu-like symptoms, LaRoche clubbed a game-tying, two-run, pinch-hit home run in the top of the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium to give the Nationals new life. In a wild back-and-forth contest that would last 14 innings, LaRoche drove in five runs – becoming just the second player in the expansion era (since 1961) to enter a game in the ninth inning or later and drive in at least five runs. Harold Baines accomplished the feat on May 4, 1999 for the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Chicago White Sox.

In addition to his game-saving home run, LaRoche gave the Nationals the lead in the top of the 12th with a two-run single to left, and helped break a tie again in the 14th when he beat out a double play to allow Ian Desmond to score what would stand up as the game winning run.

LaRoche followed that performance up by staking the Nationals to an early lead on Friday, hitting his 21st home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning, and kept slugging through the weekend. On Sunday, facing Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, LaRoche homered in his first two at-bats, tying the game both times, for the 24th multi-homer game of his career and his second this season.

LaRoche is the 11th Nationals player to earn NL Player of the Week honors, joining RHP Jordan Zimmermann and OF Jayson Werth from this year’s club.

Prior to 2014, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (periods ending July 22, 2012; June 13, 2010; August 21, 2011; August 5, 2007), right-hander Stephen Strasburg (June 13, 2010), outfielder Josh Willingham (Aug. 2, 2009), shortstop Cristian Guzman (Aug. 31, 2008), utility man Willie Harris (July 20, 2007) and first baseman Nick Johnson (June 6, 2005) earned NL Player of the Week hardware.

Nationals announce 2015 schedule

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While the Washington Nationals’ 2014 season is headed for an exciting finish, the Nationals gave fans their first look at the 2015 slate on Monday with the release of next season’s schedule.

San Francisco Giants v Washington NationalsThe Nationals’ 81-game home schedule kicks off with Washington’s 82nd home opener since 1901 on Monday, April 6 vs. the New York Mets and is highlighted by 13 weekend series against, among others, the Phillies (three times), Braves (two times), Cubs, Pirates, Giants, Dodgers and Brewers.

Washington’s 2015 regular season both begins (see above) and concludes (Sunday, October 4 at Citi Field) against the NL East-rival Mets. The Nationals open 2015 by playing an NL East rival in 26 of their initial 32 contests, through May 10, before capping the year with 26 of its final 29 regular-season games against intra-divisional foes, September 3 – October 4.

While 29 of next season’s initial 50 contests will be played on the road, Nationals fans can experience the thrill of pennant-race baseball in the nation’s capital for themselves from August 21 – September 27, when Washington will host 26 games in 38 days within the friendly confines of Nationals Park.

The annual Battle of the Beltways Series between the Nationals and Orioles continues for a tenth consecutive season with both clubs hosting a three-game set. The Nationals welcome the Orioles to D.C. for three games, Sept. 21-23, in the latest Interleague series in the Nationals’ 11 seasons.

The Nationals will also square off with the American League East for 20 Interleague contests in 2015. Washington’s home interleague slate includes visits from the Yankees (two games, May 19-20), the Blue Jays (three games, June 1-3), the Rays (two games, June 17-18) and the aforementioned visit from the Orioles (three games, September 21-23). The Yankees’ visit to The District is their first since sweeping a three-game set at Nationals Park, June 15-17, 2012.

The Nationals will make Interleague road stops in Boston (three games), New York (two), Tampa Bay (two) and Baltimore (three games, July 10-12).

San Francisco Giants v Washington NationalsThe ‘15 home schedule also features the following holiday home games: Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10 vs. Braves), Father’s Day (Sunday, June 21 vs. Pirates), Independence Day (Saturday, July 4 vs. Giants) and Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7 vs. Mets).

Of the Nationals’ 12 homestands, only one will last 10 or more games, and Nationals Park will host 10 games in 11 days to close out the home slate from September 17-27 (Marlins, Orioles, Phillies).

September/October (17 games), August (16) and June (15) contain the most home games in a calendar month, while April hosts the fewest (10).

All dates and opponents on this schedule are subject to change.

For a limited time, fans who purchase a 2015 NATS PLUS Membership receive priority access for the Postseason. For more information or to purchase 2015 Memberships, visit nationals.com/2015, call 202.675.NATS (6287) or email at ticketinfo@nationals.com.

Nationals Game Notes — Sept. 7 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Game No. 141: Washington Nationals (79-61) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (66-75) | 1:35 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-9, 3.89 ERA) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (8-6, 2.50)
Both Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (3rd, 39) and Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cole Hamels (tied 4th, 33) rank among the top five National League left-handers in wins the last three seasons (2012 – pres.).
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM  and also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: Today’s game will be televised on MASN
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • With 21 home runs, Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche has recorded his ninth 20-homer campaign in the last 10 years (his lone exception: three HRs in injury-shortened 2011 season). LaRoche is one of only seven current players who can make this claim. He’s joined on the short list by:
    David Ortiz (all 10 years)
    Miguel Cabrera (all 10 years)
    Adam Dunn (11 HR, 2011)
    Albert Pujols (17 HR, 2013)
    Nick Swisher (8 HR in 2014)
    Mark Teixeira (3 HR, 2013)

Here are the lineups for today’s match-up:

NATIONALS (79-61)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 3B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
20 Ian Desmond SS
7  Scott Hairston LF
3 Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
59 Jose Lobaton (S) C
47 Gio Gonzalez LHP

PHILLIES (66-75)

11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
24 Grady Sizemore (L) LF
51 Carlos Ruiz C
3 Marlon Byrd RF
18 Darin Ruf 1B
7 Maikel Franco 3B
13 Freddy Galvis (S) 2B
19 Tony Gwynn Jr. (L) CF
35 Cole Hamels (L) LHP

Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Nationals Game Notes — Sept. 6 vs. Philadelphia

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Game No. 140: Washington Nationals (79-60) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (65-75) | 4:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Tanner Roark (12-9, 2.91 ERA) vs. RHP AJ Burnett (7-15, 4.40)
Philadelphia Phillies right-hander AJ Burnett joins Dillon Gee (2013), Josh Johnson (2009) and Derek Lowe (2009) as the only pitchers to make six starts against the Nationals in a single season.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM  and also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: Today’s game will be televised on MASN
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • Denard Span joined the 1,000-hit club via a first-inning single on Friday off Jerome Williams, before he added two more hits later in the game. Span became the ninth player to tally a 1,000th career hit in a Nationals uniform. The initial eight: Jayson Werth (2013),Ryan Zimmerman (2012), Adam LaRoche (2012), Adam Dunn (2009), Aaron Boone(2008), Cristian Guzman (2007), Alfonso Soriano (2006), Jose Guillen (2005). Of Span’s 1,002 career hits, 333 came as a National and 192 occurred at Nationals Park.

Here are the lineups for today’s match-up:

NATIONALS (79-60)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 3B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
20 Ian Desmond SS
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
40 Wilson Ramos C
3 Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
57 Tanner Roark RHP

PHILLIES (65-75)

2 Ben Revere (L) CF
11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
26 Chase Utley (L) 2B
6 Ryan Howard (L) 1B
24 Grady Sizemore (L) RF
9 Domonic Brown (L) LF
21 Wil Nieves C
25 Cody Asche (L) 3B
34 AJ Burnett RHP

Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Nationals Game Notes — Sept. 5 vs. Philadelphia

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Game No. 139: Washington Nationals (79-59) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (64-75) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Stephen Strasburg (11-10, 3.49 ERA) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (11-10, 4.33)
Thanks in part to two walks and 40 strikeouts, Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA (3 ER/31.0 inn.) in four home starts against the Phillies the last two seasons (2013 – pres.).
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM  and also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: Today’s game will be televised on MASN
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • From July 23 – Aug. 1, the Nationals went homer-less for nine straight games. But in 31 contests since, the Nationals have hit 45 home runs. Here’s a closer look at which teams have hit the most home runs since the beginning of August: 
     1. Orioles: 56 
     2. Nationals: 47
     3. Cubs: 43

Here are the lineups for today’s match-up:

NATIONALS (79-59)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 3B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
20 Ian Desmond SS
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
40 Wilson Ramos C
3 Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
37 Stephen Strasburg RHP

PHILLIES (64-75)

2 Ben Revere (L) CF
11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
26 Chase Utley (L) 2B
6 Ryan Howard (L) 1B
3 Marlon Byrd RF
9 Domonic Brown (L) LF
51 Carlos Ruiz C
7 Maikel Franco 3B
31 Jerome Williams RHP

Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Minor League Postseason Preview

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by Kyle Brostowitz

On Wednesday, three of the Washington Nationals’ minor league affiliates will kick off the 2014 postseason. Here’s a brief preview of each series:

farm graphicInternational League

Syracuse Chiefs (81-62), Northern Division Champion

vs.

Pawtucket Red Sox (79-65), Wild Card

Season Series: 8-8

Series Scoring: 66-56 (Syracuse)

Looking Lively

Game Three starter, RHP Mitch Lively, stymied the Red Sox late in the season, going 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA (4 ER/11.0 IP) with 17 strikeouts and just four walks in his final two starts of 2014. In his final outing, on Aug. 30, Lively struck out a career-high 11 batters to propel the Chiefs to the division-clinching 6-2 victory over the Red Sox.

Familiar Face

Former Nationals outfielder Corey Brown will face off against his former teammates in this best-of-five series.  Brown went 10-for-33 (.303) with two doubles, four homers, six RBI, three walks and 5 runs scored in nine games against Syracuse in 2014. Brown played 357 games for the Chiefs from 2011-2013.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Pawtucket, 7:05pm: RHP Taylor Hill vs. LHP Edwin Escobar

Game 2: Thursday, Sept. 4 at Pawtucket, 7:05pm:  RHP Scott McGregor vs. RHP Matt Barnes

Game 3: Friday, Sept. 5 at Syracuse, 7:00pm: RHP Mitch Lively vs. LHP Henry Owens

Game 4: Saturday, Sept. 6 at Syracuse, 7:00pm: LHP Aaron Laffey vs. TBD **If necessary**

Game 5: Sunday, Sept. 7 at Syracuse, 1:00pm: RHP Paolo Espino vs. TBD **If necessary**

Carolina League

Potomac Nationals (78-58), Northern Division Champion

vs.

Lynchburg Hillcats (68-71), Wild Card

Season Series: 12-7 (Potomac)

Series Scoring: 96-90 (Potomac)

Hot Stretch

Potomac enters the postseason having won 14 of its last 19 games to finish out the season. Moreover, the Nationals have won four straight against Lynchburg, including a three-game sweep of the Hillcats, Aug. 19-20.

Batting Champion!

P-Nats second baseman Tony Renda claimed the Carolina League batting title, hitting .307 with 21 doubles, four triples, 47 RBI, 19 stolen bases and 75 runs scored.  In 13 games against Lynchburg, Renda went 16-for-49 (.327) with a double, two RBI, three stole bases, four walks and 12 runs scored.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Potomac: LHP Hector Silvestre vs. TBD

Game 2: Thursday, Sept. 4 at Potomac: RHP Brian Rauh vs. TBD

Game 3: Friday, Sept. 5 at Potomac: RHP Ian Dickson vs.  TBD

South Atlantic League

Hagerstown Suns (87-53), Second Half Northern Division Champion

vs.

Greensboro Grasshoppers (87-53), First Half Northern Division Champion

Season Series: 6-5 (Hagerstown)

Series Scoring: 69-66 (Hagerstown)

Hot Hand

RHP Reynaldo Lopez enters the postseason having allowed just one earned run in his last 39.2 South Atlantic League innings pitched, going 4-1 with a 0.23 ERA, with opponents batting just .115 against him. In his lone start against Greensboro on Aug. 19, Lopez fired 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing two hits while walking one and striking out four.

Grasshopper Exterminator

South Atlantic League MVP, INF Wilmer Difo, hit .460 (23-for-50) with a double, three triples, two homers, 10 RBI, two walks, three stolen bases and 13 runs scored in 11 games against Greensboro in 2014.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1:  Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Hagerstown: RHP Wander Suero vs. Domingo German

Game 2:  Friday, Sept. 5 at Greensboro: RHP Reynaldo Lopez vs. LHP Chris Sadberry

Game 3   Saturday, Sept. 6 at Greensboro:  RHP Nick Pivetta vs. RHP Kyle Fischer

Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy Looking for Mentors

Twitter: @Nationals | Facebook: Nationals | Instagram: @Nationals

by Kyle Mann

As the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy (WNYBA) enters its second year of core programming, the organization is looking for qualified volunteers from the community to support its academic enrichment programs.

The commitment for mentors is two hours, one day per week, and it is important that mentors are able to commit each week so they can become role models for the program’s scholar-athletes. These mentors will build a rich community that exposes young scholars to new perspectives and many forms of support. Mentors, in turn, are rewarded with the experience of making a dramatic and clear impact on the lives of young people.

Those who are interested, please see below, or visit the WNYBA website to apply. Applications received by September 5 will receive priority consideration.

The WNYBA is located at 3675 Ely Place SE. Street parking is available, and a shuttle is provided from the Stadium-Armory Metro (Orange/Blue/Silver lines) at 5:30 pm.

Washington NationalsGeneral Information:
Creative programming, based on nationally acclaimed models, will help boys and girls:
• Develop a passion for and skill in the game of baseball.
• Improve English Language Arts, Science and Mathematics outcomes.
• Be physically active, learn about nutrition and how to cook healthy foods.
• Grow through the years with an organization committed to their success.

Teaching Mentors Commitment:
What
: Teach a small group of third, fourth, or fifth graders in a core academic subject: Math (STEM), English Language Arts, or BrainFood (only available Thursdays) using provided baseball-themed lessons.
When: One night per week: (Tuesdays: 6:00 – 7:45 pm; Wednesdays: 6:00 – 7:45 pm; Thursdays: 4:00- 6:00 pm or 6:00 – 7:45 pm (as a Brain Food Assistant!)) plus 1 hour of lesson preparation per week.

Qualifications:
Mentors do not need to have any prior teaching experience to be a mentor and the curriculum is pre-developed and highly-structured. All we ask of you is your time and your energy. You will be a role model to your scholars, and you will play an important part in their lives as you develop relationships with them.

Requirements:
• Ability to make an academic year long commitment, September to May.
• Ability to lead engaging activities and lessons.
• Complete an interview, background check process, and TB Test.
• Flexibility and willingness to learn and attend all required trainings.

The following qualities are preferred but not required:
• Experience working with youth.
• Experience with curriculum and instruction.
• A working knowledge of the rules of baseball/softball.

 

Nationals add six players to expanded roster

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals September call-ups arrived on Monday as the team recalled RHP Aaron Barrett, LHP Xavier Cedeno, C Sandy Leon, 1B/OF Tyler Moore and RHP Blake Treinen from Triple-A Syracuse. Additionally, OF Steven Souza Jr. (left shoulder) was returned from rehab and reinstated to the active roster.

Marlins v. NationalsBarrett, 26, is 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 40 games, (33.2 IP) for the Nationals this season. The hard-throwing righty made the Nationals 25-man roster out of Spring Training and quickly earned an integral role in manager Matt Williams’ bullpen. His 11.50 strikeouts per nine innings ranks second among all rookie National League relievers this season, behind only Philadelphia’s Ken Giles (12.72).

Barrett returns to the Nationals after going 1-0 with two saves in 10 games for Syracuse – in which he did not allow a run, surrendered five hits, walked one batter and struck out eight.

Cedeno, 28, rejoins the Nationals for the fourth time this season. The left-handed reliever has not allowed a run at the Major League level this season, scattering four hits in three appearances (3.1 IP) with one strikeout. At Triple-A, Cedeno was 5-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 35 games (39.1 IP).

While holding International League batters to a .163 average against and possessing a 0.86 WHIP, Cedeno has struck out 57, walked 12 and allowed just 10 earned runs. Against left-handed batters, his ERA drops to 1.35.

Leon, 25, strengthens the Nationals’ catching corps for the stretch run in his fourth Major League stint of the season. The switch-hitting catcher hit his first Major League home run on April 14 off Kevin Slowey in Miami, and posted a .169 average in 18 Major League games this season. Leon hit .229 for Syracuse with five home runs and 25 RBI.

Known for his above-average defensive skills behind the plate, Leon has caught 45 percent of attempted base stealers over the course of eight Minor League seasons.

Cincinnati Reds v Washington NationalsMoore, 27, makes his third return to the Nationals’ Major League roster this season, adding power and versatility off the bench. In 34 Major League games (16 starts) this season, Moore hit .214 with three home runs and 11 RBI. The first baseman/outfielder hit .265 with a .367 on-base percentage and a .434 slugging percentage at Triple-A this season, clubbing 31 extra-base hits and driving in 44 runs in 84 games.

In 46 career big league games as a first baseman, Moore has hit .325 with eight doubles, six home runs and 26 RBI.

Treinen, 26, rejoins the Nationals for the sixth time this season. He is 1-3 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 Major League games (five starts) this year. The right-hander earned his first MLB win on June 28 at Wrigley Field when he held the Cubs to two earned runs over 5.0 IP. As a starter in the majors, Treinen has worked to a 2.50 ERA, and as a reliever he’s posted a 1.54 mark.

Treinen had an 8-2 record with a 3.35 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A this year.

Souza Jr. returns to the active roster after missing 20 games with a left shoulder contusion. The 25-year-old, who was named the International League MVP last week, led the league in almost every offensive category: batting average (.350), on-base percentage (.432), and slugging percentage (.590). He also hit 18 home runs, drove in 75 and stole 26 bases.

Souza Jr. is 1-for-12 (.083) with one walk and four strikeouts in the Major Leagues this year.

The Nationals’ September call-ups helped the Chiefs clinch their first IL North Division title in 25 years on Saturday night. The players will join the Nationals before the start of their three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday evening.

Wilmer Difo named South Atlantic League MVP; Lucas Giolito named Most Outstanding Pitcher & Top Prospect

Twitter: @Nationals | Facebook: Nationals | Instagram: @Nationals

by Amanda Comak

Two more Washington Nationals prospects earned end-of-year accolades on Thursday with the South Atlantic League announcing Single-A Hagerstown infielder Wilmer Difo as the league’s Most Valuable Player and right-hander Lucas Giolito the league’s Most Outstanding Pitcher and Most Outstanding Major League Prospect. Additionally, Suns center fielder Rafael Bautista was named to the SAL post-season All-Star team and Single-A Potomac manager Tripp Keister was named the Carolina League Manager of the Year.

Difo, a mid-season SAL Northern Division All-Star and post-season All-Star second baseman, currently leads or is tied for the league lead in hits (174) and total bases (257). Hitting .321 this season, good for sixth in the league among qualifiers, Difo has worked to a .366 on-base percentage and a .474 slugging percentage for the Suns.

The 22-year-old native of the Dominican Republic is among the SAL leaders in RBI (88, third), stolen bases (49, second), runs scored (90, tied for second), extra-base hits (50, fourth) and most plate appearances per strikeout (9.55, fifth).

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game - World Team v United StatesGiolito, ranked by Baseball America as the No. 11 prospect in all of baseball at mid-season, went 10-2 with a 2.20 ERA for the Suns in 20 games this season. Over 98.0 innings he allowed 28 runs (24 earned) on 70 hits, including seven homers. Giolito, the Nationals’ first-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, walked 28 and struck out 110.

The 20 year old was named the SAL Pitcher of the Week on two occasions this season and represented the Nationals at the Sirius/XM All-Star Futures Game, along with outfielder Michael A. Taylor, in Minneapolis in July.

Bautista, like Difo, was named to the mid-season Northern Division All-Star team as well. The 21-year-old currently leads the league in stolen bases (66), and is tied with Difo for second in runs scored. Bautista is hitting .283 this year with a .337 on-base percentage and .373 slugging percentage. His 66 stolen bases are a Suns single-season record since the team has been a member of the South Atlantic League.

Keister managed Potomac to the first- and second-half Northern Division titles, clinching the second-half crown on Wednesday night. With a 75-55 record this season, Potomac will host Game 1 of the Northern Division Championship Series on Sept. 3 at Pfitzner Stadium.

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