As the final week of the South Atlantic League season began, the odds looked good for the Hickory Crawdads returning to the league playoffs for the first time since 2007.
If, in fact, Hickory clinches a playoff spot, the first game of a three-game series against the Lakewood Blue Claws will begin at L.P. Frans Stadium on at 7 p.m. Sept. 8. Tickets for the potential playoff game are now on sale at the Crawdads box office.
The only thing standing between the Crawdads and the playoffs as September began were the surging Greensboro Grasshoppers, but the ‘Hoppers would have to go nearly undefeated in the final week of play to win the division’s second-half crown.
Hickory’s hopes were pinned on the Lakewood Blue Claws winning both halves of the Sally League’s Northern Division crown. Hickory, by benefit of having the second-best overall record in the division, would claim the wild-card playoff spot.
This morning , the Blue Claws lead the division, with Greensboro 4 1/2 back and Hickory trailing by 5 1/2.
In the race for overall best record after the Blue Claws, Hickory was far ahead of the Grasshoppers with a 71-60 overall record compared to Greensboro’s 65-68.
If the Blue Claws hang on for the second half win, they would battle the Crawdads in Hickory on Sept. 8. The teams would then travel to Lakewood on Sept. 9, and the best-of-three series would resume in Lakewood on Sept. 10. If necessary, a third game would also be played in Lakewood on Sept. 11.
In other news from the Crawdads, the team announced that it has extended its player development contract with the Texas Rangers for another two years.
The Rangers’ minor league organization is rated among the best in professional.