The Portland Panthers bowed out of the CBL Divisional Series with a 3-1 Game 4 loss to Mahoning Valley this morning. The game hinged on a 2 run 5th inning, Panthers pitcher Pierce Johnson allowed a lead off single to former Panther farm hand Bobby Manning, before walking switch hitter Mike Simmons and allowing both batters to advance into scoring positions on a wild pitch. Both runners scored on successive groundballs.
The Panthers threatened in the bottom of the 5th when Outfielder Pat Fallon made it to 3rd with 0 outs but Scrappers pitcher Cooper was able to strike out Wallace and Barreto before inducing a ground out from John Devine, stranding Fallon.
Luke Maile, in what might be his last game as a Panther, managed to pull back 1 run with a Home Run that travelled 377 feet into the left field bleachers but by that time, Minier had added a 3rd run for MV with a Home Run of his own.
Portland GM Phil Doyle, spoke with media afterwards to thank the fans for their passionate support throughout the 3 playoff games and promised to repeat the playoff experience. “This was our first taste of Playoff Baseball and we loved it, sure we are sorry it had to end here so quickly but when you step inside the locker room and see how much the guys gave… We can ask no more. We have to learn from this experience and come back stronger and more prepared next year.”
Doyle further announced that he would be sitting down with Luke Maile and his representatives to see if a deal can be agreed for next year. Maile who moved into the DH role this year, hit 32 home runs and 111 RBI’s and will be looking for a last big pay day. Doyle said he hoped to be able to announce a deal before the players depart for a well earned end of season break.