Lexington Legends

Legends control postseason fate, but freak accident ends star’s season

Lexington’s MJ Melendez had a three-run home run in the Legends’ 10-6 loss to the Hagerstown Suns on Sunday.
Lexington’s MJ Melendez had a three-run home run in the Legends’ 10-6 loss to the Hagerstown Suns on Sunday. Lexington Legends

The Hagerstown Suns jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-run home run by Anderson Franco and went on to knock off the Lexington Legends 10-6 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark on Sunday, earning a split in the four-game series.

The Legends got within 4-3 in the bottom of the third on M.J. Melendez’s 17th homer of the year, a three-run shot to right field that scored Ricky Aracena and Brewer Hicklen, but the Suns responded with four runs in the fourth inning, aided by a pair of Lexington errors.

Despite the loss, the Legends remain alone atop the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division second half standings with eight games left in the regular season, putting them in control of their own fate as they seek to secure the team’s first playoff berth since 2006. The Legends were two games ahead of the Greenville Drive after Sunday’s games.

After hosting the last-place Augusta GreenJackets for four games beginning at 7:05 p.m. Monday, the Legends will finish the regular season with a four-game series at Greenville.

The eventual winner of the SAL Southern Division will face the Rome Braves, who won the first-half race, in a three-game playoff series beginning Sept. 5. Should the Legends hold on to win the division they would host game one and travel to Rome for the second and, if necessary, third games with a spot in the South Atlantic League championship series on the line.

Now for the bad news.

The Legends will have to finish off their run at the playoffs without the help of breakout star Seuly Matias. Considered the No. 3 prospect in the Kansas City Royals’ organization, the 19-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic hit 31 home runs in 94 games this season, his first with the Legends.

But Matias’ season is over. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reported Saturday that Matias is being shut down after a non-playing injury. Flanagan reported that Matias suffered a deep laceration to his right thumb when he caught it on the cargo door of the Legends’ bus while loading his luggage.