West Michigan 11 at Beloit 5
W: L. Marte (1-0, 0.90); L: D. Leatherman (0-1, 0.00)
E: Parmelee 2 (2, fielding, fielding), Romero (2, fielding), Benson (1, missed catch), Singleton (1, throw), Santiesteban (1, fielding).
Had the Snappers gone into the playoffs confident in all 5 starters in their pitching rotation, it might have been a different story. But after Brian Kirwan posted a 2-8 record and a 5.30 earned run average in the 2nd half of the regular season, Beloit manager Jeff Smith opted not to give the ball to Kirwan and instead went with Alex Burnett on short rest.
West Michigan took advantage of that situation in the first inning putting Scott Sizemore and Brennan Boesch on the bags on a pair of singles and with Sizemore scoring on an error by right fielder Chris Parmelee. A wild pitch by Burnett saw Boesch to 3rd, and a Jordan Newton single plated him, giving the Whitecaps a 2 run lead in the first inning.
Michael Bertram tripled in the 2nd and came home on a Gorkys Hernandez sac-fly to extend the lead. Burnett would only last 3 innings, allowing 5 hits while striking out 2.
The Snappers bats woke up in the bottom of the 3rd. A Joe Benson triple got the team fired up. Steve Singleton was plunked by a pitch and Deibinson Romero singled out to left to bring Benson in. Chris Parmelee drew a walk to load the bases. Greg Yersich tripled them in before the Whitecaps put Luis Marte on the mound. Danny Santiesteban hit a line drive to center to plate Yersich, and moved to second on a fielding error before by stranded when Garrett Olson struck out.
Beloit gave the ball to Dan Leatherman in the 4th inning, who went three-up, three-down. The fifth however did not go as planned.
Audy Ciriaco reached on Romero fielding error, then stole second and advanced to 3rd on a missed catch by Benson. James Skelton walked, and then Sizemore singled to bring Ciriaco home before Leatherman would be replaced by Jose Lugo.
Boesch drew a walk and Lugo got Laster to strike out swinging. Jordan Newton singled, our to second and Steve Singleton took Boesch out at 2nd. A Ryan Strieby single scored Skelton and Sizemore, aided by Singleton's throwing error. Michael Bertram singled in another pair and Gorkys Hernandez hit a ground ball out to right before Danny Vais was brought in.
The bleeding didn't stop however, as singles to Ciriaco and Skelton and fielding errors by Parmelee and Santiesteban saw the Whitecaps tack on 3 more runs to give them a six run advantage in the game.
After that, the Snappers never even threatened in the game.
Leatherman would be tagged with the lose, giving up 3 runs - all inherited runners and none of them earned. Lugo was charged with 4 runs (3 earned) on 4 hits and 1 walks in .2 innings.
Marte would work 5 innings for the Whitecaps, picking up the win and striking out 9.
This is the 2nd straight Midwest League title for the Tiger's farm team. While the Snappers lost, they fought a good battle, coming back from 2 games down to force the 5th game in the series.
Most of the Snappers will head home, but a few will be flying straight to Fort Myers for the start of Fall Instructional League. Burnett, Cole Devries, Brian Kirwan, Henry Reyes, Tyler Robertson and Anthony Slama will all be on the mound for Instructional League, while Greg Yersich will be in to handle some of the work behind the plate.
Last year's first round pick Chris Parmelee and second rounder Joe Benson will also be in for instructs, as well as Deibinson Romero to provide some batting power.
Www.miraclefans.com will carry limited coverage of instructional league, plus we'll see how some of the Miracle of seasons past are doing the Arizona Fall League which starts on Tuesday, October 9th.
Also check back for a look at the players that will make of your 2008 Fort Myers Miracle.
The Richmond Braves won its first International League title since 1994 with a 7-2 victory over Durham on Saturday as Doug Clark hit an early three-run homer. The Braves swept a double header at The Diamond to come back from a 2-1 deficit to win the Governers' Cup. MiLB.com
In Akron, the corks popped in the visitors' locker room as the Trenton Thunder won their first Eastern League title in the franchise 14-year history. Matt Carson and Cody Ehlers were both 4-for-5 at the plate for the thunders with Carson getting 3 runs and Ehlers 2 and the pair accounting for 4 runs in the Thunder's 10-5 win over the Aeros.
Daniel McCutchen picked up the win for the Yankees farm. The former Tampa pitcher had an 11-2, 2.50 era record in the FSL earlier this season, and was 3-2 with a 2.41 era record upon his promotion to the Eastern League. MiLB.com
Congratulations to all the teams that have won Championships this season:
AZL: AZL Mariners
GCL: GCL Yankees
Appy League: Elizabethton Twins
Pioneer League: Orem Owlz
NY-Penn League: Auburn Doubledays
NWLeague: Salem-Keizer Volcanos
MWL: West Michigan Whitecaps
Sally League: Columbus Catfish
FSL Champions: Clearwater Threshers
Carolina League: Freedrick Keys
EL: Trenton Thunder
Texas League: San Antonio Missions
PCL Champions: Sacrament River Cats
IL: Richmond Braves
The Southern League Championship will be determined on Sunday, after the Huntsville Stars topped the Montgomery Biscuits 4-1 Saturday night to force a fifth game.
The San Jose Giants blanked the Lake Elsinore Storm 2-3 to avoid being sweep in the California League playoffs.