Champions Again!

The Sacramento River Cats made quick work of the Iowa Cubs, sweeping them 3-0 to win the PCL Championship. Find out how they pulled out the win in this edition of the <i>Minor League Notebook</i>...

For the second straight year, the Sacramento River Cats are champions of the Pacific Coast League. The River Cats finished off the 3-0 sweep of the Iowa Cubs with a well-pitched 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs' affiliate. Chris Mabeus, Justin Lehr and Huston Street combined to throw a scoreless 4.1 innings of relief. Mabeus picked up the win for the River Cats and Street nabbed the save. PCL MVP Dan Johnson finished off what could be his only season in the PCL on a strong note, going 4-5. He finished the post-season with a stellar .458 batting average.

The River Cats fell behind early when the Cubs scored two runs on a two-RBI double by Russ Johnson off of starter Britt Reams. However, the River Cats jumped right back ahead when back-to-back walks to Matt Watson and Graham Koonce set up a first and second, one-out situation for Jon Weber in the top of the second inning. Weber, who has spent the year going back and forth between Midland and Sacramento, came up big with a three-run homerun, giving the River Cats a 3-2 lead.

Sacramento extended its advantage to 4-2 when Mike Rivera knocked a pinch-hit, RBI single in the top of the fifth inning, scoring Mike Edwards from third. That run would prove to be the winning run in the game. Reams would allow a solo homerun to the pesky Johnson in the bottom of the 5th, but the Cubs would get no closer then 4-3 the rest of the game, thanks to the stellar River Cats bullpen.

Chris Mabeus went 2.1 innings, striking out four and allowing no hits and no walks. Former Oakland A Justin Lehr made his first PCL championship appearance when he started the bottom of the 8th. He allowed a hit and walk before giving way to Huston Street with two on and two out. Street struck out pinch hitter Adam Greenberg to end that threat. Street then finished the game off with a quiet 9th inning. He induced former major leaguers Trenidad Hubbard and Denny Hocking to fly out. Russ Johnson, who tormented the River Cats all series, singled to keep the game alive. However, Street reared back and struck out Bill Selby to end the game.

The River Cats have continued a remarkable run of success since arriving in Sacramento five years ago. This is their second championship in two years and they have also won three South Division titles since they came to Sacramento.

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