West Virginia Powers Way to 2nd-Half Title

The West Virginia Power clinched the second-half title in the SAL's Northern Division on Friday night, making it the only Milwaukee farm system franchise to qualify for the postseason this year after five teams did it in 2007.

West Virginia had to play two games Friday night, but the most important about the No. 2 was that it was the team's magic number.

The Power rallied from a 6-3 fifth-inning deficit and then scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to claim an 8-7 victory over Kannapolis. But the second game didn't matter because Lakewood dropped its contest to Hagerstown, clinching the South Atlantic League's Northern Division second-half title for West Virginia, giving the team its second consecutive playoff berth.

And West Virginia's triumph was all the more sweet because Curt Rindal's two-run single with the bases loaded and two outs won the game and eventually gave the hosts the title.

In 2007, five of Milwaukee's six minor league franchises qualified for the postseason. However, starting Wednesday, West Virginia will be the lone representative because of its hot second half.

Even though the Power have three games remaining against Kannapolis, they can relax during the Labor Day holiday knowing that their season isn't over yet.

West Virginia's second season begins with a three-game series against first-half winner Lake County. The opener is scheduled at home Wednesday, while games two and three—if necessary—will be in Eastlake, Ohio, on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 5-6.

The Captains won the first-half title with a 41-29 mark, 8.5 games ahead of West Virginia (32-37).

Should the Power prevail, they would face the Southern Division winner, either first-half champion Asheville or second-half champ Augusta for the marbles.

The championship series schedule, a best-of-five, would put the Power on the road for games one and two Sept. 8-9. The remainder of the series would be at West Virginia from Sept. 11-13.

Sounds end disappointing season

Nashville, which had won the last three American North Division titles and posted the best record in the Pacific Coast League last year, ended their campaign with an 11-10 loss at New Orleans on Friday night.

The final three contests of the scheduled four-game series have been cancelled due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Gustav.

That left the Sounds with a woeful 59-81 record, fourth and last place in the four-team division, unless Omaha loses all three of its remaining games at first-place Iowa. If the Royals win once, they and Nashville would finish in a virtual tie.

That means a long off-season for most of the players, although several could be getting a call to Milwaukee as the major league rosters expand starting Monday.

Of the batters who played in more than 50 games, infielder Chris Woodward led the way with a .291 average. First baseman Brad Nelson led in games with 132, runs with 78, hits with 136, doubles with 36, RBIs with 78, total bases with 228 and batted .286.

Brendan Katin topped the team with 19 homers to Nelson's 18, although Laynce Nix had 23 before the Brewers called him up about two weeks ago. Tony Gwynn, who hit .275, beat Hernan Iribarren (.277) by one, 20-19, for the stolen base lead.

As for pitching, Sam Narron (9-4) registered the most wins, while Lindsay Gulin recorded seven and Chris Narveson, Richie Gardner and Tim Dillard finished with six apiece.

Narveson and Gulin were first and second with 125 and 120 strikeouts, respectively. Meanwhile, Gulin led those with more than 75 innings pitched with a 3.54 ERA. Dillard finished 6-1 and 1.99 and Mark DiFelice ended up 5-1 and 3.22, and both could warrant another trip to Miller Park.

Relievers Joe Bateman (1.60) and Mitch Stetter (2.48) could warrant consideration, and Stetter will no doubt be back with the big-league club because he's a lefty that the Brewers sorely lack in their bullpen.

Closer Luis Pena slumped badly in the second half and finished with 15 saves and a 6 6.93 ERA. He struck out 49 in 49.1 innings but also walked 47.

Brevard County's Green makes All-Star team

Manatees' third baseman Taylor Green was named the utility infielder on the Florida State League's postseason All-Star squad.

Green was among the league leaders in several offensive categories and with only a couple of games left in the season was topping Brevard County in homers, RBIs, on-base percentage and had a .289 average.

Green was Milwaukee's minor league system player of the year in 2007 for his work at West Virginia, where he batted .327 with 14 homers and 86 RBIs in 111 games.

Stars named to Southern League All-Star squad

Despite its disappointing second-half slide, Huntsville, which lost the first-half title in a playoff, grabbed several spots on the league's postseason All-Star team.

And having the Southern League's top offense is what made the difference: catcher Angel Salome, the loop's top hitter, third baseman Mat Gamel (since promoted to Nashville), shortstop Alcides Escobar and outfielder Michael Brantley made the coveted squad.

Two Helena players named All-Stars

Helena first baseman Brock Kjeldgaard and outfielder Erik Komatsu have been named to the Pioneer League's postseason All-Star team.

The Brewers, whose season ends Sunday, slipped in the second half but it wasn't because of these two.

Kjeldgaard was leading the team in homers (14) and RBIs (59) and had a .287 average, while Komatsu topped Helena hitters with a .336 average with 11 long balls and 45 RBIs.

Arizona rookie league team's season ends

Mercifully, the Brewers' season ended Saturday as they absorbed a 14-4 defeat against the Rangers.

Milwaukee's entrant finished in last place in both halves, starting 6-22 and then going 7-20 for a combined 13-42 record.

Among those who played in at least 25 games, catcher Shawn Zarraga led the way with a .300 batting average. Shortstop Miguel Vasquez was next at .299 with 17 RBIs and a .494 slugging percentage before heading to Helena.

Four hurlers tied for the lead with two victories. Of those who worked at least 20 innings, Damon Krestalude led with a 3.15 ERA.

Two of Milwaukee's top prospects, Jacob Odorizzi and Seth Lintz, had their ups and downs. Odorizzi finished with a 1-2 mark and 3.48 ERA, striking out 19 and walking nine in 20.2 innings. Lintz stumbled after not allowing an earned run in his first three outings. He allowed 14 earned runs in 18.1 innings (6.87), but they all came in four of his nine outings.


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