Results from the league championship game played Saturday, November 15th.
A big seventh inning by the Rafters broke a tie and sent the Javelinas to a 14-7 defeat in the Arizona Fall League Championship game.
At 7-7 going into the bottom of the seventh, the flood gates opened as Peoria needed four hurlers to navigate the seven-run frame. The Braves’ Nate Hyatt took the loss, yielding three runs on a double and two walks, one intentional, while recording one out.
All three runners crossed under Sam Selman’s (KC) watch, the lefty not retiring anyone while giving up a free pass to force across the tie-breaker plus a two-run single. He got the hook in favor of Brandon Cunniff (ATL), who permitted two bases-on-balls, a single and bases-clearing double with the sacks jammed plus a fly out.
Cunniff’s final walk brought St. Louis’ Mitch Harris into the game. Harris retired his only batter faced on a line out to right to end the ugly frame. Sam Tuivailala replaced Harris in the eighth, recording a one-two-three inning on a swinging K, fly out to left and 5-3 ground out.
Miguel Almonte, the first of nine Javelinas pitchers, struck out seven through four, surrendering three runs, two earned, on four hits and a walk. Almonte exited with the game tied at three all, a circumstance Peoria’s offense changed the very next inning.
Peoria pushed across three in the fifth, two of them on one of the team’s five home runs for the day. Salt River responded with two in their half of the fifth off Ali Williams (KC) to cut the margin to 6-5. Bubba Starling launched a solo shot in the sixth, his only hit in four at bats, but the home team plated two off Luis Head (CLE), knotting the game at 7-7 through six.
Catcher Justin O’Conner (TB) launched two of the five bombs, a solo blast in the fourth plus a two-run long ball the next inning. O’Conner was the only Peoria player with more than one of the team’s eight hits.
Cody Stanley singled once in four at bats, scoring one and knocking in another as the designated hitter and clean-up bat. Breyvic Valera went 0-for-2 with two free passes and touched home once while Jacob Wilson singled once in four at bats. C.J. McElroy was a defensive replacement in left for the home eighth and had one catch behind Tuivailala.
Cardinals reliever Chris Perry and starter Tyrell Jenkins did not appear. Perry’s AFL stint ended earlier in the week due to shoulder soreness. Jenkins’ turn in the rotation would have been next with his final outing having been on Monday.
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