CaneFires Lose HWL Championship 5-1

The West Oahu Canefires lost the Hawaiian Winter League Championship game on Sunday 5-1 to the Waikiki Beach Boys. Arizona Diamondbacks infield prospect Mark Hallberg collected two hits in the loss, capping a fine winter season for both he and Cyle Hankerd.

The Canefires finished with a better overall record than did the Beach Boys, but after this dominating win, the Beach Boys won the season series 8-4.  Mark Hallberg collected two of the five CaneFire hits, but failed to advance past first base.  Teammate and fellow Diamondbacks prospect Cyle Hankerd went hitless with two strikeouts.

This was Hallberg's 12th multi-hit performance over his past 26 games.  He led the Hawaiian Winter League with 42 hits and tied for second with 24 runs.  His .362 batting average was good for third while his .423 OBP ranked fifth.  This league was a welcome opportunity for Hallberg, who missed over two months of the regular season with an injured hand.  Clearly, he made the most of that opportunity.

Hankerd is something of a comeback story himself.  Once a top prospect, his production plummeted to a .245 batting average, .645 OPS, and just five homers in 436 Double-A at-bats.  Hankerd rebounded by leading the HWL with 30 RBI and tying for second with five homers, three of which (along with nine of those RBI) came in the final three games of the season.  He also finished runner-up in slugging average (.545) and third in OPS (.938).     

Both Hankerd and Hallberg were selected to the HWB 2008 All-League Team.  In addition to that honor, Hankerd was named Offensive Player of the Year and Hallberg got dubbed Most Valuable Player of the league.

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