Omaha Storm Chasers: Season Review

The Omaha Storm Chasers started the 2014 season as the reigning AAA champions. Not content with such a singular effort, they spent the 2014 season proving that the 2013 season was no fluke. Behind strong pitching and a good mix of speed, power, and hitting ability, the Storm Chasers brought both their thunder and their lightning as they unleashed their destruction upon the rest of the AAA teams.

The Omaha Storm Chasers capped off their 2014 season with a second straight AAA National Championship after defeating the Pawtucket Red Sox 4-2.
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the seventh inning, Brett Hayes came up and put the Storm Chasers in front with a two-run homerun. Hayes' blast ended up being the difference in the game as Omaha never looked back. Hayes' clutch performance helped him claim the game's Most Valuable Player Award.
The Storm Chasers also received a valiant team effort from their pitching staff in the postseason finale. Omaha was forced to send a total of five different pitchers to the mound due to a near two hour rain delay.

Getting back to the AAA title game didn't come easy for Omaha. The Chasers found themselves trying to weather a late season perfect storm, on their road to back-to-back crowns.

In late August Omaha suffered a four game sweep at the hands of the Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks AAA affiliate). In order to get back to a second consecutive National Championship game, Omaha would have to find redemption and get by Reno in a best-of-five Pacific Coast League Championship Series.
Omaha grabbed a win in the PCL Championship Series opener but dropped their next two to Reno, forcing an elimination game for the Storm Chasers. With their backs against the wall, Omaha came out and put on a hitting clinic in game four. They were able to put up 11 runs on 15 hits, including a five run fifth that busted the game open. Omaha's starting pitcher Andy Ferguson picked up the victory, allowing two earned runs and six hits over 5.2 innings in an 11-2 rout.
With a ticket to the National Championship on the line, Aaron Brooks used game five to dazzle the Aces hitters en rout to a complete game two-hit shutout. Brooks' masterful performance fueled Omaha to a 4-0 victory. The Storm Chasers ace finished the postseason 3-0 with an outstanding ERA of 0.75 in 24 innings pitched.
There are a number of individuals who found a tremendous amount of success this season for the Omaha ball club. In fact, a few of them may see significant playing time in a Royals uniform within the next few seasons.

Whit Merrifield won the team's Player of the Year honors after leading the team in batting average in both the regular and postseason with a mark of .340 in both occasions.
Aaron Brooks took team Pitcher of the Year honors largely due to a 12-3 regular season record, complimented with his dominating postseason performance.
Merrifield and Brooks were recognized for their achievements on the field at Kauffman Stadium prior to the Royals September 19 game against the Tigers.

A great deal of Omaha's success this season was found in three big boppers who could bring potential down the road to a Royals lineup that has struggled to hit the long ball. This National Championship roster displayed sluggers such as Carlos Paguero, Matt Fields and Francisco Pena. All of which hit more than 25 homeruns on the season.

Omaha didn't just show that they could hit the ball out of the yard. They caused havoc on the base pads as well. The Storm Chasers finished the season with 147 robberies, which led the Pacific Coast League.
In 2015, the Storm Chasers will look to become the first team in AAA baseball history to win three straight National Championships.

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