Whitecaps are Midwest League Champs

After one of the most unlikely turn-a-rounds in recent memory, the Whitecaps completed their fairy tale on Sunday afternoon, winning the deciding Game 5, and in turned were crowned champions of the Midwest League. A strong pitching effort from Daniel Zell combined with a big day at the plate from Juan Francia led the Whitecaps to the championship.

Daniel Zell hadn't even been a starter all season, but when it was all on the line, Zell stepped up when he had to.

Zell gave the Whitecaps 6 strong innings, giving up a run on 4 hits, to go with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts.

From there, Anthony Tomey pitched 2 shutout innings of relief, and Chris Homer (despite allowing a threat at the end) closed it out, earning his 5th save of the postseason.

Juan Francia came back strong after struggling mightily in Saturday night's game in which he went 0-for-9. Francia went 3-for-3, including 2 RBI. Vincent Blue and Jason Knoedler also each scored a pair of runs. Knoedler scored the game winner in the 4th, while Blue scored again in the 6th to add a cushion.

The championship marks an incredible comeback for the team, after sitting near the bottom of the division for most of the season. West Michigan's batting order finally came to life, especially in August, and they rode their hot streak all the way through the playoffs.

A great end to a remarkable season for the Whitecaps. And despite the fact that many of the team's members will be moving on to Lakeland in 2005, the 2004 edition of the West Michigan Whitecaps will be one that won't soon be forgotten.

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