Storm Chasers Repeat As PCL Champions

There is a new dynasty in the Pacific Coast League.

Omaha won its second straight PCL title on Sunday afternoon, when starter Aaron Brooks pitched a complete game two-hit shutout in a 4-0 victory over Reno. Omaha won the best-of-five series, three games to two.

It’s not just two straight for Omaha. The Storm Chasers also won the PCL championship in 2011, giving them three PCL titles in the last four years.

I think we can safely say that Omaha has surpassed Sacramento as the top dynasty in the league right now. Sacramento won the Pacific-North 11 times in 13 seasons from 2000 to 2012, taking four PCL titles during that time. But Sacramento hasn’t made the playoffs in two straight seasons.

Omaha won its first two championships under longtime manager Mike Jirschele, who he was bumped up to the big league coaching staff this season. New manager Brian Poldberg didn’t skip a beat, winning a league championship in his first season as a Triple-A manager.

Brooks was named Most Valuable Player of the series, winning a pair of starts while allowing just two runs in 16 innings. He retired 20 straight batters during his championship-clinching shutout.

Omaha is not done yet. They have one game remaining, the Triple-A National Championship Game on Tuesday night in Charlotte, NC.

It will pit Omaha against the International League champion Pawtucket Red Sox in the one-game cross-league battle.

The game feels kind of like an exhibition after the intensity of the league finals, although of course the players are trying to win it. Omaha will be trying to win it for the second year in a row.

Tuesday’s game will be nationally televised on the NBC Sports Network, with George Grande and Jim Kaat on the call. First pitch is set for 4:00 (Pacific).

The Mariners had a disappointing weekend, dropping games on Saturday and Sunday to Oakland after winning the series opener on Friday night.

The series loss to Oakland – the current leader for AL Wild Card #1 – at least provides some clarity in terms of who the Mariners are chasing. While it is still possible for Seattle to pass Oakland, it is much more reasonable for Seattle to surpass Kansas City and take the AL Wild Card #2 spot.

So it looks like we are anti-Royals for the final two weeks of the season.

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Tuesday’s Triple-A National Championship Game is the final minor league game of 2014. We’ll start looking toward 2015 soon!

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