Congratulations to the El Paso Chihuahuas, your 2016 Pacific Coast League champions.
El Paso locked up the league title on Saturday night, winning a 4-3 decision in 11 innings at Bricktown Ballpark to take the series, three games to one.
The Chihuahuas won when Patrick Kivlehan singled, went first-to-third on a throwing error, and scored on an odd popped-up safety squeeze bunt by Jose Rondon. The pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla tried to make a diving catch of the bunt, but the ball came flying out of his glove – you can see it in the video with this game story.
It’s the first PCL Championship in the brief history of the El Paso Chihuahuas, who completed their third season of existence. It’s the first time a San Diego Padres affiliate has won the PCL crown since 1988, when the Las Vegas Stars won it all.
El Paso isn’t quite done yet. The Chihuahuas play the Triple-A National Championship Game against the International League champion Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders (Yankees) on Tuesday in Memphis. The game starts at 5:05 (Pacific) and is televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
The Mariners Low-A Clinton affiliate lost at Great Lakes in the Midwest League finals on Sunday, ending the minor league season for all M’s affiliates.
The final totals:
- All seven teams reached the playoffs
- Two won league titles (AA-Jackson and R-Arizona)
- Two reached league finals and lost (Low-A Clinton and SS-Everett)
- The seven teams combined to go 451-314, for a .590 wining percentage which led all 30 MLB organizations.
It was a great year on the Mariners farm!
- Here’s the final PCL game story from The Oklahoman, with reaction from several players on the unusual play which allowed the winning run to score.
- The Mariners offense broke out in a win against Houston on Sunday, setting up a huge three-game series with wild card leader Toronto starting tonight. Seattle is two games behind Toronto, which currently holds the No. 2 wild card position.
- The News Tribune’s Mariners Notebook on Sunday totally ruins the Vogelbach family Christmas surprise, and the Notebook from Saturday covers the resurgence of Nori Aoki and the team’s future plans for him.
- John McGrath has an article on the Mariners surprise September ace, Ariel Miranda.
- Wally Backman was a pleasure as Las Vegas 51s manager, according to local columnist Ron Kantowski.
- Here’s a wistful column from the LA Times about the (extremely unlikely) possibility of the Seager brothers playing together.
- Former Rainiers hitting coach Howard Johnson led High Desert to the California League Championship in its final season before contraction. High Desert won the California League in its first and last years of existence (1991 and 2016).