In an effort to save the 2020 baseball season, the Empire League sent two teams to Washington, PA to play two teams fielded by the BlackSox baseball organization. The one month series ended with a two day playoff series to determine a champion.
The regular season series ended on September 25th with the Road Warrior Black Sox taking the number one seed for the two day playoffs.
The Brilliance Sox ended up as the second seed, with the Empire teams the Tupper Lake Riverpigs and Saranac Lake Surge taking third and fourth respectfully.
On Monday, the Brilliance Sox defeated the Tupper Lake Riverpigs in the first game of the series to move on to the championship game.
And in an upset, the fourth seeded Surge defeated the Black Sox in extra innings to advance to the finals.
Tuesday, the Riverpigs defeated the Black Sox in the consolation game to finish the finals in third place.
The championship game between the Brilliance Sox and Surge was a pitchers duel that went into extra innings. After a homerun by the Sox in the first, the game went scoreless until the Surge were able to answer with one run of their own in the 8th. In the end, the Brilliance Sox were able to walk it off in the bottom of the 12th inning to become the 2020 Empire League Series Champions.
Other awards given out at the conclusion of the season included:
In addition, multiple players from the series were able to sign contracts to higher independent leagues for the 2021 season.
Looking ahead to next season, the Empire League is hoping to return to their usual season in the Northeast of the country. The league, which focuses on developing rookie level talent, is looking forward to being able to have a full season again. Check out more information about the Empire League HERE.
The BlackSox will once again be moving ahead with their development of players through exposure events, spring training games and the newly established Yinzer Baseball Confederacy.
This league will consist of 4-6 teams playing 50-60 games at a Frontier League ballpark (at Wildthings Park in Washington, PA) from June-September in front of professional managers and scouts. The Black Sox Organization plans to continue being the feeder system for all of independent baseball.
This season, the league provided 72 opportunities to play among their two teams. Since 2018, the Black Sox have helped promote 188 players.
More information can be found on the Black Sox official website HERE.
On behalf of myself and the players, I would like to give a shout out and thank you to the Washington Wild Things organization for the use of their facilities, Eddie Gonzalez with the Empire League and Joe Torre with the Black Sox for giving these players a safe chance to play baseball during a summer of cancellations and concerns surrounding the pandemic. I know the players will be forever grateful for the opportunities given to them this season.
On a personal note, I would like to thank Eddie and Joe for being so welcoming to me whenever I was at the ballpark.
To the Black Sox boys… many of whom I’ve known for the majority of your careers, congratulations on finishing up this season. I am so proud of you all and love your drive, determination and dedication to the game of baseball. Thank you for always welcoming me in as part of the team. You made an otherwise boring summer a lot of fun. Best of luck in the future! You guys know you always have a home on Indy Ball Island.