With the MLB World Series wrapping up (Congratulations to the Washington Nationals!), let’s recap the 2019 Independent League Champions throughout the country.
All stories and photos courtesy of the individual team and league’s websites.
Atlantic League – Long Island Ducks
Long Island Ducks Are 2019 Atlantic League Champions
(Sugar Land, Texas., Oct. 6, 2019) – The Long Island Ducks defeated the Sugar Land Skeeters 8-4 on Sunday night at Constellation Field in Game Five of the Atlantic League Championship Series. The Ducks win the best-of-five series three games to two and are the 2019 Atlantic League champions.
This marks Long Island’s fourth Atlantic League Championship in franchise history, joining their 2004, 2012 and 2013 clubs. The Ducks ended 2019, their 20th Anniversary Season, by winning the first and second half Liberty Division titles, the Liberty Division Championship and now the Atlantic League Championship. Long Island’s four Atlantic League titles are second-most in league history.
A bases loaded walk to Hector Sanchez in the first inning gave the Ducks an early 1-0 lead. Denis Phipps tied the game at one in the second with a leadoff solo home run to left field. Long Island went back on top in the third inning on a two-run single to left by Deibinson Romero.
An RBI single to left field by Sanchez and a sacrifice fly to left by Romero increased the Ducks lead to 5-1. Sugar Land scratched across a run in the seventh on a sac fly to center from Cody Stanley. However, the Ducks got the run back in the eighth on Daniel Fields’ sac fly to left.
The Skeeters plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI fielder’s choice from Albert Cordero and a wild pitch that scored Anthony Giansanti. However, a two-out, two-run home run from Romero in the ninth put the game out of reach at 8-4.
Ducks starter Vin Mazzaro (3-0) earned the win, tossing six and one-third innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out three. Skeeters starter Mike Hauschild (0-3) suffered the loss, surrendering five runs on seven hits and five walks over four and one-third innings with two strikeouts.
Romero led the Flock offensively with two hits, five RBIs and a run in the game. He was named the Atlantic League Championship Series Most Valuable Player after finishing the series with a .444 batting average, two home runs, nine RBIs, three runs, eight hits and 15 total bases.
The Ducks will host a celebration for all fans in the Duck Club at Bethpage Ballpark on Tuesday, October 8. Festivities will get underway at 6:30 p.m., and brand new 2019 Atlantic League Championship merchandise will be on sale for the very first time. Stay tuned to LIDucks.com for further information.
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their home games at Bethpage Ballpark. For further information, call (631) 940-DUCK or visit www.liducks.com.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 42 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 22-year history.
For more information, please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.
American Association – St. Paul Saints
LEILA NAVIDI – STAR TRIBUNE The Saints’ Chesny Young holds the American Association championship trophy as the team celebrates the league title
ST. PAUL SAINTS TAKE 2019 AA FINALS
St. Paul 6, Sioux City 3-Box Score
The St. Paul Saints finished off a series sweep of the Sioux City Explorers with a game 3 win in the American Association Finals to earn the 2019 American Association Championship.
The Explorers scored their only runs on a three-run home run by RF James Hazelbakerin the top of the first.
The Saints cut the lead to 3-1 on a solo home run by SS Chris Baker in the bottom of the third. 3B Chesny Young hit a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth to give St. Paul a 5-3 lead. One inning later 1B John Silviano (3-for-4) added an RBI double to bring the game to its final score.
LHP Jordan Jess earned the win after throwing 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. RHP Tanner Kiest pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save.
Saints’ SP Ryan Zimmerman gave up three runs (two earned) in five innings of work while earning a no-decision.
Sioux City’s SP Taylor Jordan allowed four runs in 5.1 innings of work to be tabbed with the loss.
The American Association title is the first in the history of the St. Paul Saints.
Can-Am League – New Jersey Jackals
- The last Can-Am League champions
September 14 Playoff Recap
New Jersey 8, Sussex County 7 – Box Score (Game 4 – New Jersey wins championship, 3-1)
The New Jersey Jackals won their first ever Can-Am League championship as they defeated Sussex County in game four of the title series by the score of 8-7. New Jersey had an 8-2 lead through 3 ½ innings of play before having to hold off a furious rally by the Miners to claim the championship.
The Jackals pounded out 11 hits in the contest with four batters having multi-hit games. New Jersey DH Richard Stock led the way going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Jackals SS Santiago Chirino and CF David Harris each collected a pair of hits and a run while LF Alfredo Marte drove in two runs and went 2-for-5.
New Jersey pitcher Reece Karalus tossed two innings of relief and grabbed his third win of the postseason. Karalus (3-0) allowed an earned run on two hits and struck out two batters. Jackals closer Dylan Brammer threw three shutout innings and notched his fourth save. Brammer fanned four batters and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to end the contest.
For Sussex County in the losing effort, LF Jose Brizuela had a 2-for-5 night with a home run, two runs scored and an RBI.
Frontier League – River City Rascals
The River City Rascals defeated the Florence Freedom 7-5 in Game 5 of the Frontier League Championship Series on Monday night, earning their second league title, and first since 2010. The championship marks the end of the team’s 21-year run in O’Fallon, as they announced in August that they would cease operations at the end of the season. Outfielder LJ Kalawaia was named the FLCS MVP, and hit a key two-run double in a pivotal six-run seventh inning.
The Freedom jumped out to an early start, getting an RBI single from Isaac Benard in the first inning. The Rascals responded with an RBI single from Tanner Murphy in the fourth, before the Freedom regained the lead with a bases-loaded walk in the fifth.
After Ricky Ramirez Jr.’s RBI single in the sixth gave the Freedom a 3-1 lead, the Rascals rattled off six in the seventh, getting an RBI single from James Morisano, Kalawaia’s two-run double, a two-run triple from Kameron Esthay, and a sacrifice fly from Zach Lavy to take a 7-3 lead.
The Freedom were able to rally for two runs in the bottom of the ninth, before Andrew Vernon got Brandon Pugh to pop-up to Lavy at first to seal the victory and earn the save.
Rascals starter Jason Zgardowski allowed two runs over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision, while Anthony Herrera (1-0) earned the win. The Rascals also got two key innings of relief from Taylor Ahearn. Freedom starter Scott Sebald (2-1) took the loss, allowing three earned runs over 6 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts.
United Shore Pro Baseball League
USPBL – Utica Unicorns
Unicorns Capture USPBL Championship
September 8th, 2019
UTICA, Mich. – It was a magical season for the Utica Unicorns, capped off by rallying from four runs down late to defeat the Westside Woolly Mammoths, 6-5, in the United Shore Professional Baseball League Championship Game on Sunday in front of the largest crowd in USPBL history, 4,926. The Unicorns’ Jimmy Latona was named Most Valuable Player after driving in two runs, going 1-for-3.
Right-handed pitcher Nolan Clenney broke the single-season USPBL record with his eighth save of the season, tossing two perfect innings. RHP Luke Dawson earned his first win of the season, throwing a scoreless seventh inning.
The Mammoths sprinted out to a 5-1 lead with two runs in the first inning and third inning. The regular-season champion had the USPBL Pitcher of the Year Matt Cronin on the mound at 7-0, and he tossed 6.1 innings, allowing just three runs in the no decision. The Unicorns got to the Mammoths’ bullpen, scoring three runs in the seventh inning and the winning run in the eighth inning.
On his birthday, Malik Blaise finished 3-for-4 with one run scored. Dan Elliott and Kyle Bonicki each went 2-for-4 for the Unicorns.
Leading the Woolly Mammoths were Sonny Cortez and Dan Williams. Each drove in two runs and Cortez smacked a home run in the first inning.
It was a historic season for the USPBL, with a record 62 sell outs, 259,000 fans and a single-game attendance record on Championship Sunday. Nine players were signed by Major League Baseball organizations and former Unicorns’ pitcher Randy Dobnak became the first-ever major leaguer, pitching nine scoreless innings so far in the MLB and earning a save for the Minnesota Twins.
Pacific Association – San Rafael Pacifics
Jailen Peguero took the mound for San Rafael in the bottom of the seventh on Sunday and didn’t stop pitching until the Pacifics had clinched both the victory and a second consecutive Pacific Association title.
Peguero faced 11 batters, retiring nine of them to earn the three-inning save as San Rafael topped host Sonoma 5-3 in the Game 3 of the Championship Series.
The win allowed San Rafael to defend its title from last season and win its fourth overall Pacific Division title — claiming championships in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019.
Brock Knoten pitched the middle three innings of the game to earn the victory. San Rafael trailed 3-2 when he entered and had tied the game 3-3 when he exited after the sixth inning. The Pacifics scored twice in the top of the seventh, with Ermindo Escobar delivering the go-ahead hit.
Raul Navarro and Yeiler Peguero both had two hits apiece atop the order for the Pacifics. Mike Annone delivered the game-tying hit in the top of the fifth.
Pecos League – Alpine Cowboys
The Alpine Cowboys defeated the Bakersfield Train Robbers to win their second Pecos League championship.
Sam Little hit a game tying home run in the bottom of the ninth. With one strike left before extra innings, Rodney Tennie hit a grounder to third base that got away from Bakersfield’s third baseman allowing Kellen Hatheway to come in and score the winning run for the Cowboys.
Empire League – Plattsburgh Thunderbirds
PLATTSBURGH THUNDERBIRDSD WIN 2019 EMPIRE LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
SARANAC LAKE, NY – The Plattsburgh Thunderbirds have defeated the New Hampshire Wild in the Empire League Championship Series two games to take home the 2019 Empire League Championship.
The Thunderbirds took the lead in game one and never looked back. Chris Tessitore was the Pitcher of the series with 2 wins in the playoffs.
Drake Sykes made Empire League history in the wild card playoffs by hitting a 0-2 count with 2 outs , bases loaded and down by 3 runs hit a Grand Slam to keep the season going for the Thunderbirds.
Chris Tessitore got the win in the Wild Card game and also the win in game 2 of the finals where the Thunderbirds won the championship. Simon Palenchar, Hiroki Itakura and Stephen Octave led the offensive attack for the Thunderbirds.
This Championship is the Thunderbirds 2nd franchise championship in Plattsburgh.