|© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Owlz outlast Sox to claim title09/15/2007 3:53 AM ET
By Steve Conley / Special to MLB.com
Jay Brossman homered in the top of the 16th inning Friday as the Orem Owlz outlasted the Great Falls White Sox, 3-2, to capture their third Pioneer League championship in four years.
After six straight scoreless innings, Brossman started the 16th by blasting an offering from reliever Adam Bowling (0-1) over the left-field wall to snap a 2-2 tie.
"I knew it was gone as soon as I hit it," said Brossman. "It felt awesome. We were really pumped. The ball bounced our way tonight and they had some chances to score. I guess you gotta get lucky sometimes."
The Owlz, who went 37-39 during the regular season, completed a perfect 4-0 run through the playoffs.
"The pitching was the difference in the playoffs. It's always pitching," Orem manager Tom Kotchman said. "The guys all came up big tonight."
Owlz starter Jordan Walden was brilliant for eight innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits and a walk with a career-high 10 strikeouts."
"Walden was throwing the ball close to 100 mph tonight and went deeper than he'd ever gone in a game," said Kotchman.
"I've never won a championship before and this was just awesome," added Walden. "We got on a little run and squeaked into the playoffs and did what we had to do to win it."
Brian Chambers fanned three over two scoreless frames and Jordan Towns (2-0) picked up the win after giving up two hits and fanning three over four shutout innings.
Mason Tobin yielded a leadoff single to Salvador Sanchez in the 16th, but Jim Gallagher struck out and was called for batter's interference as Sanchez tried to steal second. After White Sox manager Chris Cron was ejected for arguing the call, Christian Marrero singled and Matt Inouye flied out to give the Owlz the title.
"The guys coming out of the bullpen did a great job tonight," Chambers said. "The key was throwing strikes and getting that first guy out. We knew we were going to score a run eventually. It was only a matter of time.
C.J. Retherford belted a solo homer leading off the ninth for the White Sox to force extra innings.
Great Falls right fielder Andrew Mead was ejected in the eighth after being called out on strikes. White Sox catcher John Curtis was also tossed by plate umpire Kyle Byrne after Brossman's homer.
Greg Paiml singled with two outs in the 10th, took second on a wild pitch and was thrown out at home by Orem right fielder Jeremy Moore while trying to score on Retherford's single.
"I had to take the ball on one hop," said Moore. "I just wanted to make an accurate throw and give the catcher a chance. That play really pumped us up.
In the bottom of the 11th, the White Sox loaded the bases with none out on three consecutive singles. Marrero hit a soft liner to shortstop Andrew Romine, who fielded the ball on one hop and fired to catcher Anel De Los Santos, who threw to third to complete a rare double play. Inouye struck out to end the threat.
"It was a soft liner right at me," Romine said. "It was kind of a reaction play. The infield was in, so I knew I was going home with it no matter what. That was a huge play. The baseball gods must have been smiling on us tonight."
Great Falls starter Aaron Poreda scattered four hits while walking two and striking out six over six shutout innings. Henry Mabee and Ronald Morales combined for seven scoreless frames before Bowling allowed a run on one hit with a strikeout in the 16th.
Sanchez and Paiml each collected four hits for the White Sox, who went a league-best 51-24 during the regular season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.