Andy Green found out that his team clinched the Southern League South Division first-half title in the sixth inning Friday night. Locked in an uphill battle with Pensacola, the Mobile manager kept the good news to himself.
"I told them not to make an announcement on the loudspeaker," he said. "My guys fought too hard in this game for me to take anything away from them. We gave them everything."
Trailing by eight runs in the second inning, BayBears kept battling, just like they had throughout the first half. At the end of the night, the scoreboard at Hank Aaron Stadium read 14-13 in favor of Pensacola, but Green didn't feel like his team lost.
"It was my favorite game of the half, even though we came up short, because it showed my guys' heart," he said. "This is a team that is pretty resilient, never saw them hang their heads or give up."
With second-place Mississippi falling earlier in the night, the D-backs' Double-A affiliate came away with its fourth title in the last six halves. It's the seventh time since 2010 that Mobile has finished second or better in the South Division.
"Last year we won both halves, [so] there's no point in time when you relapse the effort," Green said. "Who knows how to win on a consistent basis -- more guys will be promoted to Triple-A and there will be guys who aren't with us now who will be with us at the end. We just continue to pour everything into players' development -- that is our focus."
Led by D-backs No. 6 prospect Jake Lamb, the BayBears (41-26) top the circuit in runs (330), homers (54), RBI (312), doubles (192), total bases (904), slugging percentage (.409) and OPS (.749). Mobile also boasts a league-best 3.07 ERA.
"It's a good group of guys who have a lot of character and high level of talent," Green said. "Our bullpen's been great, we've sent guys to the Majors like Chase Anderson, who is 5-0 and starting for Arizona [on Friday]. David Peralta is in the big leagues now and guys have been promoted to Triple-A."
In other clinching action:
Corpus Christi 4, Frisco 3
Second-place Midland lost earlier to crown Double-A Frisco the South Division first-half champions, and the RoughRiders appeared ready to celebrate when Rangers No. 4 prospect Joey Gallo blasted his Minor League-leading 25th homer to open a 3-2 eighth-inning lead at Corpus Christi.
But Leo Heras homered with one out in the ninth to force extra innings and Rene Garcia raced home with the winning run on a wild pitch in the 11th.
Frisco second baseman Odubel Herrera went 3-for-4 for his 18th multi-hit game of the season. Gameday box score