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Pitching leads ValleyCats to first title09/15/2010 12:48 AM ET
The Tri-City ValleyCats gave up only eight hits to the Brooklyn Cyclones during the New York-Penn League Championship Series.
No small wonder then that the short-season ValleyCats swept to their first franchise crown Tuesday with a 5-1 victory over the Cyclones.
And no small feat, considering that during the season, Brooklyn led the league in batting (.283), homers (64) and hits (713) and were second in runs (405).
"I never would have thought that in my wildest dreams," Tri-City manager Jim Pankovits told The Saratogian.
"I can't say enough about this pitching staff," he added. "Carlos Quevedo, Jake Buchanan, David Martinez, Mike Ness down the stretch, Jorge DeLeon, all those guys who rose to occasion that last six weeks (of the season) and especially in the playoffs. ... This was a collective championship."
Quevedo allowed a run on three hits while fanning seven over seven frames to earn the win. Jorge De Leon followed with a perfect eighth and Mike Ness yielded two hits in a scoreless ninth to seal the victory and the crown.
Even when Cyclones did reach base, the ValleyCats found a way to rescue their pitching staff. Brooklyn's Darrell Ceciliani led off the first with a single, but was thrown out by catcher Chris Wallace while trying to steal second.
Ceciliani doubled in the third and scored the Cyclones' only run on J. B. Brown's own double. Cory Vaughn reached on a throwing error by shortstop Ben Orloff, but Brown was thrown out at home while trying to score from second by first baseman Marcus Nidiffer.
Tri-City pitchers allowed only three batters to reach base after the third.
The ValleyCats collected 11 hits in the finale. Second baseman Enrique Hernandez went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Mike Kvasnicka also went 3-for-4 with a double and Adam Bailey added a two-RBI double.
The franchise previously won a title as the Pittsfield Mets in 1997, but this is Tri-City's first championship since moving to Troy, N.Y., in 2002.
"So many guys made contributions," Pankovits said. "Total team effort."