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Holmberg, Mobile clinch first-half title06/18/2013 12:23 AM ET
By Jake Seiner / Special to MLB.com
The title was won by the seventh inning, but Mobile continued to pile it on.
Double-A Mississippi's 2-1 loss to Tennessee ensured the BayBears the Southern League South Division first-half title more than midway through their game Monday night, and Mobile added to the celebration by trumping Pensacola, 11-1.
"We had some adversity to overcome early in the season," BayBears manager Andy Green said, referencing the team's 9-13 start. "The guys really responded well to it and bonded well as a team. It's the first step in the journey, and we're thrilled to have locked this up, but we have bigger goals."
Arizona's No. 7 prospect David Holmberg started for Mobile, tossing the second complete game of his career -- a one-hit, one-run effort. The left-hander struck out eight, tying a season high as he went nine innings for the first time since June 3, 2011.
Holmberg's outing was the latest in a run of dominant performances. Over his past three starts, the left-hander has logged 23 innings, allowing two earned runs with 13 strikeouts and just 10 hits allowed.
For the season, Holmberg boasts a 4-3 record and a 2.31 ERA with 58 strikeouts and 24 walks in 89 2/3 innings. He's allowed seven homers and 76 hits in 14 starts.
"He's as composed as any young pitcher you'll ever come across," Green said. "What separates him is his composure. He looked like he was pitching in a church league game tonight, he was so comfortable and confident."
Holmberg and Arizona's No. 2 prospect Archie Bradley have anchored a pitching staff with a 3.01 ERA, the lowest in the Southern League this season. Bradley has a 1.50 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 54 innings in nine starts since being promoted to Double-A earlier in the season.
Offensively, Mobile has been bolstered primarily by veterans Nick Evans, Justin Greene and Dustin Martin. On Monday, the lower half of the order played a bigger role, with Keon Broxton, Garrett Webster and No. 6 prospect Nick Ahmed each contributing two hits with Webster adding a home run.
For Ahmed, the multi-hit effort continued a resurgent month for the slick middle infielder. He's still hitting .173 for the season, but his average is up to .265 in June with a .703 OPS.
"Up to this point, he's been hands down the best defensive shortstop in the league," Green said. "He takes runs off the board every game. He's been as professional in separating the offense and defense as anybody you'll come across at that age. He's been a huge asset to us, and now his bat is starting to come alive."
Tulsa at Springfield (ppd)
Rain might have been a welcome sight for the Drillers. Tulsa was scheduled to play a doubleheader with Springfield with the Texas League North Division first-half title on the line, but inclement weather canceled the games. That gave Tulsa the crown by default with a 34-34 record. The Drillers finished one game ahead of Springfield and Arkansas.