The Bisons' 2017 season came to a close on Monday afternoon with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Syracuse from NBT Bank Stadium. Anthony Alford's throw from right field beat Chief's catcher Jhonatan Solano to the plate, and when Danny Jansen applied the tag, the year came to a close on a winning note for the Herd.
The Blue Jays' #3 prospect by MLB.com, Alford charged hard on a sharp two-out single by Irving Falu off Buffalo reliever Mike Bolsinger. Solano, who had doubled in the previous at-bat to keep his team's chances alive, was running on contact with two outs. But Alford's throw was perfect, and the final out of 2017 season was made in dramatic fashion.
The finale of the season gave Bisons' MVP Roemon Fields one last chance to add to his impressive totals. Getting the start as designated hitter, Fields added one last steal to his now modern era record stolen base total of 43. He also had three hits, finishing his first full season at Triple-A with a .291 average that lead the Herd and ranked in the Top 10 in the International League.
Fields displayed both those talents to give the Bisons the lead in the seventh inning. With one out, the speedster beat out an infield single and then picked up his final stolen base of the year. Dwight Smith Jr. followed with his second RBI-hit of the game to put Buffalo up 3-2.
Like the final play, Buffalo's first run of the game in the fourth inning could prove to be a glimpse into the future for Bisons' fan. Alford clubbed his first Triple-A double and scored on a single from Jansen. Alford had a hit in all three games he played with the Bisons in September, while Jansen averaged.328 average in 21 contests after his late season promotion.
Down 2-1 in the fifth, a Fields single and Smith Jr. double knotted the score at two.
Sixty-eight different players appeared in a game for the Bisons this season. The 68th was righty Jared Carkuff, who made the leap all the way from Single-A Lansing to make his Triple-A debut on Monday. He retired the first eight batters he faced and worked a total of 3.1 innings of relief for the win. Bolsinger worked the ninth for his only save of the season.
The Bisons will now have to wait 214 days to take the field again on Opening Day 2018, Friday, April 6 in Rochester. The club's Home Opener at Coca-Cola Field is Thursday, April 12 against the Indianapolis Indians.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.