Vancouver needed just two hits to end Eugene's reign as Northwest League champions. The Canadians defeated the Emeralds 2-1 on Tuesday night at Nat Bailey Stadium to win the best-of-five title series 3-1. It was the second consecutive victory for Vancouver by that score. The Ems totaled two runs and eight hits while losing the final two games of the season.
"Tip your hat to Vancouver, they played great," Eugene manager Jesus Feliciano said in a phone interview. "They pitched outstanding and that was the key to the series. Our pitchers did a great job, too, so it was a great series, and it's too bad that it didn't go our way."
Eugene finished the season 42-40, and the Canadians had the best record at 48-34. Vancouver, which had a total of five hits in its final two victories, captured its first title since 2013, and the Ems fell short of repeating as champions for the first time since 1974-75.
"It was a great run," Feliciano said. "We had a lot of ups and downs this year, but the guys got better, and that was our job. I'm proud of them for the way they competed. We've been pushing for the playoffs and all those guys got better. Of course, we wanted to win the championship, but looking back on all that we did, I'm pleased that they never gave up and put on a good show."
Eugene took the lead in the fourth when Michael Cruz led off with a solo homer off reliever Zach Logue.
Vancouver went ahead with two runs in the fifth when Deiferson Barreto walked and Reggie Pruitt singled. Chavez Young moved the runners up on a groundout before Logan Warmoth hit a two-out single.
Those were the only two hits for the Canadians as Eugene starter Jose Albertos allowed two earned runs with five walks and four strikeouts in five innings. Reliever Erich Uelmen tossed two scoreless innings and Jake Steffens pitched a perfect eighth inning.
Vancouver starter Justin Dillon allowed one hit while striking out seven in three scoreless innings. Logue struck out four in three innings before Brayden Bouchey pitched two innings.
Orlando Pascual got the first two outs of the ninth inning and William Ouellette got the final out for his second straight save.
Eugene loaded the bases with one out in the first inning when Zach Davis singled and Austin Filiere and Cruz each walked. Jhonny Bethencourt and Gustavo Polanco both struck out to end the inning.
"We competed and fell short," Feliciano said. "We had our chances and didn't capitalize, especially in the first inning. If we put the ball in play and score a couple runs that would have made a difference but that did not happen. They played hard and we were in the game until the end."
Jose Gonzalez singled to lead off the fifth and was sacrificed to second. Davis, who had two of Eugene's four hits, had a one-out single and Gonzalez was thrown out at home on the play.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.