LANCASTER, CA - For the first time in the team's 17-year history, the Lancaster JetHawks are California League champions.
The JetHawks beat the Modesto Nuts, 3-2, on Saturday September 15th in Game 3 of the California League Championship Series to finish off a season that brought the first minor league baseball title to Los Angeles County since the Los Angels won the Pacific Coast League championship in 1956.
A raucous crowd of 2,810 watched on as the JetHawks celebrated and dog-piled on the infield after Kenny Long induced the game ending ground out to first baseman Erik Castro.
Tim Smalling had led off the top of the ninth with a double against Jorge De Leon but the reliever struck out Brett Tanos and got Helder Velazquez to pop out before manager Rodney Linares brought in Long from the bullpen.
Long picked up his second postseason save and finished the playoffs with six scoreless appearances. Colton Cain (1-1) notched the win, holding the Nuts to two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
Delino DeShields Jr. led the JetHawks offense and earned the Series MVP Award for his efforts.
DeShields led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run off Modesto start Jorge De La Rosa who was making his second playoff rehab start for the Nuts.
De La Rosa (0-1) went five innings and allowed three runs while striking out six. DeShields set the table for the JetHawks offense against him again in the third.
The second baseman led off with a single, moved to second on a Jiovanni Mier walk and stole third base to set up a Domingo Santana RBI infield single. Castro followed with a single up the middle to score Mier for the team's third run.
The Nuts scored both their runs in the fourth. Delta Cleary Jr. tripled and scored on a Cain wild pitch. Smalling later tripled with two outs and scored on a Tanos double. That was all for the offense.
Patrick Urckfitz tossed scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh.
Lancaster's first title comes in its third appearance in the Cal League Finals. The team lost to Stockton in 2008 and to Modesto in 2004. It joined the Cal League in 1996 and had not reached the postseason since becoming an Astros affiliate in 2009. Of the six Astros Minor League affiliates they were one of three to make the playoffs and the only to win a title.
Don't miss the exciting 18th season of JetHawks baseball in Lancaster. The 2013 regular season opens in early April and ticket packages are available now. To order, call (661)726-5400 or for more information, check out the official website of the JetHawks at www.JetHawks.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.