Cubs' Happ blasts Solar Sox to AFL crown

Chicago's top prospect homers twice to back Covey, Montas on mound

Ian Happ hit .279 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 134 games this season across two levels. (Buck Davidson/MiLB.com)

By Alex Kraft / MiLB.com | November 19, 2016 5:02 PM ET

Even after the World Series, the Cubs keep on winning.

Chicago's top prospect Ian Happ blasted a pair of home runs while falling a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday to help the Mesa Solar Sox top the Surprise Saguaros, 6-1, and win the 25th Arizona Fall League Championship Game. The title is the Solar Sox's first since 2003, when they defeated the Mesa Desert Dogs.

Happ singled to right in the first inning and came around to score one batter later on a three-run homer by fourth-ranked Marlins prospect Brian Anderson that kicked off the scoring. Two innings later, Happ ripped his first homer, a two-run shot over the right-center field fence to put the Solar Sox ahead, 5-0.

The infielder doubled to lead off the fifth and added an insurance run with a solo shot to right-center in the seventh. MLB.com's No. 21 overall prospect equaled his home run total over 19 games during the AFL regular season, and the switch-hitter went deep from both sides of the plate. He finished 4-for-4 with three RBIs and scored three runs.

"First time in my whole life I've done that from both sides," Happ told MLB.com. "I'm normally hacking when I hit from the left side and then go righty, but that was awesome."

The early offense for Mesa made things easy for starter Dylan Covey (1-0). The Oakland's 20 prospect gave up one run on one hit and walked one while fanning three over five innings. The right-hander retired the first 12 batters he faced before issuing a walk to Royals No. 7 prospect Ryan O'Hearn to lead off the fifth. Covey did not allow a hit through 4 1/3 frames.

"It's not quite the atmosphere like a regular-season championship because it's only one game," Covey told MLB.com. "We don't get the chance to maybe lose one and then come back and win two or three in a row. It was a must win, and we got the job done, scored early, gave me a cushion to pitch."

Oakland's No. 10 prospect Frankie Montas -- who combined with Covey on the third no-hitter in AFL history earlier in the month -- delivered three scoreless innings in relief, surrendering one hit and walking one while striking out five.

"It lined up very nice to see Covey and Montas to get the chance to win this clinching game," Solar Sox manager Ryan Christenson said. "They both performed very well, which I was glad to see. It was just a good game."

Rangers No. 20 prospect Jose Trevino singled twice to account for both Saguaros hits, and Mauricio Ramos (Royals) drove in their only run on an RBI groundout in the fifth. While it was a rough day for the team's offense, center fielder Tanner English (Twins) made an impressive diving play to steal a hit from Indians top prospect Bradley Zimmer in the first.

Royals left-hander Eric Stout (0-1) earned the start for Surprise, but ended up on the hook for the loss after allowing three runs and three hits while striking out four over two innings.

Alex Kraft is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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