The Auburn Doubledays clinched their sixth straight New York-Penn League Pinckney Division title Saturday with a 7-2 victory over the Jamestown Jammers as Victor Santana and Benjamin Zeskind homered.
"I'm so ecstatic, I'm so excited," Doubledays manager Dennis Holmberg said. "We're living the moment."
After J.P. Arencibia tripled in the sixth inning, Santana belted a two-out, two-run homer, his seventh. Luis Sanchez walked and Zeskind followed with his eighth blast to cap the scoring for Auburn (44-26).
"[That inning] jump-started us a little bit," said Holmberg, whose team overcame an early two-run deficit.
Leance Soto ripped a two-run triple in the second and Darin Mastroianni delivered an RBI groundout in the third to put the Doubledays (44-26) in front.
Reliever Nathan Melek (4-1) won his third straight decision, striking out three and walking one over three hitless frames, before Alan Farina tossed two shutout innings. Auburn starter Luis Perez gave up two runs on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts over four frames.
Holmberg attributed much of the Doubledays' success to pitching.
"We've had a nice pitching staff all year long. We made a lot of adjustments, a lot of improvements," he said. "I just wish we would've had another two weeks to play. ... The season runs out on you."
Auburn is seeking for its outright championship since 1973. The Doubledays shared the title with Oneonta in 1998 after inclement weather left both teams' fields unplayable. They have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in recent history, except in 2005, when they were swept by Staten Island in the Finals.
"Every year has been a different cast of characters," Holmberg said. "This has been a time that's been full of a lot of winners, players that know how to win, players that don't give up.
"They were on a mission to play the very, very best they can [since the start of the season]."
Holmberg is in his 37th year of professional baseball.
"Managers teach, coaches teach. That's what we are, we're teachers," he explained. "We teach as we've learned it. ... You just try to teach them the right way, and I don't know if there is a right way."
Holmberg must be doing something right. He's led his team to the division title every season since taking the helm in 2002. The former Major League manager also remembered Leo Pinckney, for whom the division is named and who died late last year, as a "big mainstay in this community."
Matt Dominguez and Torre Langley drove in the runs for the Jammers (26-43), who fell to 0-6 against Auburn this season.
Jamestown starter Jay Voss (0-7) remained winless after surrendering three runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.