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Emeralds claim 2022 Northwest League crown

Glowenke's 10th-inning homer sends Eugene to back-to-back titles
@Jacob_Resnick
September 17, 2022

At first, it appeared as though Luis Toribio would be the hero. Then, it was Luis Matos. Surely Grant McCray's go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the ninth would seal his place in Emeralds lore. In the end, Jimmy Glowenke stood atop them all. The infielder’s two-run homer in

At first, it appeared as though Luis Toribio would be the hero. Then, it was Luis Matos. Surely Grant McCray's go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the ninth would seal his place in Emeralds lore.

In the end, Jimmy Glowenke stood atop them all. The infielder’s two-run homer in the 10th inning sunk the hearts of the home crowd in Vancouver, BC, securing the Northwest League championship for High-A Eugene, 9-7.

Glowenke’s blast capped a back-and-forth affair in which the Vancouver Canadians, with their backs against the wall down 2-0 in the best-of-five series, fought back against the Emeralds’ every last punch. His knockout blow in extras, ultimately, was too much to overcome.

When Toribio clocked a three-run homer in the top of the fifth, Vancouver was there in the bottom of the frame to even the score. When Matos pushed Eugene in front with a sacrifice fly in the seventh, the Canadians strung together a rally of their own, scoring three and taking a lead into the top of the ninth.

When McCray breathed new life into an Emeralds team that had been pushed to the ropes once again, Vancouver, yes, punched right back. Gabriel Martinez lined a double into right-center in the bottom of the ninth, scoring the tying run and swinging the momentum back in his team’s favor. A win meant two more were necessary, and the fighting spirit on display at Nat Bailey Stadium provided hope.

But that will have to go down as a “what if?” With Vancouver just one out from sending the game to the bottom of the 10th tied, Glowenke, the 23-year-old, deposited Connor Cooke's 1-1 pitch over the left-center field wall. Tyler Myrick had no issues in the bottom of the inning, disregarding the automatic runner on second base to set the Canadians down in order, kicking off the celebration.

For the Emeralds, clubhouse champagne scenes have become somewhat routine. The San Francisco affiliate claimed its second consecutive league title and fourth in the span of six seasons.

With just six teams in the Northwest League, the circuit's first-half and second-half champions bypassed a semifinal round to meet in the finals. Eugene steamrolled the competition in both halves, securing an 81-48 overall record, so Vancouver’s second place finish in the season-long standings cemented the matchup.

The Emeralds did not slow down after the regular season. They took Game 1 by a convincing 10-3 score and held strong in Game 2, winning 6-5. But Game 3 was an appropriate final hurdle to clear before the trophy could be awarded.

It’s to be determined if Glowenke earned himself a statue back in Eugene, but the image of his finger pressed up to his mouth, quieting the Vancouver crowd as he delivered the final striking blow, is sure to live on in Emeralds lore.

Jacob Resnick is an contributor for MiLB.com.