OKLAHOMA CITY -- Scott Hairston didn't think his situation could have gotten much better after receiving word that he was headed to the big leagues after the Bricktown Showdown.
Though there was still the Triple-A title game to be played Tuesday night, the Texas native said he would have no trouble focusing on helping the Tucson Sidewinders and the Pacific Coast League in the inaugural event against the International League's Toledo Mud Hens.
After all, he already had a brief stay with the Diamondbacks this season and spent most of 2004 with them.
Not even Hairston, however, could have predicted what would happen at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark once he and the Sidewinders took the field. Not only did Tucson make history by claiming the first Bricktown title, Hairston walked away with the game's Most Valuable Player Award, as voted on by the media, after going 2-for-4 and driving in the game's first run.
Juan Brito hit the go-ahead homer and Micah Owings earned the win with five solid innings, but it was Hairston who was singled out in the postgame celebration.
"I was stunned, overwhelmed," Hairston said. "It could have been Matt Erickson [two RBIs] or Juan. A lot of these guys came through in the end. But I will accept this award on behalf of our team. It's sweet to end [the season] this way.
"This is my first MVP. It's very special. I will always look at this trophy and think of this team. They all came through when they had to. I've never been part of anything like this before."
Donnie Sadler led off the top of the first with a triple, sending Eulogio De La Cruz's offering deep to center field. After Jon Weber popped to short, Hairston lofted a fly ball to deep center, scoring Sadler. He almost gave Tucson a two-run cushion in the third, when he lined a two-out double into the left-field corner.
Weber, who had singled, tried to score from first, but was thrown out at the plate as shortstop Brent Dlugach took Ryan Raburn's throw from left and fired a perfect strike to Max St-Pierre at the plate. Hairston also singled in the sixth.
Hairston hit .323 in 98 games for the Sidewinders with a career-high 26 homers and 81 RBIs. He was also 3-for-6 with an RBI in three games for the D'Backs. A third-round pick in 2001 out of junior college, Hairston has played in the shadow of Arizona's high-profile prospects, Stephen Drew and Carlos Quentin.
After putting together a big effort Tuesday night, Hairston may have played his way into a bigger role with Arizona next season. He'll start by using the final two weeks of the Major League season as an audition. But it'll be difficult to top how he ended his Minor League year.
"It's been a great day," he said. "This couldn't end any better. I'm proud to be on this team. I've learned a lot from these guys about never giving up. We have the character of a championship team. The manager [Chip Hale] made us realize that a game is never over, and that's something I won't forget.
"I've been through a lot with the Diamondbacks, so I had to learn to separate each day. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in this game, so we were going to treat it as if it's as important as our last game in Round Rock [in the PCL Championship Series]."
That approach certainly helped Hairston, who proved that just when you think something can't get any better, sometimes it does.