Apostel leads Indians to NWL Finals

Rangers prospect goes 3-for-3, plates two in semifinal clincher

Sherten Apostel hit .351/.459/.929 in 12 games after joining Spokane for its playoff push. (James Snook/Spokane Indians)

By Josh Horton / MiLB.com | September 7, 2018 8:10 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- For most of the season, Sherten Apostel wasn't a member of the Spokane Indians, let alone in the Texas organization. 

On Friday, however, he was the big reason Spokane is moving on to the Northwest League Championship Series. 

The Rangers prospect went 3-for-3 with two crucial RBIs as the Indians edged Everett, 5-4, in the decisive third game of the North Division Finals on Friday at Avista Stadium. Spokane will play for the title for the first time since 2010, facing Eugene in the best-of-5 Finals. 

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"I've never been in a playoff series before, so it's nice in my first year since being traded to be in the playoff with Texas," Apostel said. "It's been pretty nice to me." 

After Rangers No. 3 prospect Julio Pablo Martinez homered into the parking beyond the right field fence in the first inning, Apostel lined a two-out single to right to score Jax Biggers from second in the third. He provided insurance with an RBI single to left in the seventh that extended Spokane's lead to 3-0.

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A native of Curacao, Apostel was shipped to the Rangers organization on Aug. 17 in the trade that sent Keone Kela to the Pirates. The 6-foot-4 third baseman was a significant contributor down the stretch for Spokane. 

"He's awesome," Indians manager Kenny Holmberg said. "He provides protection to our three and four hitters and he lengthens that lineup. ... You look at him and he's a physical dude and can really time up a fastball, and he recognizes pitches well. The most important thing that he does as a hitter is he uses the whole field." 

Like many players from Curacao, former Braves center fielder Andruw Jones was his baseball idol growing up. But a current Brave, Ozzie Albies, has made the biggest impact on him since he and Apostel grew up in the same neighborhood in Willemstad and played on a few of the same teams.

Apostel said Albies helped him prepare for life as a Minor Leaguer. 

"He talked to me and [told] me what to expect and stuff like that and I really appreciate it," Apostel said. 

Spokane added two runs in the seventh as Tanner Gardner scored Curtis Terry with a groundout and Diosbel Arias swiped home on a double steal. 

Those insurance runs came in handy as Mariners No. 13 prospect Cal Raleigh clubbed a two-run homer in the eighth off Wes Robertson and Jansiel Rivera whacked a two-run shot to left-center in the ninth off Emmanuel Clase. Matt Sanders made it to second after he reached on an infield single and Biggers' throw was wide of first baseman Hasuan Viera, but Mariners No. 7 prospect Josh Stowers flied to right to end the inning. 

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Chi Chi Gonzalez (1-0), making his second rehab start with the Indians as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, scattered four hits over five scoreless innings to earn the win. The Rangers right-hander didn't post a strike out, walked one and recorded eight outs on the ground. 

Everett's Jheyson Caraballo surrendered two runs on four hits over three frames. 

The Indians will play Eugene in the best-of-5 Finals after the Emeralds swept Hillsboro. Because of a weekend conflict with the Spokane County Fair, Eugene will host all five games, starting Sunday. 

Josh Horton is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @joshhortonMiLB This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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