Sox secure second-half pennant

Marrero homers twice, drives in four runs in 14-1 rout of Osprey

(Nati Harnik/AP)

September 1, 2007 10:10 PM ET

Christian Marrero homered twice and drove in four runs as the Great Falls White Sox clinched the Pioneer League North Division second-half title Saturday with a 14-1 thrashing of the Missoula Osprey.

Marrero smacked a solo shot in the second and ripped an RBI single and scored in the fourth. He blasted another solo homer, his 12th, in the fifth and delivered a run-scoring single in the ninth to raise his average to .313.

It was the first multi-homer game for the 21-year-old first baseman, who is 9-for-15 with three homers, eight RBIs and six runs scored over his last three games.

White Sox manager Chris Cron pointed to his team's consistency in all aspects of the game as key to its success.

"These kids have been terrific all year. Whether it's the offense, the defense or the pitching, they've been doing it every night," he said. "When you're that consistent day in and day out, you're going to win a lot of games."

Greg Paiml went 3-for-3 with a two-run homer, his third, Josh Morgan smacked a two-run shot, his fourth, and Matt Inouye and Salvador Sanchez each had two hits and scored twice for the White Sox (22-9), who lead the Pioneer League in batting average, runs scored, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

"These guys work hard every day," Cron continued. "Their moms and dads raised them the right way -- they don't hang their heads when things don't go their way. Myself and the coaching staff, we just let them play and find our spots to teach them."

Great Falls' Aaron Poreda (4-0) allowed a run on three hits without walking a batter and striking out seven over five innings to win his third straight start. The White Sox lead the league in strikeouts, are tied for first in saves and rank second in ERA.

"The pitching has been super all year and the defense has been as solid as I could have asked," Cron said. "I love our chances in the playoffs. I've been in this game for over 20 years and never won a championship as a player or coach. You never know when the opportunity will come along again. It would mean everything."

Peter Clifford, who went 2-for-4, tripled and scored on Andrew Fie's single in the fifth for the Osprey (13-19).

Missoula starter Thomas Layne (4-8) surrendered six runs -- three earned -- on six hits and three walks while fanning six over 3 2/3 frames.

Steve Conley is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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