It's difficult to win a championship with just prospects and it's hard to have just veterans who might find themselves called up to the Majors at a moment's notice. What the Dodgers have done with their Triple-A team is combined to great effect.
And as a result, Oklahoma City defeated Iowa, 11-3, on Wednesday to wrap up the Pacific Coast League American North Division.
Andy Wilkins launched a pair of homers -- a three-run shot to left-center field in the first inning and a solo blast to right in the fourth as the Dodgers scored 10 times in the first four innings. Corey Seager added a two-RBI double to right and Chris Heisey brought home Seager with a two-run long ball in the fourth. In short, the Dodgers were off to the races early.
"It was relaxed," Oklahoma City coach Johnny Washington said of the atmosphere prior to the game. "They understood what needed to be accomplished today and they came out ready to play.
"I think every at-bat was a big at-bat today leading up to the victory. Wilkins played a big part in it, Heisey played a big part, I think it was a collective effort by the group."
The 84th win also marked a franchise record for Oklahoma City with five games remaining in the regular season.
"I think it's a great accomplishment," Washington said. "It's always good to win whether it's home or on the road. First year with the Dodgers here, [manager] Damon [Berryhill] was excited, [hitting coach] Franklin [Stubbs] was excited, it was a collective effort by everyone."
With a blend of veterans such as Wilkins, Heisey and Darwin Barney and prospects Seager and Zach Lee, the Dodgers have been strong in their first season affiliated with Oklahoma City. For top Dodgers prospect Seager and No. 17 Lee, those veterans have helped them experience the success that they hope to achieve at the big-league level.
"I think winning at any level is beneficial for the kids' development," Washington said. "Winning at any level is winning. All of us are in the same boat. Winning is fun and we all like to win."
A night after the team played a 19-inning game in the opener of a doubleheader, Erik Surkamp (9-3) allowed three runs on nine hits while fanning seven and walking two over eight innings to give the bullpen a much-needed night off.
"He was awesome," Washington said. "He pitched a great game. He and the pitching coach, Scott Radinsky, came out with a game plan and Erik executed pitches and the defense made plays behind him."
Ralston Cash gave up two hits and walked one while striking out two to close out the victory.