AFL Championship Recap
By Jen Nevius
With the game tied at 7-7 in the bottom of the seventh, Salt River broke the game open en route to their 14-7 Arizona Fall League Championship win over Peoria.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Rafters scored seven runs and sent 12 men to the plate. Peoria manager Vance Wilson used four pitchers in that inning, nine total in the game.
Wilson also made sure to use all of his KC Royals players.
Blue Rocks starter Miguel Almonte against Salem on May 12, 2014 (Jen Nevius).
Four of those players started, including pitcher Miguel Almonte. He was inconsistent throughout his four innings of work, much like his 2014 season. Almonte allowed a solo home run in the first to Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario (who went 4-for-5 and fell a triple short of the cycle) and then threw a perfect 2nd inning. In the third, Almonte allowed three more hits and two more runs before throwing a perfect fourth.
All-in-all, Almonte allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk. He struck out seven. The MLB Network announcers repeatedly kept talking about how the Royals wanted Almonte to throw more fastballs, but he definitely did not do that in this game.
The Javelinas fought back to take the lead in the fifth.
The Javelinas scored three runs in the top of the fourth on three solo homers to tie the game at 3-3. Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier got it all started with his blast. Then in the fifth, Justin O’Conner (TB) hit his second home run of the game, a two-run shot, to give the Javelinas a three-run lead.
That was short-lived, as it all went downhill once the bullpen doors opened for Peoria.
Royals right-hander Ali Williams was the first reliever for the Javelinas, and he allowed two runs before he was pulled. He only faced four batters, but threw 21 pitches and allowed three hits. A strikeout was the only out he recorded.
Next up was Royals lefty Daniel Stumpf, who was helped out when the base runner he inherited was thrown out trying to advance to second base on what would have been a passed ball. Stumpf then allowed a single to center.
Stumpf was pulled in favor of Cleveland right-hander Louis Head, who got out of the inning unscathed. The same could not be said for the sixth, when he allowed a two-run home run to tie the game at 7-7.
Then came the seven-run 7th inning, which all started with a one out walk. Atlanta’s Nate Hyatt started and left with the bases loaded. In came Royals lefty Sam Selman, who walked in the go ahead run (after being ahead 0-2). Selman then allowed a two-run single and was pulled in favor of Atlanta’s Brandon Cunniff. He allowed two hits and four runs and walked two before being pulled in favor of St. Louis’ Mitch Harris, who got a line out to FINALLY end the inning.
Dozier went 1-for-3 with the home run and a walk. He also struck out. Raul Mondesi led off for Peoria and went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. He led off the game with an infield single, but was left stranded at first base. Bubba Starling went 1-for-4 with a homer and a strikeout. His home run gave Peoria the short-lived 7-5 lead.