Samad Taylor hoists the Bob Freitas Cup after the C’s won their fourth Northwest League championship.
The Vancouver Canadians are the 2017 Northwest League champions as they dethroned the 2016 champion Eugene Emeralds with a 2-1 victory at Nat Bailey Stadium Tuesday night. The C’s won the best-of-five championship series three games to one and their fourth league title since beginning their affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011.
Justin Dillon received the starting assignment for Vancouver and he had trouble settling into the game thanks to a leadoff single from Zach Davies. Dillon struck out Jared Young swinging but then loaded the bases by walking Austin Filiere and Michael Cruz after the latter managed to check his swing on a 3-2 pitch. Dillon would turn the Em’s away by striking out Jhonny Bethencourt and Gustavo Polanco swinging to strand all three baserunners.
Justin Dillon escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning to keep Eugene off the scoreboard.
The second inning saw Dillon strike out the side swinging again as he sat down Miguel Amaya, Jose Gonzalez and Chris Singleton. The righthander would add one more strikeout to his tally to give him seven over three innings.
All the C’s could manage in their first three at-bats were two-out walks by Riley Adams in the second and Reggie Pruitt in the third against 18 year-old Jose Albertos.
Zach Logue struck out four over three innings of one-run relief.
Lefthander Zach Logue entered the game in the fourth to face the left-handed hitting Cruz but Cruz belted a leadoff home run to put Eugene on the board first. Logue would catch Bethencourt and Miguel Amaya looking to prevent further damage.
The C’s got their first runner into scoring position when Brock Lundquist and Adams drew a pair of two-out walks but Albertos struck out Samad Taylor swinging for the third out.
Eugene was poised to add to their lead in the fifth when Jose Gonzalez got on base on an infield single to second despite a valiant effort by Taylor after he tried to throw out Gonzalez after a diving stop. Chris Singleton moved Gonzalez into scoring position on a bunt before Davies bounced one through the left side of the infield for a hit. Gonzalez tried to score but C’s left fielder Norberto Obeso made a strong throw to Adams at the plate to cut down Gonzalez and keep the score at 1-0.
The C’s got their first baserunner with less than two outs when Deiferson Barreto was walked by Alberto. Pruitt then got Vancouver’s first hit of the night when he reached on an infield single to short by jumping on the first pitch. Taylor swung at Alberto’s next offering and wound up grounding out to second but that moved Barreto and Pruitt up 90 feet. Logan Warmoth swung away at Alberto’s first pitch and he used the opposite field with a single to right to score Barreto and Pruitt for Vancouver’s first lead.
Reggie Pruitt jumps for joy in front of Deiferson Barreto as they both scored on a Logan Warmoth base hit in the fifth inning to give Vancouver the lead.
Logan Warmoth heads back to the dugout after his two-run single put the C’s ahead.
Logue walked Filiere to begin the sixth but bounced back with a pair of strikeouts as he exacted revenge on Cruz before catching Bethencourt looking. Erich Uelman relieved Alberto and tossed two clean innings of relief. That effort was matched by Brayden Bouchey as he struck out three of the six batters he faced. Bouchey bailed out his catcher Adams and first baseman Kacy Clemens to start the seventh after the two collided on the scene of a foul pop-up that dropped between them. Clemens had the better vantage point but Adams was about to make the catch when he bumped into the first baseman. Neither player was happy with each other but Bouchey made sure the issue did not linger by retiring Miguel Amaya on a liner to center on the next pitch.
Orlando Pascual got the C’s a little closer to the finish line in the ninth.
Jake Steffens pitched the eighth for Eugene and punctuated his perfect frame by getting Warmoth and Clemens looking at strike three. The C’s brought Orlando Pascual in from the bullpen to begin the ninth along with a new left fielder in Brandon Polizzi. Pascual struck out Cruz and got Bethencourt to foul out to right thanks to a tremendous running catch by Chavez Young who managed to hang on to the ball after tumbling over the short wall. Pascual’s Northwest League All-Star teammate William Ouellete was called upon for the final out and he did not disappoint the 5,288 fans in attendance as he struck out pinch-hitter Will Remillard looking to get the party started.
The C’s managed to win the last two games of this series despite getting just five hits. Only two of them came in Game 4 with Pruitt’s infield single and Warmoth’s two-run knock. Pruitt reached twice by drawing a walk and Adams was aboard twice on ball fours. Lundquist and Barreto walked once. The C’s were just 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position with five men were left on base.
The C’s quintet of hurlers made that one-run lead stand thanks to 16 strikeouts against four hits and three walks. Dillon struck out seven, Logue whiffed four and Bouchey sat down three. Pascual and Ouellette added one apiece. Logue was credited with the win. Bouchey and Pascual earned the holds and Ouellette notched his second save of the postseason.
Radar Gun Rundown
Dillon had strikeouts at 92, 84, 85, 90, 82, 81 and 88 miles per hour. He also threw curve balls at 75, 76 and 79.
Logue recorded whiffs at 93, 78 and 82 among his four punchouts. He touched 96 with one fastball.
Bouchey struck out three with a curveball at 78, a fastball at 88 and another ‘Uncle Charlie’ at 80. Pascual was around 84-91.
C’s Fast Forward
That is it for the 2017 season. No need for a Game 5 whatsoever. As Tommy Lee Jones said near the end of The Fugitive, “You know I’m glad. I need the rest.”
It appears the 2018 season will begin June 15 according to the game story from CanadiansBaseball.com. The schedule should be revealed soon so that’s something to keep an eye out for.
I want to take this little space of the internet to thank C’s broadcaster Rob Fai for extending media privileges to me for another season and media relations assistant Sharlene Canning for helping to arrange player interviews and her hospitality in the press box.
I also want to thank you for reading as well. I’ve appreciated the attention from the families and friends of the players and that has given me lots of encouragement to continue on with this blog.
I also want to thank the players for their likes and retweets of my stories and photos and providing a tremendous season worth of highlights and memories as they brought back the Northwest League championship to YVR for the first time since 2013.
The season may be over but stay tuned and keep checking back as I have plenty of photos to review and other things I will try to get to over the fall and winter months.
Thanks again for reading!