The Mobile BayBears (AA Southern) and the South Bend Silver Hawks (A Midwest) recently concluded their league championship rounds. For Mobile, it was a chance to capture their third consecutive title, a feat done only by the Montgomery Rebels from 1975 through 1977. However, both teams came up short in their respective series which left the cupboard bare for the Minor League affiliates of the Arizona Diamondbacks after three of their organizations took home crowns in 2012.
After falling behind two games to none in their best of five series against the Birmingham Barons, Mobile used the strong pitching of Andrew Chafin to get back into the series. Chafin tossed a six hit shutout, walking only two batters as the BayBears won Game Three, 6-0. Another strong effort from the mound, this time by Bo Schultz and Jake Barrett resulted in a 3-1 victory in Game Four setting up the series finale on Sunday. Alas, the BayBears’ hopes for a third title fell two runs short as Birmingham’s three run second inning stood up as the Barons took Game Five and the Southern League title by a score of 4-2.
The Midwest League series did not provide the same drama. The Quad Cities River Bandits took three straight games from South Bend to win the tenth title in franchise history. Starting pitcher Braden Shipley had a fine Game One with 6 2/3 innings allowing only two runs and the bullpen pitched well enough to give South Bend a chance in each game. However, the bats were mostly silent as the Bandits’ staff allowed only four runs in three games. On the bright side, third baseman Brandon Drury hit .333 for the playoff run.
Although Mobile and South Bend fell short, both teams had tremendous seasons. These future D-Backs have proven why executives around Major League Baseball are high on the Arizona farm system.