Sunday night marked the end of the road for two Los Angeles Dodgers affiliates, as Double-A Tulsa and Rookie-level Ogden came up just short of securing respective Texas League and Pioneer League championships.
In a decisive contest where runs were difficult to come by early on, the Drillers finally cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth via a two-out RBI single by prospect Jeter Downs.
The 21-year-old later provided insurance in the seventh with a two-run home run to give the Drillers a 3-0 lead. With the Drillers a mere six outs away from winning a second consecutive Texas League title, the Amarillo Sod Poodles had different plans.
The San Diego Padres’ affiliate chipped away at the deficit in the top of the eighth, courtesy of a two-out, bases loaded walk by Luis Torrens. The Drillers would escape without any further damage, paving the way for a drama-filled ninth inning.
Clinging onto a slim 3-1 lead, Drillers reliever Nolan Long issued walks to the first two batters he faced. The right-hander then allowed an infield single to Peter Van Gansen that loaded up the bases, still needing three outs to get out of the jam.
That’s when Padres top prospect Taylor Trammell stepped up to the plate and single-handedly changed the outcome with a go-ahead grand slam to give the Sod Poodles a stunning 5-3 lead.
Keeping up their offensive attack, Hudson Potts would add a three-run homer of his own that all but cemented a Texas League Championship for Amarillo. The club would hang on in the bottom of the ninth to indeed deny Tulsa of back-to-back titles for what would’ve been the first time in franchise history.
The Raptors, in their winner-take-all matchup against the Idaho Falls Chukars, fell into an early hole and trailed, 3-0, after three innings of play. The Kansas City Royals affiliate would tack on four more runs in the fifth, extending their lead to a comfortable 7-0.
Needing a quick response, the Raptors did just that by putting up a five-spot in the bottom half of the inning. Still holding onto a 7-5 advantage, the Chukars would answer back with two more runs in the top of the sixth and once again widened the gap.
The Raptors responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning but never got any closer. Idaho scored an insurance run in the seventh and went on for a 10-8 victory.