Emeralds Minor League Daily: Emeralds Win The Title On A Walk-Off Balk!

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Emeralds Minor League Daily: Emeralds Win The Title On A Walk-Off Balk!

Chicago Cubs

That was nuts. All of it, the entire postseason run, but especially the ninth inning. Anyone who thinks baseball is at all predictable on a per game basis should be forced to sit down and watch that inning.

If you missed it… well, I’m sorry about that. But here we go.

Eugene scored in the first, but had been shutout otherwise. They trailed 2-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. They were facing Spokane’s very good closer Emmanuel Close. Pretty much everything he threw the stadium gun had in the very high 90s.

Jonathan Sierra opened with a single. It was Eugene’s first hit since the second inning.

Grant Fennell flied out to right.

Fernando Kelli singled – runners at first and second with one away.

Yonathan Perlaza, making his first appearance in Eugene, pinch hit for catcher Caleb Knight.

Perlaza hit a hard chopper to second and fell down on his way to first. Spokane got Kelli out at second, but never attempted a throw to first. Had the middle infielders looked in that direction it would have been an easy double play and the game would have been over. But it really looked like they gave up on the play before they even attempted it.

Jake Slaughter stepped up as a pinch hitter. Yerlaza promptly stole second unopposed. Yes, Spokane let the winning run reach second without making any effort to stop it. No, I don’t know why.

Slaughter was hit by a pitch. Bases loaded.

Andy Weber worked a full count, then took ball four. Tie game.

Nelson Velazquez stepped up, and the pitcher promptly balked.
Runners advanced.
Perlaza scored.
Game over.
Series over.
Emeralds win.
On a walk-off balk.

It was without question one of the most bizarre game endings I’ve ever seen.

And so the team with the worst record in the Northwest League swept their way through the playoffs, won four of the five games by a score of 3-2, and clinched their second title in three years by means of a walk-off balk.  Baseball.  Gotta love it.

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Eugene 3, Spokane 2
Eugene sweeps the playoffs.

  • Eury Ramos: 4 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 4 K
  • Peyton Remy: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K
  • Fauris Guerrero: 0.2 IP, 1 BB
  • Ethan Roberts: 0.1 IP, 1 BB
  • Nelson Velazquez: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
  • Jonathan Sierra: 1 for 4
  • Fernando Kelli: 2 for 4

Other Notes

  • For the sixth straight year, the Chicago Cubs organization is the home of at least one champsionship team. Kane County in 2013. Daytona in 2014. Myrtle Beach in 2015. Myrtle Beach and Eugene and Chicago in 2016. Arizona in 2017. And now Eugene in 2018 (and maybe one more…). I don’t know what the record is, and I don’t really care. Any organization that produces a championship team at some level in six straight seasons is doing something very right.
  • Since it was Tuesday night, Eugene won the title while wearing their very excellent Monarcas uniforms one last time.
  • Once again, take a look at the work from Eugene’s bullpen. Five innings, no runs. The bullpen was fantastic in every playoff game, and that is a big part of the reason Eugene was able to win five consecutive close games.
  • I don’t know if stadium noise was a factor in The Balk, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Over 2700 fans came out to the stadium, and as the Emeralds mounted their rally you could hear them getting loud over the radio feed.
  • And now let’s hit some videos of the weirdest walkoff you may ever lay eyes on.
  • Starting with the view from the press box of The Balk.

  • And a shot from right behind home plate, featuring the on field celebration.

  • Backing up a few moments, here is the game tying bases loaded walk that set up The Balk.

  • And backing up even earlier, to Eugene’s first run. Nelson Velazquez scored from second when the shortstop couldn’t pick up the ball.

  • And with that, the 2018 Minor League Daily comes to a close. There will be plenty more to say about this farm system over the winter, but for now all eyes turn to Chicago where the Cubs can just hurry up and nail down the division crown already. Thanks for reading, everyone.


Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.