The Omaha Storm Chasers completed their unlikely run through the playoffs Tuesday, and became Triple – A National Champions after defeating the Durham Bulls 2-1 in the National Championship Game.
Omaha starting pitcher Chris Dwyer stole the spotlight, and the championship, from the Bulls with his nearly impeccable performance. Dwyer retired the first 20 batters he faced flawlessly, striking out eight without giving up any walks. He claimed control of the game, and pitching 6.2 perfect innings before ever giving up a hit. Dwyer’s contributions were enough to earn him the right to be named championship MVP.
He took the mound opposed Jake Odorizzi, a former trade piece in the James Shields – Wil Myers bargain. Odorizzi pitched well – throwing five innings, giving up one earned run, striking out eight and walking one – but it was not enough to overcome the defensive presence of his former team. He was felled by the stellar performance of Dwyer, who while striking out the same number of batters, managed to hold the opposition hitless and run-less for nearly seven full innings.
The Storm Chaser began scoring early. With two outs in the second inning, Manny Pina singled to score Lane Adams from second base. They were held run-less for the next three innings until they managed to strike again in the sixth, scoring one run off of a two-out single by Irving Falu.
The Bulls made a push in the eighth inning when Leslie Anderson whacked a pinch-hit home run off of Michael Mariot to come within one. Mariot went on to finish the inning, and proceeded to work his way out of a ninth inning jam, striking out the final batter of the season to close the game for the Omaha Storm Chasers.
With the win, the Storm Chasers cap a 7-1 postseason record, and add to their 70-74 regular season results. This is Omaha’s first Triple – A National Championship.
(Photo credit: Mark Kuhlmann/Omaha Storm Chasers, John Park/MiLB)