Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game

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Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game logo

The Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game, previously known as the Bricktown Showdown, is a single championship game held annually between the league champions of the International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL) Triple-A leagues of minor league baseball to determine an overall champion of class Triple-A baseball. From 2006 to 2010, it was held annually at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. From 2011, the game will be hosted by a different Triple-A city each year.

History[edit]

Bricktown Showdown logo (2006–2008)

On July 12, 2006, a press release was issued with the announcement of a single championship game to determine an overall league champion of Triple-A's International League and Pacific Coast League.[1] It was planned to take place at Oklahoma City's AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, hence the name Bricktown Showdown; it would also be broadcast on ESPN2.

This championship game was the first time since the Las Vegas Triple-A World Series (1998–2000) that the IL and PCL would meet to determine a Triple-A champion. A previous World Series was also held in 1983 and also included the now defunct American Association (AA). Prior to this, the IL and AA (excluding the PCL) held a series of championships between the two leagues, called the Triple-A Classic (1988–1991) and also the Little World Series or Junior World Series (1905–1975).

The goal was for the Bricktown Showdown to develop and prosper like the Triple-A All-Star Game did since its inception in 1987. The Showdown was only approved as a one-time meeting by Major League Baseball. Following the inaugural event's success, subsequent meetings were planned for 2007 and 2008.[2]

In August 2009, the game was rebranded as the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game. This was done in part to increase the event's national appeal.[3]

Beginning with the 2011 contest, the game will be held in a different Triple-A city each year.[4] The first city to host in this new format will be Albuquerque, New Mexico, home of the Albuquerque Isotopes. The 2012 game was held at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the Durham Bulls. The 2013 game will be hosted by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Structure[edit]

The championship consists of a single nine-inning game to determine a champion. Which team will serve as the home team is determined by the outcome of the Triple-A All-Star Game; the team from the winning league is designated as the home team.

Bricktown Showdowns[edit]

2006[edit]

Bricktown Showdown
September 19, 2006
International League:
Toledo Mud Hens

(Detroit Tigers)
Pacific Coast League:
Tucson Sidewinders

(Arizona Diamondbacks)
Final Score
Tucson def. Toledo, (5–2)
MVP
Scott Hairston
OF, Tucson, (.500, 1 RBI)

The International League defeated the Pacific Coast League in the 2006 All-Star Game (6–0), so the IL Toledo Mud Hens were given home team status; the PCL Tucson Sidewinders were designated the away team.

The inaugural Bricktown Showdown was held before a near sell-out crowd of 12,572 as well as a national television audience. Announcers for the ESPN2 broadcast included Triple-A veteran Howard Kellman who served as the play-by-play voice. Kellman was joined by former player Tommy John, serving as analyst, and Oklahoma RedHawks broadcaster Jim Byers, serving as the field reporter.

The Sidewinders scored early as Donnie Sadler scored a triple of the wall in deep right-center field in the first inning. After two batters, he scored on Scott Hairston's sacrifice fly. Hairston almost gave Tucson a 2-0 lead in the third when he lined a two-out double into the left-field corner, but Jon Weber, who tried to score from first, was thrown out at home. Max St. Pierre, tied the game (1–1) for Toledo in the bottom of the fourth with a single that scored Ryan Raburn.

Tucson catcher Juan Brito accounted for the go-ahead run, a solo home run off Eulogio De La Cruz to lead off the fifth inning, giving the Sidewinders a 2–1 lead. Tucson's Micah Owings got out of his final jam in the bottom of the fifth when Ryan Ludwick grounded a one-out single but was thrown out trying to stretch into a double.

In the ninth inning, Tucson second baseman Matt Erickson singled through a drawn-in infield with the bases loaded, scoring two runners. Later, Sadler would single, scoring a runner, and increasing the Sidewinders' lead to 5–1. Toledo's David Espinosa picked up an RBI when his single scored one run in the bottom of the ninth.

The Tucson Sidewinders won the first Bricktown Showdown by a final score of 5–2. Micah Owings (6 SO, 4 BB, 5 H) earned the victory, extending his unbeaten streak to 22 games after going five solid innings. Scott Hairston (.500, 1 RBI) was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

2007[edit]

Bricktown Showdown
September 18, 2007
International League:
Richmond Braves

(Atlanta Braves)
Pacific Coast League:
Sacramento River Cats

(Oakland Athletics)
Final Score
Sacramento def. Richmond, (7–1)
MVP
Lou Merloni
3B, Sacramento, (.400, 1 HR, 4 RBI)

The International League defeated the Pacific Coast League in the 2007 All-Star Game (7–5), so the IL Richmond Braves were given home team status; the PCL Sacramento River Cats were designated the away team.

The event was held before a crowd of 11,124 as well as a national television audience. The ESPN2 broadcast featured the same announcing team as 2006's game, with Howard Kellman and Tommy John in the booth and RedHawks radio man Jim Byers on the field.

Shane Komine, starting pitcher for Sacramento, left after only 1⅔ innings, retiring five of the six hitters he faced. Shoulder stiffness was cited as the reason for his early departure; the situation was not serious and his departure was strictly precautionary. He was replaced by Kazuhito Tadano.

After scoreless first and second innings, the River Cats recorded the first runs of the game in the top of the third inning. After a Danny Putnam walk and a Nick Blasi single, third baseman Lou Merloni hit a three-run homer. Later, in the same half-inning, Jorge Piedra singled and Brant Colamarino hit a two-run homer. Sacramento scored again in the top of the sixth inning when Putnam scored on a Merloni single.

Richmond scored their first, and only, run of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Following singles by Brandon Jones and Larry Bigbie, Doug Clark grounded into a double play allowing Jones to score.

In the top of the ninth inning, Piedra walked and later scored on a Colamarino single, tacking on one final run for Sacramento.

The Sacramento River Cats won the second Bricktown Showdown by a final score of 7–1. Kazuhito Tadano (4 SO, 3 H, 1 R) earned the victory, after pitching 4⅓ innings. Lou Merloni (.400, 1 HR, 4 RBI) was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

2008[edit]

Bricktown Showdown
September 16, 2008
International League:
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees

(New York Yankees)
Pacific Coast League:
Sacramento River Cats

(Oakland Athletics)
Final Score
Sacramento def. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, (4–1)
MVP
Chris Gissell
P, Sacramento, (3.00 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 SO)

The PCL won the 2008 Triple-A All-Star Game on July 16, 2008, giving them home team status for the 2008 Bricktown Showdown. The IL's Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees faced off against the returning-champion Sacramento RiverCats of the PCL.

The game was viewed by a national television audience as well as 8,213 in attendance. The ESPN2 broadcast team included Howard Kellman and Ron Swoboda in the booth, with field reporter Jim Byers.

The Yankees had the bases loaded with two outs in the first inning against Sacramento starter Brad Knox, but failed to capitalize when Matt Carson flied out to deep center field. In the RiverCats half of the inning, Chris Denorfia led off with a double, later advancing to third base. After walking Carlos González, Wes Bankston singled in the first run for Sacramento. Brooks Conrad's RBI single, followed Casey Rogowski's fielder's choice out added two runs, making the score 3–0 in favor of Sacramento. Donnie Murphy drove in another run in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 4–0.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Matt Carson's RBI single scored Ramiro Pena from second base to account for the only Yankees run of the game.

The Sacramento RiverCats won the third Bricktown Showdown by a final score of 4–1. Pitcher Chris Gissell (1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO) earned the victory, after working three innings. Gissell was also named the game's Most Valuable Player.

Triple-A Baseball National Championship games[edit]

2009[edit]

Triple-A Baseball
National Championship Game

September 22, 2009
International League:
Durham Bulls

(Tampa Bay Rays)
Pacific Coast League:
Memphis Redbirds

(St. Louis Cardinals)
Final Score
Durham def. Memphis, (5–4 (11))
MVP
Jeremy Hellickson
P, Durham, (5 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 SO)

The International League won the 2009 Triple-A All-Star Game, giving the IL champion Durham Bulls home field advantage over the PCL champion Memphis Redbirds.

The game was viewed by a national television audience as well as 6,777 in attendance. The ESPN2 broadcast team included Mike Capps and Chris Chambliss in the booth, with field reporter Jim Byers.

The Durham Bulls won the fourth Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game by a final score of 5–4. With the victory, Durham became the first IL team to win the National Championship. Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (5.00 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 SO) the game's Most Valuable Player.

Coincidentally, Durham and Memphis were the two expansion teams in the last IL/PCL expansion in 1998.

2010[edit]

Triple-A Baseball
National Championship Game

September 21, 2010
International League:
Columbus Clippers

(Cleveland Indians)
Pacific Coast League:
Tacoma Rainiers

(Seattle Mariners)
Final Score
Columbus def. Tacoma, (12-6)
MVP
Jerad Head
OF, Columbus, (.750, 2 2B, 4 RBI)

The 2010 game was played on Tuesday, September 21, at 7:05 PM CDT. The IL champion Columbus Clippers faced the PCL champion Tacoma Rainiers. Versus broadcast the game.

The Columbus Clippers defeated the Tacoma Rainiers, 12-6, in the Triple-A National Championship Game. David Huff got the win and Jerad Head won the MVP honors.

2011[edit]

Triple-A Baseball
National Championship Game

September 20, 2011
International League:
Columbus Clippers

(Cleveland Indians)
Pacific Coast League:
Omaha Storm Chasers

(Kansas City Royals)
Final Score
Columbus def. Omaha, (8-3)
MVP
Joe Martinez (baseball)
P, Columbus, ()

The 2011 game was played on Tuesday, September 20 at 6:05 PM MDT at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico (the first Triple-A National Championship not to be played in Oklahoma City). The two-time defending IL champion Columbus Clippers faced the PCL champion Omaha Storm Chasers. Versus broadcast the game.

The Columbus Clippers defeated the Omaha Storm Chasers, 8-3, in the Triple-A National Championship Game. Joe Martinez got the win and the MVP honors.

2012[edit]

Triple-A Baseball
National Championship Game

September 18, 2012
International League:
Pawtucket Red Sox

(Boston Red Sox)
Pacific Coast League:
Reno Aces

(Arizona Diamondbacks)
Final Score
Reno def. Pawtucket, (10-3)
MVP
A. J. Pollock (baseball)
CF, Reno, (.400, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI)

The 2012 game was played on Tuesday, September 18 at 7:05 PM EDT at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, North Carolina. The IL champion Pawtucket Red Sox faced the PCL champion Reno Aces. NBC Sports Network broadcast the game.

The Reno Aces defeated the Pawtucket Red Sox, 10-3, in the Triple-A National Championship Game. Mike DeMark got the win and A.J. Pollock won MVP honors.

2013[edit]

Triple-A Baseball
National Championship Game

September 17, 2013
International League:
Durham Bulls

(Tampa Bay Rays)
Pacific Coast League:
Omaha Storm Chasers

(Kansas City Royals)
Final Score
Omaha def. Durham, (2-1)
MVP
Chris Dwyer
P, Omaha, (7 IP, 1 H, 8 SO)

The 2013 game was played on Tuesday, September 17 at 7:05 PM EDT at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The IL champion Durham Bulls faced the PCL champion Omaha Storm Chasers. NBC Sports Network broadcast the game.

The Omaha Storm Chasers defeated the Durham Bulls, 2-1, in the Triple-A National Championship Game. Chris Dwyer got the win and the MVP honors.

2014[edit]

The 2014 game will be played at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, North Carolina.[5]


Appearances by team[edit]

PCL teams (5 wins) IL teams (3 wins)

Championship years are shown in bold. Defunct teams appear in italics.

Appearances Team Wins Losses Winning
percentage
Season(s)
2 Sacramento Rivercats 2 0 1.000 2007, 2008
2 Columbus Clippers 2 0 1.000 2010, 2011
2 Durham Bulls 1 1 .500 2009, 2013
2 Omaha Storm Chasers 1 1 .500 2011, 2013
1 Reno Aces 1 0 1.000 2012
1 Tucson Sidewinders 1 0 1.000 2006
1 Toledo Mud Hens 0 1 .000 2006
1 Richmond Braves 0 1 .000 2007
1 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 0 1 .000 2008
1 Memphis Redbirds 0 1 .000 2009
1 Tacoma Rainiers 0 1 .000 2010
1 Pawtucket Red Sox 0 1 .000 2012

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bricktown Showdown To Determine Triple-A Baseball Champion." Triple-A Baseball. Press Release. 12 July 2006.
  2. ^ "Triple-A Baseball Championship Game To Remain in Oklahoma City for 2007 and 2008." Triple-A Baseball. Press Release. 11 January 2007.
  3. ^ "Triple-A championship game renamed." Pacific Coast League. 7 August 2009. Retrieved on 8 August 2009.
  4. ^ Hill, Benjamin. "Isotopes to host Triple-A championship." Minor League Baseball. 8 February 2011. Retrieved on 8 February 2011.
  5. ^ Washburn, Mark (15 November 2013). "Knights games coming to WZGV". The Charlotte Observer. p. 2C. 

External links[edit]