- The Durham Bulls wrapped up their season on Sunday with a game that summed up their entire season…Nothing good happened. The Bulls were shutout by Norfolk 3-0 and managed only 6 hits. In fact, the Bulls failed to score in their last 24 innings of play this season. Darnell McDonald collected 3 of those hits on Sunday and finished the season at .292 with a league leading 157 hits and one of the lone bright spots in a season filled with suspensions, ejections and Doug Waechter. The other bright spot was Kevin Witt, who added the The Joe Baumann trophy to his mantle to go along with his International League MVP award. The Joe Baumann Trophy is awarded the the player that leads all of the minor leagues in home runs. Witt hit 36. B. J. Upton led the IL in stolen bases with 46. Waechter finished tied for third in losses, despite only spending half the season in AAA. Durham finished the season at 64-78 in second place of the IL South Division. Second place doesn’t sound so bad til you realize that the South Division is the IL equivalent of the NL Central. Well, at least Ozzie Guillen’s idea of the NL Central. The Bulls finished second, but were 15.5 games behind division leading Charlotte.
- The Biscuits won the second half of the Southern League’s regular season with a 41-29 record, 3 games ahead of Jacksonville in the South Division. Does anybody find it strange that the Southern League has a South Division? Neither do we. Montgomery had finished the first half of the season at 36-33, 11.5 games behind Jacksonville. They will begin a 5-game playoff series on Thursday against Jacksonville, with the winner playing a championship series against the winner of the North Division. Does anybody find it strange the Southern League…ahh…nevermind. The Biscuits finished strong, winning 13 of their final 16. The great second half was driven by pitching with this past weekend a great example. On Thursday, Jeff Niemann was wild but survived to pitch 5.1 scoreless innings. He allowed 4 hits and 4 walks. On Friday, Andy Sonnanstine was the tough luck loser, giving up 3 hits and 1 unearned run in 7 innings. He still finished the season tied for first in wins with 15 and 3rd in ERA at 2.67. He also led in innings pitched, complete games and shutouts, and was second in strikeouts. Saturday was Mitch Talbot’s turn, going 6 innings with 4 hits, 1 walk and 1 run. Finally, on Sunday Jason Cromer pitched 5 scoreless innings.
- Visalia won 5 of their last 6 games to take the California Leagues North Division title for the second half. They finished the second half at 42-28, 1 game ahead of first half winners San Jose. Not bad considering they lost three of their best players down the stretch to midseason promotions, including league MVP Reid Brignac. Brignac finished 3rd in batting average and 4th in home runs, despite playing the last month of the season in AA. Chris Nowak finished with a league-leading 103. RBI. James Houser and Christopher Mason finished toed for the league lead with 12 wins. The Oaks will play a 3-game series against San Jose this week.
Southwest Michigan Devil Rays
- The D-Rays ended their last season in Battle Creek by finishing 30-40, 18 games back. The bright spot all season long was the performance of the starting pitchers. Jacob McGee and Wade Davis finished 1-2 in the league for strikeouts. Greg Dupas was second in saves.