On the verge of elimination, a Cleveland-based team found a way to win a league title. Sounds like a strange dream that could never happen, eh?
Well, that’s exactly what occurred this week in the Double-A Eastern League for the Akron Aeros. Trailing 0-2 in the Division Series, the Aeros rallied to win three straight home games over the rival Bowie Baysox. Akron then jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the Finals, winning two more at home, before finally clinching the EL Title with a 6-1 Game Four victory at Trenton on Saturday night.
In today’s game, Adam Abraham and Ryan Rohlinger each collected two hits while Roberto Perez had an RBI double. Starter Toru Murata struck out seven in allowing just one run in 6.1 IP, while the stout Akron bullpen sealed the deal from there. Jordan Henry’s three-run single in the top of the ninth also provided a nice final insurance boost.
The Aeros’ championship makes it four straight years that an Indians affiliate has won a title: 2009 (Akron); 2010 (Columbus and Lake County); 2011 (Columbus); 2012 (Akron). It is also the fourth EL crown in the last 10 years for the Akron franchise: 2003, 2005, 2009, 2012.
I’ll have plenty more tomorrow on the leaders of this Aeros team and who projects to possibly be a factor in the Major Leagues down the road. It’s always very cool to see young prospects getting a taste of this playoff experience in the minors.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.