Monday, September 21, 2015

Twins Minor League Report (9/21): Chattanooga Champs!

One game to rule them all.

The Lookouts have combined for quite a season leading into tonight's decisive game five. Stud prospects Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton started the season in Chattanooga before eventually making their big league debuts. Max Kepler and Jose Berrios both spent time with the Lookouts before being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter and Starting Pitcher of the Year.

Chattanooga won the first half title in the Southern League North Division and finished the season with an overall record of 76-61. The club was just one game over .500 at home but they were a stunning 42-28 away from AT&T Field.

Tonight they played at home with a chance to be crowned kings of the Southern League.
Chattanooga 4, Biloxi 0
Box Score
The Lookouts had a chance to jump out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs in the frame, Southern League MVP Max Kepler walked. Travis Harrison followed with a single to give Chattanooga their first chance with runners in scoring position. Adam Brett Walker came up in a big spot but he grounded out to third to end the frame.

DJ Baxendale started for the Lookouts and he ran into a little trouble in the top of the second. After a single and a double to start the frame, Baxendale gave up a free pass to load the bases without recording an out. He came up with two big swinging strikeouts and a ground out to get out of the jam.

The bottom of the second would see the first runs of the game. Heiker Meneses stepped up to the plate and cracked a triple. Two batters later Stuart Turner would drive in Meneses with a double to left field. Shannon Wilkerson followed Turner's double with a RBI-single to stretch the lead to 2-0 in favor of the Lookouts.

Max Kepler has been carrying the Lookouts for large portions of the seasons so it seemed fitting that he would help add to the team's lead in their most important game of the year. He had gone 0-for-7 in the last two games but he lead-off the third with a solo-home run, his third of the series.

Baxendale used 95 pitches to get through five shutout frames before turning the game over to the bullpen. He gave up four hits, three walks, and struck out three. Jason Wheeler took over for Baxendale and was outstanding. In four shutout innings, he allowed two base runners and struck out three.

The Lookouts picked up a big insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning to push their lead to 4-0. Stuart Turner walked to start the inning and was thrown out at second on a bunt attempt from Shannon Wilkerson. Stephen Wickens stepped to the plate and cracked a double to left field that was deep enough to score Wilkerson from first to add to the lead.

Wheeler stayed in for the top of the ninth inning. The first batter popped out to second base and the Lookouts were two outs away. The next batter walked to be only the second base runner against Wheeler. However the next batter would hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game and the season.

Your 2015 Southern League Champions, the Chattanooga Lookouts.

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