The Peoria Javelinas secured a spot in the Arizona Fall League Championship Game with a win on Thursday night. Led by Padres prospect Robbie Erlin, the Javelinas pulled out a 3-2 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions to clinch the AFL West Division. Erlin threw five shutout innings and struck out six to earn his second win in seven starts. He gave up a hit in the 1st inning, but then got the baserunner out with a pickoff. He then retired ten straight batters through the fourth inning. He allowed a second hit and issued a walk in the fifth, but then struck out the side to strand both baserunners. Erlin wasn't the only Padre to get in on the action on Thursday. Matt Stites gave up a run on a hit and a couple of walks. Later, Kevin Quackenbush pitched the 9th inning, getting his sixth save despite surrendering a home run and a walk. On the offensive side, Nate Freiman drove in one of Peoria's three runs.
Today at noon, the Javs will face the Salt River Rafters in the one-game AFL Championship. Tim Crabbe of the Reds will make the start for Peoria against Nationals pitcher Ryan Perry. The Rafters are looking to win their second AFL Championship in a row, but will have their work cut out for them against one of, if not the best offense in the AFL in the Javs, who led the league in runs scored, average, and OPS.
Along with those already mentioned, Cory Spangenberg, Jeudy Valdez, and Rymer Liriano round out the group of Padres on the Javelinas, which also includes players from the Reds, Twins, Phillies, and Mariners. Former Padre Josh Spence, who is now a Yankee, is also a member of the Javs. Liriano has been particularly impressive in the Fall and comes into today's title game a candidate for MVP.
Prior to today's game, the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award will be presented in an on-field ceremony. Nate Freiman is one of the six finalists for the award, which is given on the basis of leadership and work ethic. You can catch the ceremony, and the championship game, online at MLB.com or on MLB Network today at 12pm.
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