The 2013 AFL Champions, Your Surprise Saguaros!

After an impressive regular season, the Surprise Saguaros (made up of players from the Indians, Red Sox, Rangers, Brewers and Orioles) were able to hold off an impressive Mesa Solar Sox squad (Angels, Athletics, Cubs, Nationals and Tigers) to take home the 2013 Arizona Fall League Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona. After winning all season based on the strength of a great offense, consisting of Rangers catcher Jorge Alfaro, Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin and Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw, the Saguaros won a pitching duel in the final game, besting the Sox 2 to 0.

The Saguaros scored first in the second inning after Henry Urrutia (Baltimore) hit a two out double against Dallas Beeler. Alfaro then knocked him in with a single, but was thrown out trying to make it to second. The scoring stopped their until the eighth inning as Saguaros starter Eduardo Rodriguez (Baltimore) cruised through three innings and was followed by similar performances by the rest of the staff. None of the Indians three pitchers on the roster (Will Roberts, Tyler Sturdevant or Shawn Armstrong) appeared in the game. Beeler didn't pitch to poorly for himself either, giving up just the single run while striking out five in five innings.

After starting the game 0-5, thee two Indians hitters in the starting line-up finally helped out their team in the eighth, leading to the teams second run. Jonathan Schoop (Baltimore), who batted just .177 during the regular season, lead the inning off with a double and Indians second baseman (DHing and hitting ninth in today's game) Joe Wendle immediately sacrificed him to second. The lead-off hitter, Naquin then came up next and Corey Knebel launched a wild pitch, moving Schoop to third before deciding to finish off the walk to Naquin intentionally. Schoop then scored on a Mookie Betts (Boston), single. The greatest name in the game, Milwaukee pitcher David Goforth, closed out the game with a perfect ninth, successfully ending the AFL season. In all, the Solar Sox were held to just five hits and a walk in the shut out.

While the Indians prospects didn't figure prominantly in this game, they were integral in getting the Saguaros to the championship in the first place. Both the most used pitcher (Roberts, seven starts) and hitter (Naquin 27 games) were Indians prospects and Naquin (along with teammate Shaw) deserve some votes for MVP of the league. Naquin was the starting center fielder and lead-off man all season and ended up third on the team in RBI, first in hits (by 11) and first in runs. Also, despite batting ninth in the final game, Joe Wendle was generally the second baseman and batted second when Betts didn't play. He ended with 12 RBI of his own and a .311 average.

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians.

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