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D-backs Farm Rumblings: The postseason rolls on, for some

The Reno Aces, the Arizona League D-backs and the Dominican Summer League D-backs1 all saw their seasons come to an end last week.

Five affiliates — the Jackson Generals, Visalia Rawhide, Kane County Cougars, Hillsboro Hops and Dominican Summer League D-backs2 — all earned berths into their respective league playoffs while the Missoula Osprey wrapped up their regular season in the Pioneer League.

Here’s a quick look at everything that went down in the D-backs’ minor league system this past week.

Jackson Generals

This week: Beat Montgomery 3-1 in best-of-five Southern League Playoff series

The Generals could muster only three hits during a 4-0 loss to Montgomery to open the Southern League Playoffs Wednesday in Alabama. The Biscuits scored twice in the bottom of the first, and that would prove to be more than enough for a stingy pitching staff led by starter Paul Campbell, who threw seven shutout innings, during which he allowed just two hits while striking out six.

Drew Ellis smacked a two-run homer and drove in four runs as the Generals bounced back in a big way, taking Game 2 versus Montgomery, 9-1 to tie the series at 1-1. Ellis’ blast capped a four-run third inning, and later, he added a two-run double that scored Daulton Varsho and Pavin Smith to put Jackson comfortably ahead 7-1. Right-hander Matt Peacock was strong on the mound, allowing a single run over seven innings with five strikeouts while Kevin McCanna and Jayson McKinley shut down Montgomery over the final two innings.

Jackson took a 2-1 series lead with a 4-0 win over Montgomery Friday night. Ellis continued his power surge with two more homers (a two-run shot and a solo job) and Seth Beer went deep as well to fuel the offense. Generals starter Bo Takahashi was outstanding, throwing six shutout innings before handing off to the bullpen. Miguel Aguilar, Junior Garcia and West Tunnell combined on three innings of perfect relief to secure the victory.

Smith’s three-run homer highlighted a four-run fourth inning and proved to be the difference in Jackson’s series-clinching 6-5 win over Montgomery Saturday night.

The Generals will move on to face the Biloxi Shuckers with the Southern League title on the line.


Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

This week: Beat San Jose 3-0 in California League Playoff series

Justin Vernia, Mack Lemieux and Breckin Williams combined on a gem Wednesday, holding San Jose to just four hits in a 3-1 to kick off the California League Playoffs. Vernia struck out eight Giants hitters over 6.2 innings while allowing a single run. Lemieux, a 23-year-old lefty, continued his stellar bullpen work with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief and Williams mopped things up in the ninth to pick up the save. Geraldo Perdomo, a top D-backs prospect, had four hits in the leadoff spot.

After a 5-3 win over San Jose Thursday, Visalia pushed seven runs across in the first inning and cruised to a 13-6 win Friday to complete a three-game sweep of the Giants. Perdomo finished 2-for-4 with a run scored and four RBIs in the win. Here’s a feature on Perdomo from MiLB.com.

The ‘Hide open the California League Championship Series Tuesday night on the road against the Lake Elsinore Storm.


Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

This week: Defeated by Clinton LumberKings 2-0 in Midwest League Playoff series

Zack Shannon’s three-run homer wasn’t enough as the Cougars suffered a 6-3 loss to the Clinton LumberKings in the opener of a Midwest League quarterfinal series Wednesday. Shannon’s blast tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the sixth inning, but Clinton pushed three runs across in the bottom of the inning to take momentum back on the way to the win. Levi Kelly started and was solid for Kane County, throwing three scoreless innings while allowing one hit and striking out three — although he did walk five. Andy Toelken and Chester Pimentel struggled in relief, yielding all seven runs in four combined innings of work. Each reliever allowed a three-run homer in the loss.

The Cougars’ impressive 2019 season came to an end on Thursday as Clinton doled out a 10-1 pounding to clinch the best-of-three Midwest League series. Dominic Fletcher’s eighth-inning, two-out single was the only hit Kane County could scratch out against a strong Clinton pitching staff, led by Jake Walters, who left the game leading 10-1, but with a no-hitter intact. Clinton moved on to face Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League semifinals.

Pimentel was named as the D-backs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Month for August.


Hillsboro Hops (Short-season-A Northwest League)

This week: Defeated Salem-Keizer 2-0 in Northwest League Playoffs
Tied 1-1 with Tri-City in Northwest League Championship Series

Liover Peguero doubled in Tristin English with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Hops to a 2-1 win over Salem-Keizer in Game 1 of the Northwest League quarterfinals Wednesday. Salem-Keizer pushed across a run in the fourth, and their 1-0 lead lasted until the eighth, when Andy Yerzy knocked in Corbin Carroll with an RBI single to knot the game at 1-1. Starter Tyler Holton continued his impressive run of pitching by allowing just one hit and one run over the first six innings while striking out 10. Holton has struck out 10 or more in three consecutive starts. Lefty Nick Snyder, an 11th-round draft pick out of West Virginia, worked three perfect innings out of the bullpen to pick up the win.

The Hops punched their ticket to the Northwest League Championship Series with a 6-3 road win over Salem-Keizer Thursday night. Hillsboro jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Ryan January knocked in Jorge Barrosa and English with an RBI single. They’d tack on another in the second when former Arizona State Sun Devil Lyle Lin scored Jesus Marriaga with a sac fly. Salem-Keizer responded with two in the bottom of the second, but Hillsboro was able to stretch the lead in the fifth on back-to-back RBI doubles from January and Peguero. The win pushed the Hops on to the Northwest League Championship Series against Tri-City.

Saturday, the Northwest League Championship Series got underway, and the Hops kept up their winning ways with a dramatic 5-3 Game 1 win over Tri-City. Yerzy cranked a three-run walk-off home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Hillsboro the win.

Sunday was a different story altogether, as Tri-City pounced on Hillsboro for six runs in top of the first inning and cruised to a 9-1 win to even the series at 1-1. Jonny Homza, who didn’t have a home run in 185 plate appearances for Tri-City this season, belted a grand slam to give the Dust Devils their six-run cushion.

Cool feature on Hops reliever Ryne Nelson from Baseball America.


Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League)

For the week: 1-4
For the season: 20-18 (Finished in 2nd place in North Division; 4.0 games behind Billings)

Missoula’s three-game losing streak to start the week killed the team’s postseason hopes, but they did break out of their slump with a decisive 14-3 win over Billings Friday night. The Osprey exploded for 10 runs in the first inning. Missoula sent 14 batters to the plate and the parade was led by Jose Curpa and Francis Martinez, each of whom had two hits and two runs scored during the inning.

The Osprey played their final game as the Osprey (they’re changing their team identity for 2020) Saturday night, losing 5-4 in 11 innings to the Billings Mustangs. Missoula’s overall record on the season was 40-36 — the second-best mark in the Pioneer League — but since they finished second in each half, they failed to qualify for the playoffs.


D-backs2 (Dominican Summer League)

This week: Lost 3-2 to Royals1 in Dominican Summer League Championship Series

Right fielder Danyer Sanabria went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, two home runs and four RBIs as the D-backs2 beat the Royals1, 6-1, in Game 3 of the Dominican Summer League Championship Series Wednesday. The D-backs squad also got lights-out pitching from three different hurlers — Jheyson Perez, Mauricio Bascunan and Jose Santamaria — in the win. Perez, a 19-year-old right-hander, went four innings, allowing a single run on three hits while striking out seven. Bascunan worked three perfect innings of relief to pick up the ‘W’ and Santamaria fanned three while yielding a single hit over the last two frames. The win gave the D-backs a 2-1 series advantage.

Wednesday’s win put the D-backs2 one game away from a title, but they ran into a pitching buzzsaw over the next two days. The D-backs2 managed one hit in a 5-0 loss Thursday that knotted the series up at 2-2. Friday was more of the same, as Royals1 pitchers turned in another shutout, limiting D-backs hitters to just four hits in a 1-0 win to clinch the championship.

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