The Omaha Storm Chasers completed their improbable postseason run Tuesday night, defeating the Durham Bulls, 2-1, in the Triple-A National Championship Game. It's the first Triple-A National Championship Omaha has captured as a member of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), and second Triple-A Championship overall in team history.
The story of the game had more to do with Omaha starting pitcher Chris Dwyer than Durham starter Jake Odorizzi, which was probably a surprise to many.
Odorizzi, who went 9-6 for Durham this season with a 3.33 ERA in 22 starts, was part of the Wil Myers-James Shield trade between the Royals and Rays during the off season. Ironically, the two organization's Triple-A teams battled for the National Championship.
It made sense for Durham to start Odorizzi against his former team and he pitched well, giving up one earned run on five hits and a walk in four innings, but the day belonged to Dwyer, who retired the first 20 hitters he faced. Yes, he had that kind of stuff. He gave up just one hit and no walks, striking out eight. Afterward, he was named the MVP.
Omaha struck first. In the second inning Manny Pina singled up the middle to drive in Lane Adams, who doubled earlier in the inning with two outs. Omaha picked up another run in the sixth inning on a two-out single by Irving Falu.
Durham manager Charlie Montoyo pinch hit for Shelley Duncan with two outs in the eighth inning and Leslie Anderson didn't disappoint him, smashing a solo home run off Omaha reliever Michael Mariot to draw the Bulls to within a run. After recording two outs in the ninth, Mariot allowed two base runners before giving way to Zach Jackson, who retired the final batter and clinched the Championship with a strikeout.
With the win by the Chasers, the PCL improves to 5-3 in winner-take-all Championships against the International League since 2006. Omaha finished the season with a 77-75 record, including going 7-1 in the postseason. The only other Triple-A Championship in team history came when the Omaha Royals defeated the Rochester Red Wings in the 1990 Triple-A Classic 4-1 in the best-of-seven series.