The West Virginia Black Bears capped off a week filled with late inning heroics and postponements with a championship last night over the Staten Island Yankees. In their first season in the NYPL, the Black Bears finished the regular season 42-34 and won the Wild Card, setting up a first round matchup with the Williamsport Crosscutters, the best team in the NYPL in the regular season.
The first game against Williamsport was postponed a day because of rain. This seemed like a theme of the series, as weather was not cooperating with the schedule. When game one finally did get started, Dario Agrazal and Tate Scioneaux carried West Virginia. Agrazal started and pitched 6 2/3, getting the win, before Scioneaux pitched the final 2 1/3 for the save. Daniel Arribas homered and later drove in the deciding run with a single in the fifth as the Black Bears won game one 2-1.
Game two would turn out to be the only game West Virginia would lose during this season’s playoffs. Franklyn Kilome pitched a solid five innings for Williamsport, including six strikeouts and only two hits. Once again for West Virginia, Daniel Arribas drove in the only run. Rain would postpone a deciding game three for a day, but when it got started Brandon Waddell would not let the offense of the Crosscutters get anything going. He pitched six shutout innings and received the win for the Black Bears, leading them to a championship series with the Staten Island Yankees.
Game one of the championship against Staten Island went smooth for West Virginia until the eighth inning. First basemen, Carlos Munoz cleared the bases in the third with a triple, putting the Black Bears on top 3-1. Zack Zehner, left fielder for the Yankees, having already homered in the second, doubled in a run and later came around to score on a groundout from Brandon Wagner to tie the game at three in the eighth. The game remained tied at three until the bottom of the 11th when Daniel Arribas continued his hot playoffs with a walk-off single to put West Virginia a win away from a championship heading to Staten Island for two.
James Kaprielian did all he could on the mound for the Yankees as he pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings. He left the game leading 1-0 on a Jhalan Jackson home run. It was not meant to be for the Yankees as the first batter after Kaprielian left Carlos Munoz homered to right field to tie the game at one. In the top of the ninth, Casey Hughston hit a two run home run to give the Black Bears a 3-1 lead and put them three outs away from a championship.
The Yankees went down in order in the bottom of the ninth and when Ke’Bryan Hayes threw Jhalan Jackson’s groundball to Carlos Munoz (how ironic that the MVP of the Black Bears’ playoffs would catch the final out), the Black Bears had won the 2015 New York Penn League championship in their first season. Congratulations to manager Wyatt Toregas and his Black Bears!