Pawsox claim Governor’s Cup title
Friday, September 14, 2012
Somewhere, Ben Mondor is smiling tonight.
The late Pawtucket Red Sox patriarch, who passed away almost two years ago, got to see a lot of things in his 33 years as an owner. He only got to see one Governor’s Cup Championship, however…which signifies winning the International League baseball championship. That occurred previously in 1984.
Even though Mondor is gone, there’s now another title to go along with the championship last won 28 years ago. And it’s every bit as much his as anyone else’s. The Pawsox defeated the Charlotte Knights 4-1 Thursday night in Charlotte, NC to claim the 2012 IL Governor’s Cup title, sweeping the best-of-five series 3-0.
In the sweep, the Pawsox accomplished something they have never done in the team's 40-year history...and that's sweep a playoff series. Thursday night, Pawtucket was able to do just that behind the pitching of Nelson Figueroa, who threw six strong innings and gave up one earned run on seven hits, while striking out five and walking none. Will Inman, Jose De La Torre and Josh Fields each threw a scoreless inning of relief, as strong bullpen work provided for much of the late season success on the field. The Pawsox won eight of their final 10 regular season games in order to clinch the IL Wild Card playoff spot, then went 6-1 in the post-season (3-1 over Scranton Wilkes-Barre, 3-0 against Charlotte).
Catcher Mike Rivera had two hits with an RBI to lead the Pawsox offense. Nursing a 2-1 lead in the 7th inning, Jeremy Hazelbaker hit a run-scoring, RBI triple, and LF J.C. Linares followed with an RBI single...also in the 7th that gave Pawtucket breathing room for the pitching staff.
As the winner of the International League's Governor's Cup, the Pawsox earn the right to participate in the Triple A National Championship, a one-game "winner take all" match-up against the champion of the Pacific Coast League. The game will take place in Durham, NC next Tuesday against either Omaha or Reno, and will be nationally televised on the NBC Sports Network.
Only seven members of Pawtucket’s 2012 Opening Day (active) roster are still with the team in the post-season, due to injuries, trades and call-ups to Boston. They are pitchers Will Inman, Tony Pena, Jr., Alex Wilson, INF Nate Spears, and outfielders Che-Hsuan Lin, Jason Repko, and Alex Hassan (DL). INF Tony Thomas, who is currently on the PawSox playoff roster, was on the Pawtucket disabled list to begin the year. Even with the roster upheaval for manager Arnie Beyeler, the Pawsox managed to maintain the 4th best ERA, the 2nd best defense and 3rd best hitting lineup in the IL throughout the season.
Meaningful numbers in a meaningful season, One that surely has Ben Mondor smiling, somewhere.