Glendale made a run at a spot in the Arizona Fall League championship game by winning their sixth game in a row on Wednesday afternoon. That hope of winning their division ended late Wednesday night when first place Peoria clinched the title. That meant that the final day of the season on Thursday didn’t have any significance as far as the championship game goes, but it was still the last start for Taylor Hearn. He came into the day with one run allowed over three starts, going three innings each game. Kevin Kramer and Logan Hill were also in the lineup for the finale, while JT Brubaker came out of the bullpen, as Glendale made it seven in a row with an 11-3 victory over Salt River.
Taylor Hearn had a tough first inning on Thursday. It started with a ground ball single up the middle. That was followed by two stolen bases and a walk. The third batter singled to bring home a run. During the next at-bat, the runner from first tried to steal second and was thrown out, but the runner from third scored on the play. After another walk by Hearn, he got a double play on a strikeout/caught stealing.
Hearn had a much easier time after the first inning. He did walk the lead-off hitter, but a strikeout, caught stealing (third in two innings) and a strikeout ended the second inning. He would allow a single to start the third, but he then retired the side on a strikeout, fly out to left field and a strikeout. Hearn ended up striking out five of the last eight batters he faced. He threw 53 pitches in the game, with 31 going for strikes. His AFL time ends with a 3.06 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.
JT Brubaker came out for the fifth inning and the first few batters hit the ball well against him. That resulted in two line outs and two singles. He ended the fifth with a strikeout. Brubaker allowed a single to start the sixth inning, then got out of the frame on two more grounders and a strikeout. He threw 27 pitches, with 17 going for strikes. Brubaker finishes with a 2.63 ERA over 13.2 innings, with 16 strikeouts.
Kevin Kramer brought home the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. He struck out swinging in the third inning, then lined out to left field in the fourth. Kramer flew out to right field in the seventh inning, then drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. He got a sixth plate appearance in the ninth and grounded out to first base, leaving him 0-for-4 with two RBIs. Kramer finished with a .200 batting average in 16 games (all at shortstop) and did not make a single error.
Logan Hill hit an RBI single in the first inning on a grounder up the middle, then stole his first base of the fall. In the third inning, he brought home two runs on a line drive to left field. Hill struck out swinging in the fifth and was called out on strikes in the seventh. He singled in the ninth then scored a run two batters later. He went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs. Hill finished with a .239 batting average.
** Glendale started the season 5-1 and ended it on a 7-0 run, so they really had a great shot for a playoff spot if they played semi-decent ball in those middle 17 games. Instead, they went 4-13 during that stretch and finished two games back.
** We will have an AFL recap over the weekend.