August 28, 2019 AZL Indians Blue

Technically, the AZL Indians Blue have only existed since 2018, yet they already have an equal amount of championship appearances (one) as the original AZL Indians, now known as AZL Indians Red. On this date just last year, they made that happen.

With a 35-21 record, team Blue finished second in the AZL overall in 2019, unfortunately for them, however, they finished second in their own division as well behind the AZL Padres 2. This meant they had to beat the A’s Gold on August 27th, 2019 (which they did) instead of getting a first round bye and that they were the road team in the second round against that Padres 2 team. For the sake of simplicity, the two teams will be referred to as the Blues and the Twos from now on.

The Blues got off to a bit of a false start as Jose Tena singled in the first, but was picked off prior to a Cristopher Cespedes hit. Luis D. Garcia made the start on the mound for the Blues and also hiccoughed a bit in the first as he walked a batter and allowed a hit, but struck out Yeison Santana to end the inning. In the second, the Blues got on the board and they kept the pedal down throughout the rest of the game.

Michael Amditis1
Amditis hits an RBI single during the August 28 AZL Indians Blue play-off game against Padres 2 at Peoria Sports Complex. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Fresh of the K, Santana made a throwing error with one out in the second to start the offensive. Jothson Flores reached on that play and scored on the next when Victor Nova doubled. Michael Amditis then singled and thanks to an error, then a wild pitch, Nova scored and Amditis ended up on third. He then scored on Tena’s second single of the game for the early 3-0 lead.

In the third, it was more Twos wildness that got the Blues started. Jhonkensy Noel reached on an error by the pitcher, Jeferson Garcia, then Garcia moved him up on a wild pitch. Flores singled him home and went to second on the throw to the plate, then he scored on Amditis’ second RBI single of the game.

With the risk of seeming repetitive, Tena reached to start the fourth on a two base error by the firstbaseman. He went to third on a passed ball that also walked Cespedes. With Noel at the plate, Tena stole home and Cespedes followed with a steal of second on the same play. In the fifth, the Blues went down 1-2-3 for the first time in the game.


 

 
 
 
 
 
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Luis “Lightning” D. Garcia gets a k in the 4th vs Padres 2.

A post shared by IBI Joe (@burningriverbaseball) on

As this was going down, Luis D. Garcia was not perfect, but certainly good enough on the mound. He pitched five shut out innings, striking out seven with one walk and three hits allowed. As can be seen in the video above, he did so in front of a backdrop of lightning strikes, some foreshadowing for the ninth.

Looking at the sixth, Tena singled and went to second on a wild pitch. Noel singled him to third, but they didn’t score. The Twos did manage to break out in the sixth, however, against reliever Jared Janczak. After two K’s and a single to start the inning, Jesus Maestre committed an error to extend the inning. Gilberto Vizcarra then doubled home Luis Almanzar (who had singled) for the only Twos run of the game.

Jothson Flores
Flores hits one of three singles against Padres 2 during the AZL Indians Blue 2019 Semi-final game in Peoria, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

The Blues made up for it in the seventh with another interesting inning. Flores started it with a single, followed by a Nova walk and Amditis’ third RBI single of the game. Maestre walked to load the bases, the Cespedes was hit by a pitch to bring one home. Noel then walked for another run, then Jose Colina singled home two more runs.

With the massive lead already set, Amditis and Tena were removed, keeping them stuck at three hits apiece, but the rest of the Blues offense kept going. Nova walked to start the eighth, moved up when Makesiondon Kelkboom walked as a pinch hitter for Amditis, then both moved up on another wild pitch. Pedro Alfonseca then singled home the Blues 11th and final run of the game.

Jared Janczak2
Janczak pitches in relief for Indians Blue against Padres 2 during the 2019 AZL play-offs. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Janczak had pitched well in the seventh, dealing with a Maestre error with a double play to follow, and he stayed in for the eighth. With one on and one out, he committed a two base error, however, and following a strike out, he was pulled for more relief. This time, Joel De La Cruz came in to finish the inning without a run scoring.

The Indians loaded the bases in the top of nine thanks to a Colina single, Flores double and Nova walk, but consecutive strike outs finished the frame without score. As the Blues were looking to close out the blowout, this happened before they could take the field:

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Luis "Lightning" D. Garcia gets a k in the 4th vs Padres 2.

A post shared by IBI Joe (@burningriverbaseball) on

Shortly after this, I ran away and drove home through a massive storm and the end of the game was cancelled, giving the Blues a 11-1 win and sending them to the championship round against the Rangers.

For some fun threes, Amditis, Tena and Flores all had three hits, Amditis knocked in three, Flores and Nova scored three and Nova walked three times. You may be looking out for more about the 2019 Blues in future “This day in Indians minor league history” segments, but you won’t be getting them as the Rangers swept the Blues in two games by a combined score of 17-2. This leaves the 2014 AZL Indians as the only Cleveland based Arizona League Championship team.

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