By JAY LeBLANC
The Arizona Fall League season came to an end Saturday, and so did the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ run of five straight championships.
Monday, Nov. 16
Josh Bell started at third, hitting fifth, and went 2-for-4 - all from the left side - with a walk, two strikeouts, a double and a three-run shot off right-hander Tim Kiely (Angels). Matt Angle and went 1-for-3 with a run, an RBI, a sacrifice bunt, a walk and a strikeout as the leadoff man and center fielder. Josh Perrault came on in the ninth with Phoenix leading Mesa 11-1 and kept it that way, pitching around a leadoff double and notching a strikeout in his scoreless inning of work.
Tuesday, Nov. 17
Bell played third and hit cleanup and went 1-for-5 with a double, all from the left side. Angle hit leadoff and went 0-for-4 with a walk, a run and two strikeouts. Eddie Gamboa came out for the bottom of the eighth with Phoenix trailing Scottsdale 4-1. He gave up two hits and an unearned run and struck out a batter in his inning of work. The Desert Dogs rallied in the top of the ninth but came up short, losing 5-4.
Wednesday, Nov. 18
Ryohei Tanaka allowed an unearned run on three hits and a walk in four innings, fanning four, and left with the game knotted at a run apiece. Perrault entered in the eighth with the Desert Dogs trailing 4-1. He hit a batter and allowed a two-run shot to Trayvon Robinson (Dodgers) but notched a vulture win as Phoenix rallied for six runs in the bottom of the frame and went on to beat the Peoria Saguaros 7-6. Angle contributed a two-run single and a run during that eighth-inning rally and finished the day 1-for-5 with a strikeout. Bell also doubled and scored in the eighth; it was his lone hit in four at bats, all of which came from the left side.
Thursday, Nov. 19
Angle went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout out of the leadoff spot, and Bell went 1-for-3 with a strikeout as the cleanup hitter and third baseman. He doubled and came around to score in the fourth and knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Bell grounded out to second in his only right-handed at bat of the day. Phoenix dropped its last regular-season game 7-5 to Surprise.
Saturday, Nov. 21: AFL Championship Game
Angle opened the top of the first with a single and came around to score on a fielder’s choice. He reached on a bunt single and stole second in the fourth and finished the day 2-for-4 with a strikeout. Bell hit sixth and went 0-for-4. He grounded out twice and fouled out from the left side and lined out to short in his lone right-handed at bat. Perrault came on in the bottom of the eighth with Phoenix leading 4-3. He fanned the leadoff hitter but then allowed a single followed by a go-ahead two-run shot to C.J. Retherford (White Sox). He sandwiched a single between a strikeout and a flyout in escaping without further damage. Phoenix came up empty in the top of the ninth and Perrault took the blown save and the loss as its run of five straight AFL championships ended with a 5-4 loss to the Peoria Javelinas.
This Week’s Stud: Tanaka bounced back from a pair of atrocious outings by allowing just an unearned run in four innings and fanning four Wednesday.
This Week’s Dud: Perrault made a good showing in Arizona but served up a two-run shot in his outing Wednesday and another Saturday that effectively ended the Desert Dogs dynasty.
Jay LeBlanc is an assistant news editor at The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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