While the major league club was unable to make the playoffs this year, an impressive 3 Padres minor league affiliates were able to, including short season A club Tri-City in their first year of partnership, low A Fort Wayne, and most promisingly AAA El Paso.
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Fort Wayne won the second half division title over West Michigan. Unfortunately, as Bill Center reports, Fort Wayne was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round. In Thursday’s elimination game, right handed pitcher Ernesto Montas allowed two runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. Second baseman Josh Van Meter went 2-4 with a double, while Michael Gettys drove in the only run in their 2-1 loss to West Michigan.
Meanwhile in short season A the Hillsboro Hops scored in the bottom of the 8th to win their game 2-1 over Tri-City in the first of the best of 3 series. Offensively for Tri-City, shortstop Peter Van Gansen was 2-3 while first baseman and SDSU grad Ty France went 2-4 in the losing effort. Game 2 is Saturday night in Washington.
El Paso now finds themselves down 0-2 in a best of 5 series against the AAA Fresno Grizzlies. Outfielder Hunter Renfroe homered as did demoted Padre Will Middlebrooks in the 5-4 loss. The series shifts to El Paso for Game 3. Robbie Erlin, who had a 7-6 record this season despite a 5.60 ERA will take the hill and try to stave off elimination after a fierce end of season playoff fight for El Paso.
The playoffs are exciting no matter what level they are played at, and hopefully the post season will build some valuable experience as these youngsters work there way up the ladder. A winning culture must be earned and hopefully these players can get used to winning all the way through the minor league system and bring that success with them all the way to San Diego.
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