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Goldeyes Finish with Win, Play Lincoln in Playoffs

WINNIPEG, MB – Winnipeg Goldeyes catcher Mason Katz finished his first season in the American Association with a bang.

And, in the process, the Winnipeg Goldeyes eliminated the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks from the 2017 post-season party.

On Monday after in downtown Winnipeg, Katz had four hits, three of them were solo home runs, he scored three and drove in three and raised his batting average to .268 as he led the Goldeyes to an 8-3 win over Fargo on the final day of the 2017 regular season.

Playing in front of a crowd of 5,716 at Shaw Park in downtown Winnipeg, the Goldeyes eliminated the RedHawks from the post-season after the Gary SouthShore RailCats beat Lincoln 3-2 in downtown Gary to claim the Wild Card spot. That means the 62-38 Goldeyes, the team with the best record in the league this season, will take on the Lincoln Saltdogs in the first round of the playoffs. Gary will play Wichita.

The Goldeyes spilt the final series with Fargo, but finished 8-2 over their final 10 games of the year. It was the second best 100-game record in Goldeyes history.

“It was really an outstanding season,” said Goldeyes owner and President Sam Katz. “We didn’t get off to a great start and had some early trouble with the better teams in the league, but we really turned things around in July and had an outstanding August (24-7) and finished with our best record since 2014.

“Rick (manager Forney) put together a tremendous ball club. It’s a team that had everything. Hitting, pitching and great defense. Goldeyes fans could not have asked for a better team or a better season.”

On Monday, starting pitcher Charle Rosario (11-5, 3.06 ERA) was the star. Rosario pitched seven complete innings and allowed only two runs on four hits and earned the win. Coincidentally, Rosario was acquired from Gary midway through the season and on the final day of the year, he shut down Fargo, thus allowing Gary – which owned the Wild Card tiebreaker – to claim the final playoff spot.

Victoire Capellan pitched a scoreless eighth inning and then Ryan Chaffee came on in the ninth, gave up a solo homer to Charlie Valerio of the RedHawks, but hung to give Winnipeg the lopsided win.

The Goldeyes outhit Fargo 12-7. Katz was the star, but leadoff man Casey Turgeon (.339) had three hits and scored two runs. Shawn Pleffner, who played in all 100 games for Winnipeg, went zero-for-three with two walks, but finished the season batting .340 and won the American Association batting crown. Reggie Abercrombie (.272) went two-for-five with an RBI; Andrew Sohn (.302) went two-for-four with two runs scored; and David Rohm (.279) went one-for-three with a walk, a run scored and two driven in.

“Charle (Rosario) was outstanding for us today,” said Goldeyes manager Rick Forney. “And Mason Katz finished the year with 19 home runs and 63 RBI and you just can’t ask for more out of the No. 8 hole in your lineup. I’d guess he was the best No. 8-hitter in the league. He had a tremendous season and a great finish.”

The Goldeyes begin postseason play this Wednesday against Lincoln. The Goldeyes will play Games 1 and 2 of the American Association Division Series on the road before returning home for Game 3 on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 6:05 p.m. The “if necessary” Games 5 and 5 will also be played at Shaw Park on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 4:05 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 11 at 7:05 p.m.

Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports

Photo – Dan LeMoal

Editor of the popular Game On Hockey Magazine and The Point After Football Magazine, editor of Canadian Meat Business Magazine, sports editor of Grassroots News, TV play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and author of the bestselling book: The Winnipeg Jets: A Celebration of Professional Hockey in Winnipeg. He likes virgin pina coladas, long walks on the beach, puppies and thoroughbred race horses that run according to form.
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