Phoenix Top Dog in AFL East
Danny Espinosa (WAS) had three hits and drove-in four runs and Josh Bell (BAL) cracked a three-run homer to cap a seven-run 4th, as the Phoenix Desert Dogs drubbed the Mesa Solar Sox 11-1 this afternoon at HoHoKam Park, clinching the AFL East crown and earning a berth in the 2009 AFL Championship Game versus the Peoria Javelinas next Saturday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium.
Starlin Castro (playing 2B and batting 2nd) and Josh Vitters (playing 3B and hitting 6th) were in the Solar Sox original starting lineup, but Vitters was a last-minute scratch. I don't know why Vitters was pulled, but he did suffer a muscle strain taking batting practice a couple of weeks ago, so perhaps that problem flared-up.
Castro got four AB, and went 1-4. He lined-out to the CF (laser-rope) in the bottom of the 1st, ripped a ground-single through the box into CF, stole 2nd, and advanced to 3rd on an overthrow in the third. grounded out 4-3 (outstanding stop & throw by Desert Dogs 2B Jemile Weeks) on a "bang-bang" play in the 5th, and popped out to 3rd on the first pitch he saw leading off the bottom of the 8th.
Andrew Cashner is scheduled to make his final AFL start for the Solar Sox tomorrow afternoon against the Surprise Rafters at HoHoKam Park.