Spikes Win Franchise’s First NYPL Championship and Become the Second Cardinals Affiliate to Win a League Title in 2014

Christopher Shannon reporting for WaxCracker.com.

State College Spikes NYPL Championship
The State College Spikes celebrate their New York-Penn League championship in Troy, NY. (Photo courtesy of the State College Spikes)
Kyle Grana State College Spikes NYPL Playoffs
State College closer Kyle Grana gets a high five from catcher Luis Cruz after finishing out the Spikes’ game one victory in the NYPL Championship Series.  The Spikes won the best-of-three NYPL Championship Series  over the Tri-City ValleyCats 2-1  (Photo by Christopher Shannon)

The hunt is finished.  The State College Spikes (St. Louis Cardinals) won their best-of-3 series against the Tri-City ValleyCats (Houston Astros) to claim their first ever New York-Penn League title.

The Spikes were led by their pitching staff throughout the post season until their offense finally came alive in the final game of the NYPL Championship Series.  While the Spikes’ offense could only muster a measly .199 team batting average, the State College pitching staff combined to finished the playoffs with a sparkling 0.87 ERA.

In the championship series, the Spikes scored wins in games one and three to take the rematch of last year’s NYPL Championship, and the Alice H. Nader Cup, 2-1.  On the mound, the Spikes started Trey Nielsen, Austin Gomber, and Daniel Poncedeleon.  Nielsen went six scoreless innings in a 2-0 State College shutout at Medlar Field in game one.  Game two starter, Austin Gomber did not find as much success on the mound, as he worked two innings and gave up three runs (two earned) as the Spikes dropped game two 3-0.  Poncedeleon pitched another gem for State College in the third, and final game, of the championship series going six innings and allowing no runs in an 11-2 victory.

At the plate, the Spikes were led by Nick Thompson (3-13, three runs scored, two RBIs, and a homerun) and Luis Cruz (3-8, one double, one triple, and an RBI).

The series win made State College the second team in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system to win a league title in 2014.  Johnson City, a Cardinals Rookie level affiliate, also won the Appalachian League title.

Luis Cruz State College Spikes NYPL Playoffs
State College’s Luis Cruz is congratulated by Manager Oliver Marmol after Cruz hit a RBI triple in the second inning of game one of the NYPL Championship Series. (Photo by Christopher Shannon)
Trey Nielsen, and the State College pitching staff, carried the Spikes throughout the NYPL Playoffs.  (Photo by Christopher Shannon)
Trey Nielsen, and the State College pitching staff, carried the Spikes throughout the NYPL Playoffs. (Photo by Christopher Shannon)