’Riders don’t hang heads
SWB accomplished plenty in run to second straight appearance in Governors’ Cup final.
MOOSIC — Navy blue Yankees equipment bags occupied much of the free space in the RailRiders clubhouse Friday night. Rodriguez, Diaz retire. Holder, Andujar get call. McKinney among players eligible for Rule 5 Draft. Players packed them for their trips home, cleaning out their lockers like kids on the last day of school.
Minutes earlier, the Durham Bulls clinched the Governors’ Cup championship, knocking off the RailRiders in four games and ending SWB’s bid to repeat as champs.
The mood in the clubhouse wasn’t one of disappointment. It wasn’t silent. Players held their heads high, shook hands and said their goodbyes.
There was a sense of accomplishment; a sense of a season well done, even if the result wasn’t what they wanted. Repeating was always an uphill climb. Only Columbus (2010-11, 1991-92), Toledo (2005-06) and Durham (2002-03) have accomplished the feat since the SWB franchise began in 1989.
These RailRiders still posted the league’s best record in the regular season at 86-55. The offense led the league in runs per game, batting average, onbase percentage and slugging
percentage — the first time that’s been done since 2004 — and hit more home runs than any other SWB team in the Yankees era. The pitchers became the first group in franchise history to strike out more than 1,200 in one season and led the league in ERA and WHIP.
“I just told them, ‘I’m just going to go home feeling good about this team,’ ” said RailRiders manager Al Pedrique, who took home his second