’Rid­ers don’t hang heads

SWB ac­com­plished plenty in run to se­cond straight ap­pear­ance in Gov­er­nors’ Cup fi­nal.

The Times-Tribune - - Sports - STAFF WRITER BY CONOR FOLEY

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

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