Bryan, TX- In just their second season as members of the Texas Collegiate League, the Seguin River Monsters hoisted the Gerald W. Haddock Trophy on Saturday night in Bryan, TX as TCL Champions, as they defeated the Brazos Valley Bombers 3-1.
To get to the Championship, the River Monsters defeated the 31-win Victoria Generals in a best-of-three series that went the distance, with Seguin winning the series clinching game 5-2 in Victoria.
But their play-off run started well before the 3 game set with the Generals. The River Monsters started off the season 4-14 and endured a 7-game June losing streak that had basically written Seguin off as a contender for the second summer. But those in the dugout and around the team never stopped believing.
It would take a monumental turnaround to make the playoffs, and that's exactly what the ‘Sters did. With their backs against the wall all of July, they fought to earn 2nd place in the standings for the second half of the season and clinch the 3rd seed and their first playoff birth in franchise history.
Back to back home wins in their final two regular season games at Smokey Joe, on the backs of brillant pitching performances by Braelin Pillot (UTSA) and Thomas Kuykendall (Arkansas-Little Rock), were the wins the ‘Sters needed to lock up a postseason spot one day before the final game of their regular season.
Playing their best baseball of the season, Seguin put up a 10-spot in a game 1 versus Victoria. The double digit playoff runs were started off by a first inning 3-run blast by OF Adrian Torres (UTRGV). Michael Quevedo (Nicholls State) would keep the Generals bats at bay through 6 innings earning the win.
Seguin would drop game 2, a high scoring affair, 12-9, at a packed Riverside Stadium in Victoria. Even in that game they showed that River Monster fight, battling back from a 9-0 deficit to start the game.
The River Monsters would go back to Kuykendall, who sent them to the playoffs, in game 3 and the lefty held the Generals to just 1 run over 6 plus innings before passing the ball off to Ruger Riojas (UTSA), the TCL Relief Pitcher of the Year, who was absolutely lights out over the final 3 and two thirds innings. Riojas would enter in a bases loaded one-out jam, and struck out both batters needing just 7 pitches total. He then proceeded to strike out the side in the 7th, retiring the first 5 batters he faced via the K.
Seguin wasn’t satisfied with just making the championship game though, and went into College Station ready to get their first win of the season at Edible Field.