T-Bones’ Perio named championship MVP

Noah Perio Jr.

The American Association announced that Noah Perio Jr. was named the MVP of the Championship Series for Kansas City in the club’s three games to one series win over the St. Paul Saints Saturday night at T-Bones Stadium in Kansas City, Kansas.

Perio Jr. was named Finals MVP after going 6-for-18 at the plate with three doubles, two home runs and five RBIs in the series.

He helped the club get off to a crucial fast start in the series opener, going 3-for-6 with two home runs, including a two-run shot in the first inning of the T-Bones 11-4 win in game one of the series.

In game three Perio Jr. had two doubles, and he added another double and an RBI in KC’s 5-3 victory over the Saints in the clincher. He hit .297 for the season with KC, with eight home runs and 57 RBIs, tying for the team lead with Keith Curcio.

His work was all part of a late season run that saw the California native finish on a two-week high. He had 18 RBIs in the penultimate week then closed out the final week with 10 RBIs, totaling 28 to close out the last two weeks of the season.

Perio Jr. had seven RBIs in the second to the last home series against Sioux City. Then in the Southern Division series, he worked two big walks and scored in both at bats of a 5-2 game three win over the Explorers.

Perio Jr was acquired by Kansas City via trade on July 8 in a one-for-one deal with St. Paul for fellow infielder Zach Walters.

Perio Jr. had a strong first half of the season with St. Paul. While with the Saints, Perio Jr. batted .311, with 17 RBIs and 57 hits. The California native was drafted in the 39th round in the 2009 June amateur draft by the Florida Marlins.

He spent parts of six seasons with the Marlins organization, reaching AA Jacksonville. He then played 2015 with Sioux City before joining the Dodgers system in 2016, again reaching AA. He would once again wind up with Sioux City in 2016.

In 2017 he spent the entire season at AA San Antonio in the Texas League with the San Diego Padres before returning to “Indy” ball in 2018, signing with St. Paul.

The T-Bones were crowned Champions of the American Association with a 5-3 win over St. Paul on Saturday night at T-Bones Stadium. It was the club’s first title in the league. The franchise won two previous championships as members of the Northern League, the last coming in 2008.
– Story from T-Bones

T-Bones win one for the Ehlerts

The T-Bones celebrated their championship on Saturday night at T-Bones Stadium. (Photo by Steve Rupert)

by Alan Hoskins

If the Ehlert family indeed does sell the Kansas City T-Bones baseball team, they’ll go out at the top of the game.

Riding the managerial genius of Joe Calfapietra, the biggest home run in club history and stingy relief pitching, the T-Bones won the 2018 American Association championship Saturday with a 5-3 win over the St. Paul Saints. It was the first AA championship for the T-Bones, who twice won Northern League championships, the last time in 2008.

This one was extra special because of the adversity the club faced during the season. Major league franchises signed eight players off the T-Bones roster during the season; three others signed with the Mexican League. And yet Calfapietra and General Manager Chris Browne kept coming up with solid replacements.

“Best manager I’ve ever played for,” said Royals Hall of Famer and first base coach Frank White. “Just great,” added pitching coach Bill Sobbe. “Every time we’d lose someone, Joe would find someone to take his place.”

“We’ve been so resilient all year; there was no stopping us,” Calfapietra said. Voted the league’s Manager of the Year, the club finished the regular season with a 62-37 record, the most wins in franchise history.

To win the title, the T-Bones also had to defeat the Sioux City Explorers, who won the Southern Division title by a whopping nine games.

After splitting the first two playoff games at home, the T-Bones won two of the three at Sioux City, the clincher 4-2 behind the efforts of pitching ace Tommy Collier, the league’s biggest winner at 13-4.

Splitting the first two games at Northern Division champion St. Paul (winning 11-4, losing 6-0), the T-Bones took the pivotal third game, rallying from a 3-0 deficit behind the pitching of Collier and two home runs by Todd Cunningham, one a game-winning grand slam.

Cuban born second baseman Alay Lago, who was acquired July 24, provided the game’s biggest blow in the game-clinching 5-3 win Saturday.

With the T-Bones trailing 3-2 in the sixth, Adrian Nieto singled and Lago followed with a two-run home run, a blast that soared far over the wall just inside the foul pole in left field. It was only the 13th home run of Lago’s career in nearly 400 games.

“It’s obviously a huge homer;” said Lago through a translator. “In this stage, in a championship game, it’s a big moment.”

The T-Bones tacked on another run on Noah Perio’s ground rule double in the seventh and Nick Lee and relief ace Cody Winiarski took it from there. Lee retired five in a row before giving up a two-out single before Winiarski retired the final four Saints.

Kansas City was without a hit against southpaw Chris Nunn the first four innings but still mustered a 1-0 lead. Cunningham walked in the fourth and scored on a ground ball, wild pitch and Nieto’s sacrifice fly.

St. Paul scored all of its runs in the fifth. After a walk and an RBI double by Joey Wong tied the game and kayoed starter Jared Mortensen, Kyle Barrett and Brady Shoemaker greeted reliever Marcus Crescentini with run-scoring singles and a 3-1 lead.

Keith Curio finally broke up Nunn’s no-hitter with a ringing double to right with one out in the fifth and scored on Danny Hayes’s single and Lago and the relief corps took it from there. Crescentini, who retired the side in order in the sixth, got the win.

The final out, a fly ball, touched off a wild on-field celebration by the T-Bones.

“I want to thank the players, the coaches, everyone in our organization,” T-Bones owner John Ehlert said in accepting the championship trophy along with his son, team president Adam Ehlert. The Ehlerts have announced that because of age they are looking for new ownership for the club, preferably new local ownership.

In 17 seasons, the T-Bones finished above .500 just three times but twice won Northern League titles with sub-.500 records.

More than 2,200 turned out for the championship game including a big contingent from St. Paul, Minnesota.

To see more photos from the game, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/t-bones-win-5-3-to-claim-american-association-championship/.