Taxi squad member Jason Martinson hit a ball so hard and so far in his first game in Arizona last month that pitching coach Mark Grater said the umpires did not know how to rule it and called it foul. But it definitely was close to being fair.
There was no doubt Thursday for Martinson, who crushed a two-run shot in the eighth as a pinch hitter, capping off a 7-3 regular season finale win for the Salt River Rafters over Surprise.
Designated hitter Brian Goodwin had a double and run scored, while third baseman Anthony Rendon went 1-for-1 with two walks and two runs scored. Rendon also stole two bases. Cole Kimball allowed one run on four hits over two innings, with one walk and two strikeouts.
The Rafters finished the regular season 17-13, the best record in the East Division, and now face the Peoria Javelinas for the AFL crown Saturday at 3:10 p.m. on MLB Network.
Salt River's Ryan Perry gets the start.
I would expect Nationals prospects Goodwin, Rendon and Matt Skole to start Saturday in the one-game, winner-take-all final, and Grater said they should have "10 pitchers available." With Perry starting, there's still a good chance to see Aaron Barrett, Paul Demny and possibly Kimball in a specialist role. And then some late-inning Martinson heroics to put icing on the cake? Makes for a good Saturday.