The following are updates on local baseball players at the minor league level.
Christian Bergman (St. Francis High, 2006) starting pitcher, Tri-City Dust Devils: Bergman was impressive up to the very end for the Tri-City Dust Devils, but it wasn’t enough to earn his team a league championship.
The Dust Devils (44-32), the class-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, advanced all the way to the Northwest League Championship Series against the Vancouver Canadians, but dropped the three-game set.
The St. Francis graduate finished the regular season with a 7-5 record and 2.59 earned-run average. He accumulated two shutouts, 68 strikeouts in 97.1 innings pitched, held opposing batters to a .226 batting average and was just as impressive in the postseason.
Bergman, a Northwest League All-Star, recorded a shutout against the Boise Hawks for his first professional playoff victory on Sept. 5. He went on to notch his second postseason win in the second game of the Northwest League Championship series against the Canadians on Sept. 10 after Vancouver took the series opener, 6-3, on Sept. 9.
Bergman was able to pick up his second professional playoff victory, but it was tougher to come by, as he gave up eight hits, including a homer, two runs and struck out four batters in six innings. He exited the game with his team up, 5-2, and the Dust Devils’ bullpen came through and held Vancouver to just one run over the next three innings, as Tri-City got the 5-3 win.
Tri-City’s season came to a close Sept. 11 after dropping the deciding game of the best-of-three series, 9-2.
Joe De Pinto (St. Francis High, 2007) second baseman, Great Falls Voyagers: De Pinto knew he’d be counted on to produce in the playoffs, entering the postseason as the team’s most valuable player after a team vote at the end of the regular season.
De Pinto lived up to the honor and finished the regular season with a .285 batting average (75 for 263), 18 doubles, five home runs, 46 runs batted in and seven steals. He also maintained a .388 on-base and .433 slugging percentage.
The Great Falls Voyagers, a rookie league squad with the Chicago White Sox, faced the Missoula Osprey in the Pioneer League’s North Division best-of-three playoff series after the Osprey won the first half of the Pioneer League North Division’s season with a 25-13 record (41-35 overall) and Great Falls took the second half with a 25-13 record (42-34) — one game better than the second-place Billings Mustangs.
De Pinto went 0 for two with a walk in the first game of the playoffs, an 8-3 Great Falls win on Sept. 9, one for three in the second game, an 11-1 Missoula win on Sept. 10, and 0 for two with two walks in the series’ deciding game, a 12-2 Great Falls win on Sept. 11.
The Voyagers advanced to the Pioneer League Championship series against the Ogden Raptors, which began Tuesday, and De Pinto continued his solid production. The St. Francis graduate went two for four with two singles, a sacrifice bunt and RBI in the game. Great Falls went on to win the game, 9-7.
De Pinto produced in what turned out to be the deciding game of the Pioneer League Championship series. De Pinto went one for three with a single, walk and stolen base in a 7-1 win against the Raptors, as the Voyagers swept the three-game series and captured the Pioneer League title.
Bryan Longpre (Crescenta Valley High, 2005) pitcher, Vancouver Canadians: Longpre didn’t end the regular season the way he would’ve liked, giving up at least one run in each of his last five appearances, but he had a chance to make up for it in the postseason.
The Vancouver Canadians, a class-A short-season squad for the Toronto Blue Jays, qualified for the playoffs after winning the first half of the Northwest League’s West Division’s season with a 24-14 record (39-37 overall).
Longpre made his first playoff appearance in the second game of the Northwest League’s West Division series against the Eugene Emeralds on Sept. 6. It was a bounce-back effort for the former Falcon, as he struck out two batters and didn’t allow a hit or run in one inning of work to finish off a 10-3 Vancouver victory.
The Canadians dropped the first game of the series on Sept. 5, 8-3, but advanced to the next round of the playoffs with a 5-4 win over the Emeralds on Sept. 7. Longpre made another appearance in the deciding game, pitching 2/3 of an inning, giving up two hits, a run and striking out two batters in the game.
The win advanced Vancouver to the Northwest League Championship series against the Dust Devils. The Canadians won the first game of the series on Sept. 9, 6-3, and dropped the next game when Bergman started, 5-3, on Sept. 10.
Longpre made his final appearance of the season in the series’ deciding game and was able to go out on top. He pitched two innings and gave up two hits and a run. He did manage to record a hold, while striking out three batters, and helping his team become the 2011 Northwest League champs.