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Osprey soar to Pioneer League title
Lamb drives in four, helps Missoula coast in decisive game
09/15/2012 1:17 AM ET
Missoula celebrate its second Pioneer League championship in seven years.
Missoula celebrate its second Pioneer League championship in seven years. (Missoula Osprey)
Jake Lamb got a taste of what it's like to be a Minor Leaguer in the Diamondbacks organization on Friday night.

Lamb homered and drove in four runs as Missoula cruised to a 10-0 romp over Ogden in the decisive third game of the Pioneer League Championship Series.

The 21-year-old third baseman reached on an error and scored in a five-run first inning that sent the Osprey on the way to their first title since 2006. He drilled a two-run homer in the fourth and added an RBI single in the eighth.

"He's been the cornerstone of our team from the beginning of the year," Missoula manager Andy Green said. "He did everything he needed to do to propel us to a championship. His defense is already on par with a big league third baseman and his hitting is outstanding. He's got all the pop he needs to play for a long time."

After losing Game 2, 13-7, the Osprey set the tone early on Friday. In a season that saw them go from under .500 in the first half to winning the North Division in the second, facing a win or go home situation was nothing new.

"Our kids have shown a resiliency beyond their years the last couple of weeks," said Green, who played for the D-backs and Mets during a four-year Major League career. "We had our backs against the wall tonight, and to jump on them early gave us all the momentum we needed to win the championship.

"This club was on the brink of elimination on six different occasions. They are thrilled. They fought like mad to be here and be champions and they deserve all the praise for it."

Missoula became the second Arizona affiliate to win a championship on Friday, hours after Mobile captured its second straight Southern League crown. Reno, the D-backs' Triple-A affiliate, needs one more victory to win the Pacific Coast League title.

"It says a great deal about the organization," Green said. "Collectively as an organization we threw 27 shutout innings tonight, and it says something about the culture [director of player development] Mike Bell is developing and it says something about the talent they are developing."

Yoimer Camacho (2-0) had little trouble protecting the early lead, limiting the Raptors to three hits and three walks while striking out four over five innings.

"He was outstanding tonight," Green said. "He pitched the decisive game in the Great Falls series and was outstanding. He really stepped up late in the season."

Chase Stevens allowed one hit over two innings and Vince Spilker pitched around a hit in the eighth before Justin Thompson tossed a perfect ninth to complete the shutout.

Socrates Brito went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs and Yosbel Gutierrez smacked a two-run homer for Missoula.

Delvis Morales and Jesus Valdez had two hits apiece for the Raptors, who were seeking their first title since 1969. Ogden boasted the league's top overall record (44-32) and reached the Championship Series for the third year in a row.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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