HEROIC EFFORT FROM HOLMBERG PROPELS MILKMEN TO AMERICAN ASSOCIATION CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES VICTORY
Heroic effort from David Holmberg propels Milkmen to American Association Championship Series victory
It didn't take long for David Holmberg to establish himself as the ace of the starting rotation during his first season with the Milwaukee Milkmen.
Finishing with a record of six wins and one loss in 12 starts, Holmberg struck out 76 batters across 73.0 innings pitched this year while leading the American Association with a 2.34 ERA. But the veteran left-hander saved his most superlative performance of the summer for when the lights were shining brightest during the 2020 Championship Series.
Holmberg took the ball in Game Five for the Milkmen against the Sioux Falls Canaries with his team leading the best-of-seven series three games to one. He retired the first six batters he faced before issuing a leadoff walk to Roy Morales in the third, then retired the next 16 Canaries in order. With a title on the line, Holmberg was authoring a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the regular season's top offensive team at a ballpark in The Birdcage known to favor offense. It wasn't until there was one out in the eighth inning that Sioux Falls recorded their first base hit of the contest, a knock off the bat of Jabari Henry. AJ Schugel came on to close successfully close out the inning with a zero, and at the end of his night David Holmberg's line read 7.1 innings pitched, 1 hit, zero runs, and 8 strikeouts.
As is typically the case with any no-hit bid, Holmberg's stellar performance was aided by tremendous defense behind him. Third baseman Logan Trowbridge, shortstop Mason Davis, and second baseman Dylan Tice all made diving or charging plays on the infield, and David Washington was masterfully scooping throws over at first base. Each of the outfielders added catches deep in the ballpark, too.
Milwaukee got on the board early in this game, with Washington starting the scoring with a long solo home run to right field off Tyler Herron in the second inning. From there, the team never looked back. Two more runs were tacked on in the fifth when Christian Correa singled to lead off and was driven home by a two-run blast off the bat of Trowbridge. Milwaukee pushed their fourth and final run across in the eighth, when Washington lofted a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded against Ryan Fritze.
Peyton Gray came on to close things out in the ninth inning. He did allow three hits and a run, but struck out two batters, including Jabari Henry to end the ballgame and secure the 4-1 victory.
Milwaukee won the Championship Series four games to one, and during the celebration and presentation of the Miles Wolff Trophy on the field after the ballgame, outfielder Zach Nehrir was named series MVP. He hit .389 during the five games in the series, collecting three doubles and two home runs among seven hits. He drove in six runs and also walked four times.
Now that the 2020 American Association season has concluded, we can reflect back on the mark that this year's Milwaukee Milkmen squad made on league history. No manager had ever before won an AA Championship during their rookie season, and now that changes with Anthony Barone's remarkable first season at the helm. Milwaukee also becomes the quickest expansion franchise to win a league title, getting to the ultimate goal in only their second year of existence. Finally, this marks the first professional baseball championship for the city of Milwaukee since the Braves won the World Series way back in 1957.
The 2020 season was one that Milkmen fans will never forget, but soon the offseason will begin in earnest and the team will have to turn the page to 2021. Stay tuned to milwaukeemilkmen.com throughout the winter to keep up with all the latest news and transactions that you need to know about Milwaukee's championship baseball team.