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Hot Rods Win Second-Straight SAL Championship

September 22, 2022 - South Atlantic League (SAL) - Bowling Green Hot Rods News Release

SAL Champions Bowling Green Hot Rods
SAL Champions Bowling Green Hot Rods
(Bowling Green Hot Rods)

Aberdeen, Maryland- Austin Vernon led the pitching staff in a historic shutout in the Bowling Green Hot Rods (2-1) 4-0 victory over the Aberdeen IronBirds (1-2) to win their third championship, and second SAL title in a row. The Hot Rods have won three championships in the last four seasons.

The game was scoreless through four innings, but Bowling Green took the lead in the fifth. With the bases loaded, Aberdeen reliever Kade Strowd balked with two outs to score Logan Driscoll and give the Hot Rods a 1-0 lead. Strowd bounced back to strike out Alexander Ovalles to end the inning and keep it a one-run game.

BG extended their lead in the seventh against Strowd and Nick Richmond. Johan Lopez singled to left and Michael Berglund singled to center. Abiezel Ramirez laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved each runner up a base and Mason Auer doubled down the left-field line, plating them both to give the Hot Rods a 3-0 edge. Richmond replaced Strowd and Ovalles grounded out to short, moving Auer to third. With two outs, Tanner Murray singled to center, driving in Auer to give the Hot Rods a 4-0 advantage.

The Bowling Green bullpen was spectacular, spinning nine shutout innings. Antonio Menendez locked down the ninth, securing the trophy and a rowdy celebration at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.

Ben Peoples left after 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing one hit with three walks and four strikeouts in a no-decision. Austin Vernon (1-0) threw 3.1 shutout frames, holding Aberdeen to two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in a win. Evan Reifert threw 2.0 scoreless, allowing a hit with three strikeouts. Menendez struck out one in the ninth to finish off the win.

Notes: Berglund had the first postseason hit of his career... He had three hits in Wednesday's game... That ties a club record for the most hits in a single playoff game... Hot Rods pitching struck out 12... The pitching staff threw the first shutout since the 2018 Hot Rods threw one on September 12 against the Peoria Chiefs in the opening game of the Midwest League Championship Series... It's the second postseason shutout in team history... The pitching staff struck out 12... They punched out at least 10 in every game this postseason.... The Hot Rods held their opponents to 15 earned runs in the 2022 playoffs... 13 of those runs were scored on Wednesday... The only game won by a road team in the entire 2022 SAL postseason was BG's title clinching win on Wednesday... The Hot Rods become the seventh team in 11 seasons to win the SAL title while on the road.... The last team tow in back-to-back SAL championships was the Lexington Legends.... They did it in 2018 and 2019... Fans can get their tickets for the 2023 Hot Rods season by calling 270-901-2121 or by visiting

Images from this story

Bowling Green Hot Rods celebrate win
Bowling Green Hot Rods celebrate win

SAL Champions Bowling Green Hot Rods
SAL Champions Bowling Green Hot Rods


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