LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In each of the last three seasons, the Louisville Bats have beaten Indianapolis in walk-off fashion on the final day of the season. They closed the 2016 campaign with another win over the Indians, but took care of things a little earlier this time.
Keury Mella had a strong outing in his Triple A debut and the Bats got the go-ahead run in the 7th and a pair of insurance runs in the 8th to down Indy 4-1 and finish the season at 71-73, a game in front of the visitors for second place in the competitive International League West. The Bats took three of the last four from the Indians and topped 70 wins for the first time in five years. .
"I've been saying for the past month, folks should really tip their cap to the job Delino DeShields has done," said Bats Vice President Greg Galiette. "The numerous changes in our roster, especially pitching-wise in the first half of this year, that took place with the Cincinnati Reds. It seems like we were sending guys up and down Interstate 71 constantly. So for him to battle through that and keep us in contention throughout the year, I think is a great job done by him and his staff."
Mella is a highly-regarded right-hander from the Dominican Republic who came over from San Francisco in the Mike Leake deal. He allowed a solo home run to Tam Sing in the fifth but gave up just two other hits and in seven innings of work. A.J. Harris pitched a scoreless 8th and Kevin Shackelford a clean 9th to close things out. Seth Mejias Brean had two hits and two RBI, while Steve Selsky and Tony Renda each had a pair of hits. Renda's single to left drove in Beau Amaral in the 7th to make it 2-1.
Hernan Iribarren, one of the recent call-ups by the Reds claimed the International League batting title, finishing at .327. He's the first Bat to win it since moving to the IL in 1998. Jesse Winker also finished in the top ten in the league in hitting, going 3-for-4 Monday to finish at .303.
Galiette said attendance was down this year, in large part due to persistent heat and rain on inopportune weekends. But he added, "We're going to draw over 500,000 which means we're the only minor league baseball team in the country for 17 straight years that has done that."
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