09/20/2004 7:00 PM - The St. Paul Saints rallied for an incredible ninth inning comeback on Sunday, defeating the Schaumburg Flyers, 10-6 to capture the 2004 Northern League Championship Series, three games to two. The game was played at Midway Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota.
It was the fourth title in the 12-year history of the modern Northern League for St. Paul, which previously won in 1993, 1995, and 1996. The four championships match the Winnipeg Goldeyes for the most in league history.
The Saints trailed, 6-3 with one on and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning. A double and three straight singles, the last by Tonayne Brown, tied the game at 6-6. Following a walk to load the bases, first baseman Marc Mirizzi hit a walkoff grand slam homer off Schaumburgs Lyle Prempas for the victory.
Northern League all-star closer Chris Chavez earned his second victory of this series after pitching a scoreless top of the ninth. Schaumburgs Brett Weber was the loser in relief.
St. Paul second baseman Justin Hall, who batted .429 (9-21) and hit safely in all five games, was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the Championship Series.
This marked just the second time in the history of the Northern League that the Championship Series went to a fifth and deciding game.
Sundays game concludes the 12th year of operation for the Northern League, the oldest and highest attended Independent League in professional baseball. The league will add Calgary and Edmonton in 2005, expanding to a total of 12 teams.
2004 NORTHERN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES RESULTS
St. Paul Wins, 3-2
Tuesday, Sept. 14at Schaumburg 5, St. Paul 4
Wednesday, Sept. 15St. Paul 5, at Schaumburg 4 (10 innings)
Friday, Sept. 17Schaumburg 8, at St. Paul 7
Saturday, Sept. 18at St. Paul 7, Schaumburg 0
Sunday, Sept.19at St. Paul 10, Schaumburg 6
NORTHERN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES, 1993-2004
Year Winner Loser Series
1993 St. Paul Saints Rochester Aces 3-1
1994 Winnipeg Goldeyes Sioux City Explorers 3-1
1995 St. Paul Saints Winnipeg Goldeyes 3-1
1996 St. Paul Saints Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 3-0
1997 Duluth-Superior Dukes Winnipeg Goldeyes 3-2
1998 Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks St. Paul Saints 3-0
1999* Winnipeg Goldeyes Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 3-0
2000* Duluth-Superior Dukes Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 3-0
2001* Winnipeg Goldeyes Lincoln Saltdogs 3-1
2002* Winnipeg Goldeyes Sioux City Explorers 3-1
2003 Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Winnipeg Goldeyes 3-1
2004 St. Paul Saints Schaumburg Flyers 3-2
*Northern League Central Division final. Championship Series was played vs. Northeast League