Scottsdale, Arizona – The fall 2022 Arizona League season ended in much the same way the World Championships did: The Astros shot through their chests and exploded in a title-winning frenzy over diamonds.
The longest game in post-season history (11 rounds) concluded when Championship Game MVP Scott Schreiber overcame Surprise’s left midfield gap, swinging the pendulum of the final seesaw game in her favour. For the first time since 2013, Team Saguaros sit on top of the fall circuit with a 7-6 victory.
Surprise never topped the final of a domestic baseball campaign until the last round. Glendale kept the pressure on throughout, but the group of Astros, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers and Royals managed to fall constantly, forcing the match to an 11th place finish.
“I said that on that round, ‘I’m tired of answering all the matches. “As we continue to respond, we continue to reply – fire them,” said surprise manager Mickey Storey. “And Scotty kicked them out.”
Storey, captain of Houston’s Triple-A in Sugar Land, oversaw the third round in AFL history, which had a distinct Astros flavor. Coming into the frame, Will Wagner III—who split in 2022 between High-A Asheville and Double-A Corpus Christi and later enjoyed a breakout campaign in the Fall League (1.145 OPS)—ignited the opposite field double that tied a contest for the fifth time. This paved the way for the Schreiber Championships.
“I was like, ‘Do you want me to stop this or are you going to get out of it?'” Wagner said of a conversation he had with Schreiber. ‘Then I said, ‘I’ll hit the double here, you’ll take it out.’
Consider Wagner the insight.
“It was stressful, but it was also exhilarating,” Schreiber said. “I mean, the bowlers did a great job of keeping us in the match at the end there. Obviously, it’s tough to have a player second, but they kept him in one round and then we were able to produce there to finish the match.”
Schreiber entered the eleventh inning match in a 1-3 appearance of the night with a pair of walkers. He had a chance to play the champ at the bottom of the ninth, but he swung, burning to finish a tough season on the right note.
“I was looking for speed,” Schreiber said. “I’ve been looking for speed for most of the match, especially with the scoring center runners, and luckily I got one that I was able to do some damage with.”
Schreiber, a ninth-round pick by Houston in the 2018 draft from the University of Nebraska, took an uphill road into the desert. Sidelined through back surgery for the first four months of the season, the 27-year-old didn’t fit in until August and was limited to 23 games between the Florida Composite League and Double-A Corpus Christi during the regular season. A mission with Saguaros provided a real golden ticket of opportunity.
Fast forward to Saturday night, and Schreiber found himself cleaning up the Saguaros after an impressive regular season run that saw .340/.404/.540 cuts through 14 contests. A surprise, thanks to her 19-10 record, got a direct farewell to the championship game; You have one game left on the ledger – winner takes all.
The goal of all Fall League participants is to take advantage of success during the fall with an invitation to attend The Show during the spring and summer semesters. This aspect remained on Schreiber’s mind as he finished his year on top, but he still took the time to enjoy the moment watching the ball tumble on the grass on a brisk November night in Arizona.
“It was great,” Schreiber said with a broad smile. “Just a lot of emotion – excitement mostly – but just so grateful that God gave me this opportunity to play in this league, show my skills and be with all these amazing players.”
It’s exciting for Scotty,” Storey said. His last hit, he hit and came back in the dugout, frustrated, he didn’t like the way his racket went.
“Baseball is a great game — you get a chance and you fail; you get a chance, and you fail; and then you get a chance to take advantage and everyone else forgets.”
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