Suitably, the Arkansas Travelers’ season ended as a mirror of how the whole year went.
After taking a 2-1 lead over the San Antonio Missions in the Texas League Championships, the Travelers lost games four and five over the weekend at Dickey-Stephens Park. The season was one of ups and downs and momentum swings, and the end stayed true to form. The Travelers lost the first game 1-0, won the second 1-0 and then scored three runs in the sixth to help in a 4-1 victory in game three. In game four, Arkansas spotted San Antonio a six-run lead before closing the gap and falling 6-5. In last Sunday’s game, the Travs couldn’t erase a 5-0 Mission lead which was highlighted by Johan Limonta’s grand slam home run.
"I’m disappointed we didn’t pull it out, but extremely proud the guys got there," Travs Manager Tim Bogar said. "If we had a few hits here and there, if could have been a different outcome. They (San Antonio) got the hits when they needed them on Saturday. We had a lot to overcome and battled back.
"In Sunday’s game to win a championship, you have to do all the little things right," Bogar said. "They had great pitching, and we knew it would be difficult to score runs. Our guys played well and fought."
After the contest, Bogar told the guys how proud he was of them for getting to the championship. He particularly liked how they listened throughout the season and took instruction. He also wished them all good luck in their careers because he doesn’t know if their paths will cross again.
Looking back on the season, it taught him some things. The Travs had a season of swings from one end of the pendulum to another. In the first half, they had an eight-game winning streak followed by a five-game losing skid. In the second half, Arkansas endured a seven-game losing stretch but ended the season on an eight-game winning streak and made that 11 with victories over Tulsa in the North division championship. Along the way, players also endured dry stretches.
"It was different with all the swings," Bogar said. "It taught me a lot and taught me patience as a coach and as a player. Mostly, it helped in figuring out how to stop a slump quicker at 0-7 instead of 0-12. That comes with maturing and also the tools you have in your bag. It was a growing process and got better. It was good to learn patience."
Several Travelers have received recognition or honors. TOPPS honored right-fielder Randal Grichuk and Tulsa infielder Kyle Parker as August Co-players of the Month. Second baseman Taylor Lindsey and pitcher Brandon Hynick were chosen as 2013 Texas All Stars for the regular season. Five of the Travs were chosen for to play in the Arizona Fall League and include right-handed pitcher Michael Morin, left-hander pitcher Michael Roth, catcher Jett Bandy and infielders C.J. Cron and Taylor Lindsey.