The Bull Oceanic Winter League (BOWL) playoffs have ended in spectacular fashion as the Tunis Freemen take the postseason prize in an 8-3 drubbing of the Lagos Millionaires, in a game that featured a 7-run inning for the victors, and 3 errors committed by the vanquished Millionaires.
The Tunis side was made up of the lower minor system players from the Chicago Pit Bulls and the Seattle Salts, and the squad proved themselves to be very capable indeed as starter Scott Herrera, an A-level right-hander for Chicago’s Peoria Mosquitos, accomplished his 7th win of the tournament.
It was quite an outing for Herrera, who faced 29 batters, striking out 7 of them, while not allowing a single walk. He held the Lagos side to just 3 runs on 9 hits.
For their part, Lagos had put up a great offense all through the winter ball tournament. Finishing with a 24-12 record, and earning the 2nd wildcard entry into the knock-out round, the Millionaires dispatched the top tournament round-robin team, Algiers, in an 11-10 extra-innings victory.
Lagos was drawing their talent from the Norfolk Sharks and the Montreal Metros, two organizations with talent to spare. Though the Metros have no top-50 prospects in their system, their minor league teams have been consistently good, and have finished in 1st or 2nd at all levels from Short Season A and up. Norfolk has improved by leaps and strides and could be poised to go far in 2018.
The BOWL winter season has wrapped up now, and the players have returned to their host organizations. Baseball interest is up in the African home cities chosen for the winter camps, and of course in Sydney, Australia, where the BOWL was hosted this year.
The next big adventure for these kids will be rookie league in Florida, for some, and a spring training invitation for even fewer. But most will be in a holding pattern until late May when the minor leagues are back into action.