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Green with Envy: Emeralds win first outright title in 41 years

Northwest League Pitcher of the Year leads Eugene past Everett in decisive Game 3
MLB.com

In a winner-take-all game, with the Northwest League Championship on the line, the Eugene Emeralds turned to their ace and Manuel Rondon delivered.

Rondon, the Northwest League Pitcher of the Year, threw five innings of one-run ball as Class A Short Season Eugene topped Everett, 2-1, winning the club's fifth league title in three games.

In a winner-take-all game, with the Northwest League Championship on the line, the Eugene Emeralds turned to their ace and Manuel Rondon delivered.

Rondon, the Northwest League Pitcher of the Year, threw five innings of one-run ball as Class A Short Season Eugene topped Everett, 2-1, winning the club's fifth league title in three games.

The championship marks the Emeralds' first outright title since 1975, although they did share a championship with Bellingham in 1980 after the final game of the series was rained out.

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Rondon has had a stellar year for the Emeralds as he went 6-1 with a 1.10 ERA and allowed two earned runs or fewer in all 12 of his starts. Manager Jesus Feliciano set up his playoff rotation so that Rondon would get the ball in the final game and the decision paid off.

The 21-year-old lefty fired 52 of his 81 pitches for strikes, struck out three and scattered six hits.

On the other side, Reggie McClain, who was 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA in the second half this season, also threw a good game, but it was not quite enough for Everett. McClain struck out six, but gave up two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Eugene took an early lead when Kevonte Mitchell drove home the game's first run with a two-out RBI single in the second inning.

Kristian Brito tied the game up with an RBI single in the fifth, but the game didn't remain tied for long.

In the bottom of the frame, Yeiler Peguero provided another clutch hit for the Emeralds -- a two-out RBI single to center -- giving his squad a 2-1 advantage.

It was all the run support the bullpen required as Duncan Robinson, Michael Knighton and Wyatt Short combined for four scoreless frames to clinch the title for the Emeralds.

At 54-22, Eugene had the best regular-season record of any Northwest League team. The team, however, dropped its playoff opener to Hillsboro, 4-3, which meant it would have to win two straight games to advance to the Finals. The Emeralds did just that, beating the Hops 6-2 and 2-1 in Games 2 and 3, respectively.

Eugene and Everett split the opening two games of the series. Eugene won at Everett in Game 1 of the NWL Finals, 3-1, and Everett responded with a 7-1 road win in Game 2 to force a decisive Game 3.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.