Tunkhannock graduate Mike Papi ended his third season of professional baseball as a champion on the second-highest level of the minor leagues.
The Akron RubberDucks won the title of the Double-A Eastern League with the help of a huge semifinal series by Papi.
The left fielder and fifth hitter for Akron, Papi had three hits, a homer and five RBI in the third game of the semifinal series with the Altoona Curve. That came after also getting three hits and a homer while driving in three runs in the opener of the series that Akron wound up winning three games to one.
Papi had two of the four hits – Akron had three, Altoona just one — in Game Four of the semifinal series. He doubled for the game’s only extra-base hit in the 10th inning and came in with the winning run in the series-clinching, 1-0 victory.
After going 8-for-18 (.444) in the semifinal series, Papi went 2-for-10 when Akron, a Cleveland Indians farm team, swept the Trenton Thunder, a New York Yankees affiliate, in three games.
Akron wrapped up the championship Sept. 16.
Papi, who led Tunkhannock to the 2011 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AAA title, had three extra-base hits and eight RBI in seven games while hitting .357 for the Eastern League playoffs.
After starting the season with the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Class A Carolina League, Papi earned a promotion on June 1.
Papi hit .236 with Lynchburg and .228 with Akron. In 116 total regular-season games, he had 25 doubles, 2 triples, 15 home runs, 58 RBI, 55 runs scored and 71 walks.
The decision to turn professional came soon after Papi was drafted 38th overall by Cleveland in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft. He had earned All-American honors at the University of Virginia on the way to the College World Series championship game.
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