Clark MVP for Triple A Braves
Sept. 17, 2007
Doug Clark of Springfield hit a three-run homer and caught the final out in right field as the Richmond Braves won the Triple A International League playoff championship Saturday night in Richmond, Va.
Clark, who was his team's Most Valuable Player and honorary captain, is 31 years old and in his 10th season of professional baseball. His Richmond teammates include Chad Paronto, a reliever who played with him at the University of Massachusetts.
The Richmond club now will go against the Sacramento River Cats, champions of the Pacific Coast League in a one-game showdown for the championship of Triple A baseball. The game will be played tomorrow night at a neutral site, AT & T Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
The playoff game is a reunion of sorts for Clark - he played for Sacramento in 2006 as a farmhand of the Oakland Athletics.
Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz was so pleased with the performance of his Richmond farmhands, he decided to give them big league treatment - a charter flight to Oklahoma City. The team left yesterday morning and will work out in Oklahoma City today.
In winning its first Governors Cup since 1994, Richmond had to sweep a doubleheader Saturday after falling behind two games to one against the Durham Bulls, a Tampa Bay farm club.
The Braves won 7-2 in Game 4, then claimed the championship with a 6-2 victory in which Paronto pitched the final inning.
Their playoff comeback followed a tight regular-season race in which they clinched the wild card playoff berth on the next-to-last day of the season.
Clark's professional career began in June of 1998 after the San Francisco Giants drafted him in the seventh round following his senior year at UMass. He played that summer for Salem-Keizer in the short-season Northwest League, helping his team win the championship.
This season with Richmond, he hit .276 with 15 homers and 69 RBIs while serving as "big brother" to his younger teammates.
Clark has had two brief callups to the major leagues, with San Francisco in 2005, and Oakland last season.
He is a graduate of Springfield Central High School, where he starred as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and tennis player.
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