Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Goldeyes' West wins NL batting title

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CHICAGO -- Winnipeg's Kevin West won a Northern League batting title on Monday, becoming the first member of the Winnipeg Goldeyes to do so since former Goldeyes great Brian Duva had the highest batting average in the league in 1998.

West finished the season on Sunday in Schaumburg with a .337 batting average, but had to wait until Kansas City played its final game on Monday to learn if he'd won the title.

K.C.'s Jacob Blackwood went 0-5 on Monday in a 9-6 loss to Fargo to finish the season third in batting average at .331 and cost himself what would have been the first Northern League Triple Crown since 2000.

Blackwood won the home run race with 31 and the RBI race with 86, but his bat went cold in the final week to allow West and Goldeyes teammate Juan Diaz -- who finished second in the league with a .335 batting average -- to catch and then surpass him in the final days. West finished the season on a four-game hitting streak and batted .391 in August.

The batting title is the first of his career for the 30-year-old West and offers some consolation to the team's MVP in what was otherwise a disappointing season for a Winnipeg club that missed the playoffs and posted the worst win-loss record in franchise history.

"It's a nice accomplishment on a personal level," West said in a news release issued Monday by the Goldeyes. "It would be better if we were still playing in the playoffs, so it's a little bittersweet that way."

West was voted the club's 2010 MVP and also led the team in stolen bases with 20, He also joined third baseman Vince Harrison as the only two Fish players to play all 99 games this season.

West played four positions over the course of the season -- first, second, centre-field and right-field.

It is the fourth batting title won by a Winnipeg Goldeyes player. In addition to Duva, Fish slugger Terry Lee also won batting titles in 1995 and 1997.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 7, 2010 C3

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