The St. Paul Saints’ first regular season at CHS Field is in the books, and it was a record year for the franchise in almost every way.
With an 11-2 victory over the New Jersey Jackals on Monday, the Saints finished 74-26 and won the American Association North Division by a whopping 26 ½ games.
The victory total is a team record, and only this year’s Sioux City Explorers (75-25) — the Saints’ first-round playoff opponent — have won more games in American Association history.
Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-five series between the Saints and Explorers will be on Wednesday and Thursday in Sioux City. The Saints will host Game 3 on Saturday and, if necessary, Games 4 and 5 on Sunday and Monday.
Defending league champion Wichita will face Laredo in the other semifinal series. The first-round matchups are based on geography, not records.
The Saints began the season by winning 14 of their first 15 games and went on to set all kinds of team records — from team ERA to home runs to fielding percentage. They outscored their opponents 612-352.
Individually, catcher Vinny DiFazio won the league batting title with a .361 average, and his 82 RBI tied for the league lead with teammate Angelo Songco. Kramer Sneed (15-3) tied a league record for victories in a season, and Dustin Crenshaw (14-2), Jeff Shields (13-2) and Robert Coe (12-3) also had double-digit victory totals.
An announced Labor Day crowd of 7,883 pushed the CHS Field season attendance over 400,000 — yet another franchise record.