Ryan Halstead

Ryan Halstead prepares for the next batter during the River Cats’ playoff game against Las Vegas on Sept. 3.

 The Sacramento River Cats punched their ticket to the next round of the 2019 Triple-A postseason on Sunday, defeating the Las Vegas Aviators (Oakland Athletics) in a decisive game five of the Pacific Conference Playoff. The series win earned the River Cats an incredible seventh conference title, and the club will now take on the Round Rock Express (Houston Astros) in a best-of-five, Pacific Coast League Championship Series beginning Tuesday, Sept. 10 at Raley Field in West Sacramento.

The River Cats have now reached the PCL Championship Series seven times in their 20-year history, which includes four PCL titles (2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008). With this year’s appearance, the club is back in the Championship Series for the first time since 2011 when they lost to the Omaha Storm Chasers. Going back further, the last time a San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A team claimed a PCL Championship was in 1977 (Phoenix Giants). The Express will be making their third appearance in the Championship Series, and first since 2015. They have not won a league title in their franchise’s 20-year history.

Championship baseball has returned to Raley Field, and fans will once again have the opportunity to experience the excitement when the PCL Championship Series continues with game two on Wednesday, Sept. 11 in West Sacramento. Both games have a scheduled first pitch of 6:35 p.m. The series will shift to Dell Diamond in Round Rock for Game three on Friday, Sept. 13. Games four and five this weekend (if necessary) will also be hosted by the Express.

The winner of the Pacific Coast League Championship Series will face off with the winner of the International League Governors’ Cup Finals between the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) and the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians) in the 14th annual Triple-A National Championship Game on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tenn.