Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ALCS Recap

As far a four game sweeps go, this was a much better series than you would think. There were two games with a 3-2 final, and another that was 2-1 in the ninth. Game 1 wasn't really close, however, as Jackson got out of the gate quickly and lead 7-0 after three. The offense was provided by Dan Blair (HR, 3 hits, 3 RBI), and unsung hero Ellie Crandall (2 hits, 2 RBI.) Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill was a little shaky coming back on only 2 days rest after his game 5 clincher out the pen in the Division Series, but he got through 7-and-a-third to pick up the win. On again/off again Flip McCartney suurendered 9 runs. Game 2 was a classic pitchers' duel as Hector Batista threw 9 strong innings to keep Jackson in contention through regulation. His only blemish was a 2 run homer surrendered to Javy Alvarez. Not to be outdone, Calvin "Sweet as" Sugawara tossed an unheard of 10 innings to keep his team in a 2-2 tie! Augusta had a chance to make Sugawara the hero, but failed to score with the bases loaded in the 10th, during which former Gold-glover Cooper Rhodes was lifted for a pinch hitter. That move would prove costly, as his replacement, utility-man Jon Little, made the error that set up Wes Dickerson's walk-off sac fly in the 11th. In game 3, Pedro "High" Sierra pitched 6 innings, giving up 1 run on 2 hits and 8 k's. Ceasar Julio tacked on 2 perfect innings to send Augusta to the ninth with a 2-1 lead, the go-ahead RBI courtesy of a Cooper Rhodes single. But closer Albert Jackson gives up the tying homerun to Dan Blair, the first batter of the inning. The go-ahead run was manufactured by some great baserunning by PR Emmanuelle Alarcon. Playoff hero Crandall, tacks on a couple insurance runs with a 2 run single, and Jackson goes on to take the commanding 3-0 series lead. Augusta leaves 14 men on base, including the bases loaded in three different innings. 
Division Series MVP, Ralph "Billy the Kid' Kydd, got game four's scoring started with a 2 run single in the second. Augusta answered with 2 of their own in the third in yet, another pitchers' duel. The good Flip McCartney showed up, pitching 7 innings, but surrendered a Steve Scott solo homer in the 6th to put Jackson ahead to stay. Jackson got four scoreless innings from its pen, including a drama-free 1-2-3 ninth from closer Carlos "Exxon" Valdes to secure the win for starter Roy "Purple" Hayes. Dan Blair is named series MVP for batting .368, 2 HR, 5 RBI and 5 runs. Jackson breaks its spell of hardluck playoff losses, and advances to the World Series for the first time under the ml4ku regime. Congratulations to Augusta for a great season, and for an absolute dog-fight of a series, despite the sweep.