- All three games of the Jackson sweep were decided by 1 or 2 runs, with one of the games needing extra innings.
In game 1's 5-3 victory, Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill goes 8 strong for the W, the only real blemish a 2 run homerun by Victor Rosado to cut the lead to 2 in the 7th. Jackson put up a crooked 3 in the 5th to get the scoring started, the big hit a 2-out, 2 run single by Wes Dickerson. Tyson "Shower Curtain Ring" Griffiths blasts a 2-run shot in the 6th.
Jackson rides a 6-1 lead into the 5th of game 2, sparked by a Tony Pena 3-run blast. But Cincinnati storms back to tie it up and send it to extras. The big inning was the 7th, where Marino Gomez hits a solo shot, and Cutter Darr hits a huge 2-out, 2 run double to tie the score. Jackson gets 1 in the 10th, but leave 'em loaded. Cincy answers with 1 in the bottom half to keep hope alive, but in the 11th, Jackson gets it's 4th RBI of the game from Pena, this time an RBI double. They take anvantage of a Bruce McCartin error to tack on another, and it holds up for vet reliever Bruce Fick, who gets the win in relief.
In game 3, Jason Mathews pitches shutout ball through 8, as Steve Scott, Bryce Dupler and Ralph "Billy the Kidd" Kydd all homer to build a 4-0 lead. Cincinatti puts up 3 in the ninth in their do-or-die fight, as Cutter Darr has another big 2-run hit, but Estrada wiffs to the end the game (and series) with the tying run on against veterean Wellington Saenz.
Congratulations to Cincinnati for a terrific season. Darr and Estrada did their best, but the team hit only .224 for the series. The Sextons are on the rise as they captured the division with a solid 97 win season. They have a great nucleus and I'm counting on them to be a force in this World for seasons to come. Great job building that team!
Reigning champs advance to face long-time division foe Charlotte. Last season's series was a classic, and I hope for the same type of nail-biting series. Ralph Kydd takes home series MVP honors with a sick .643 BA with 4 runs scored and 4 steals.
In the other AL series, Augusta outscores Jacksonville 19-7 in the three game sweep. The Porters were held to 1 run in two of the contests.
Victor Lawson hits 2 HR and drives in 4 in the game one 10-5 win. Flip McCartney pitches 7 for the W.
In game 2, Jacksonville was in good position to tie the series, as they carried a 1-0 lead through 7 on stellar pitching by Kip Lincoln. But he runs into trouble in the 8th, with the big blast coming from a Marvin Crabtree 3 run homer. Calvin "Sweet as" Sugawara protects his lead by finishing off the complete game victory, striking out 7.
In game 3, Augusta gets single runs in the 1st, 2nd and 4th to stake themselves to an early lead, one of the runs coming on a Peter "Crazy Ole Building & Loan" Bailey homerun. Starter Marion Pena was dominant in the 5-1 series clinching win, striking out 11 in 7 innings.
Jacksonville continues to rise through the ranks each seaon, and I think we can expect the trend to continue next season. Mark Kojima continues to impress with a strong post-season (.429, 2 SB), and we all know what Ariel Rosa can do (.417 with a HR in the series.) Congrats to the Porters for another solid season.
For his .308/2 HR/6 RBI series (including the big blow in game 2), Marvin Crabtree gets series MVP honors for Augusta as they move on to play the team with the World's best record in the Dodgers. LA played lots of close games during the season, so I'm expecting this one to be great!
Good luck to the advancing teams!