Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ALCS Recap by cebola

In Game 1 Augusta got to Jackson ace Reese "Smokin'" Hemphill with 5 in the first on an RBI double by Javy Alvarez and a grand slam by Peter "Crazy Ole Building & Loan" Bailey. I'll go a step further and say Peter Bailey WAS the Building & Loan, and a man of high ideals (so called.) Jackson gets a couple back in the 2nd, and the game remains 5-2 through 6. Flip McCartney runs into trouble in the 7th an surrenders a 3-run HR to Tyson "Shower Curtain Ring" Griffiths to give Jackson a short-lived 6-5 lead. Hemphill gives the lead right back in the bottom half on a 2-run double by Marvin Crabtree. Bailey blasts another HR (2-run) in the 8th to add insurance and Augusta holds on for the 9-6 win.

Game 2 was 4-4 through 6. Scoring highlights included a Bryce Dupler 2-run double and a solo shot by Ralph Kydd for Jackson, and a three-run HR by Victor Laswon for Augusta. Calvin "Sweet as" Sugawara gives up 3 in the Jackson half of the 7th on a Wes Dickerson 2-run HR. Roy "Purple" Hayes gets the series-tying 7-4 victory with bullpen help from Welinton Saenz and Sal Jacobson.

Rookie Nate Bell had another impressive post-season performance to give Augusta a 2-1 series lead. He goes 8 shutout innings in the 3-0 win. Closer Albert Jackson saw Tony Pena come to the plate in the 9th as the tying run, but induced a DP to earn the save. Javy Alvarez provided all the offense Bell would need with a first-inning two-run jack.

In game 4, Augusta got on the board first with an RBI double in the 2nd by Victor Lawson, but Flip McCartney had another rough outing, surrendering 8 runs before he was pulled in the 6th. Dan Blair did most of the damage with a 2-run HR and 2 run single. Jackson's Hector Batista serves up 13 baserunners over 8 and 2/3, throwing 134 pitches, giving his bullpen some rest while earning the 10-4 win.

With the series tied 2-2, Augusta goes with spot-starter Elroy Mathis to go up against a well-rested Hemphill. Reese bounces back with 8 solid innings. Mathis pitches well, but Jackson gets a pair of RBI doubles, one from Blair and another from Griffiths to take a 2-0 lead that would hold up through 8. Hemphill gives up 1 in the 8th on an RBI single by Alvarez, but retires rookie Cleatus Alexander with the tying run on third. Jacobson gets a 1-2-3 ninth for the save and gives the Colonels the crucial 3-2 series lead.

Jackson comes out blasting in game 6, with Steve Scott hitting a 3-run shot in the first off of Sugawara. Jackson would continue their relentless attack, scoring in 5 innings. Rookie Jason Mathews pitches well through 6, as his Jackson teammates stake him to a 7-3 lead. Peter Bailey does absolutely everying he can to keep Augusta's hopes alive by hitting a 2-run shot in the 6th, and a 3-run shot in the 7th to bring the Bears to within 2. Welington Saenz gives up a single and double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd to start 8th, with Augusta's 1-2-3 hitters coming to the plate, putting them in great position to get back into the series. But they strand the runners and Jacobson gets the side in order in the 9th to wrap up the win and send Jackson back to the World Series to defend their title against Tampa, the team they beat last season. Dan Blair gets MVP honors.

Great job Augusta, for getting into the playoffs for the 4th consecutive season, and in 6 out of the last 8 seasons. Congratulations for pulling off a couple upsets to get to the League Championship. They are a perenial contender and have a solid foundation. We can expect them to make another series run next year.