- In game 1, Tacoma takes a 3-1 lead through their half of the
5th on a couple of scratch runs off starter Rich "Say It Ain't "
Sobelewski on 2 RBI's from Art Kraus. Tampa got to Tacoma starter
Mariano Padilla in the 5th on a 3-run blast by Derrick Grissom. Tacoma
tied it up in the 7th with the help of an Emil Cortez error, but Tampa
grabs back the lead in their half on a Blake Leary 2-run HR and hold on
for the 6-4 win.
The story in game 2 was Tampa starter Cody Sanders, who goes 8 shutout innings, striking out 9 in the 5-0 win. Tampa banged around loser Gregg Sweeney for 10 hits and 5 runs through 6, as they take a 2-0 series lead. 5 different Dons collected RBI, including a solo homer by Eduardo Melendez.
Game 3 was a geat pichers' duel between Harry Lee and Wladimir Ontiveros. Each surrendered single runs in the 5th on RBI singles from Josias Vega for Tampa and from Roland Soriano for Tacoma. Scoring chances were few and far betwen as both pitchers were cruisin'. The game was decided in the 11th on a walk-off homerun by sure-fire Hall of Famer Tony Weiss, who hit only 1 HR in 72 at bats all year. Tacoma's lock-down bullpen pitched 4 scoreless innings of 1-hit releif to take the 2-1 win.
Game 4 was all Tacoma as they score 3 in the 4th to take a 3-1 lead by getting a solo shot from Soriano and a huge 2-run triple from Ronald Martin. Vet Shawn Harris gives up 3 hits and only 1 run in 7 for the 7-1 win, with another scoreless 2 innings from the 'pen. Kraus gets a 2-run jack in the 5th.
Tacoma got another great playoff start from Mariano "Big Game" Padilla as he outduels Sobolewski through 8. Andy Jacobs gives Tacoma the 2-1 lead with a big 2-run double in the 6th. The 9th is when it fell apart for Padilla and Tacoma and there were a couple moves by Tacoma's bench coach that inspired calls to Sports Radio. Rafael Osuna decides to stick with Padilla for the 9th even with a well-rested Howard Taylor ready for the 1-run save opportunity. With 2 outs and none on, Padilla surrenders a single to C Tom Hardkte. Pinchrunner Shane Kent steals a huge base to get himself into scoring position as the tying run. After intentially walking Hi Shouse, Taylor does come in to face PH Nigel Lidge, but Lidge delivers the game tying single. Next batter, PH Chris Cust deflates the Tacoma crowd with a go-ahead 2-run double. In the 9th, coach pinch-hits for clean-up hitter and the only guy with RBI in the game, Andy Jacobs. PH Weiss cannot duplocate his game 3 heroics, and Tacoma takes the heartbreaking 4-2 loss. Sobolewski sticks around for the win and Villefuerte earns the save.
Game 2 loser Gregg Sweeney pitches 6 gutsy shut-out innings to give Tacoma the 5-0 game 6 win. Norm Cohen, Lawrence Thomas and Francis Phillips pitched 3 innings of scoreless relief for the victory that forces game 7. It was only 1-0 through 7, as Sanders once again pitches well. Tacoma breaks through for the cushion with a 3-run bomb by Jacobs in the 8th.
Game 7 was a rematch of game 3's brilliant pitchers' duel between Lee and Ontiveros. It wouldn't repeat itself as Tampa explodes for 16 total runs on 5 homeruns, including 2 by Cust. Ontiveros can't escape the 2nd. Lee gets the game 7 16-0 win, and Tampa goes on to face Jackson again for the title. Soboleski earns MVP honors with his 2 wins.
Congratulations to Tacoma for an outstanding season and terrific playoff run. They put togther a tremendous bullpen, allowing them to win the ones in which their starters kept them close. The 'pen and a well-balanced line-up with speed is a perfect formula for that home park. Great job, I know we'll see you back in the hunt next season!