Monday, December 3, 2012

S24 Playoffs - Division Championship Series Recap by cebola

The Jackson-Trenton series featured two great, relentless offensive attacks. It seemed that every time one of the teams built a lead, the other would come back. After Jackson’s game one 7-4 win, which featured 2 HR by Bryce Dupler & 4 hits by Jaret Walters, Trenton bats came alive. In game 2’s win, they took a 9-3 lead to the 8th, riding on the back of MVP candidate John Suzuki (2 homers, 4 hits, 3 runs, 3 ribbies), only to see Jackson give them a scare by scoring 4 in the 8th before holding on. Game 3 saw the Thunder come back from an early 3-1 deficit to forge ahead 5-3. But Jackson again got the bats going in the 8th to tie it up on a big 2-out, 2-run double by Malachi “Cornfield” Neal. Jackson had runners on the corners in the ninth with no outs, but Tyson Griffiths was thrown at home on a potential sac fly, killing the rally. Trenton got the win, walk-off style in the 9th. Nick Jacquez led off with a sinble and was plated on a hit by Guillermo Solano. In Game 4, Trenton again seemed in control, building an 8-3 lead, courtesy of Jonathan Hamelin’s 2 HR and 5 RBI. But Jackson would not to down easily in this potential series clincher, as they score 4 in the 6th to tie it, and forge ahead with a run in the 8th on another big hit by Neal. They actually had a chance to tack on, but Bryce Dupler made an out on the bases, squashing the opportunity for a big inning. The Jackson lead is short-lived, as Ober Furcal leads off the ninth with a game-tying homer. Trenton again walks-off in the ninth as the table setters get on for slugger Jacquez , who delivers the series ending sac fly. Hamelin drives in 14 for the series and takes the MVP. Trenton gets to the League Championship Series to face the mighty Dodgers for the second time in three seasons. LA will surely be looking to avenge that 7 game series loss.

It was another great season for Jackson. Special thanks to the new ownership for taking that franchise where they were expected to go. The team is still stacked and should be in contention for a long time. Hopefully, we can keep it in good hands!

How good was LA’s pitching in their three game sweep over Charlotte? How about only 1 run on 10 hits allowed for the entire series, including the epic no-hitter in the clincher. Mikey James went the first 6 of game 3, and Carlos “Exxon” Valdes tossed the final three in the ARod instant classic. LA’s deep and balanced attack gave the staff all they would need to get the job done quickly. Pedro “Hack” Bonilla hit .462, and Tony “The Crooner” Bennett drove in 4 runs in the series. Valdes threw 3 scoreless innings in each of the other two games as well to earn MVP honors. If LA gets through 6 with a lead against anybody, look out.

Charlotte got back to the post season with another great season. Their core of sluggers is still in their prime, and Estaban Guapo is poised to become their ace for the next several seasons. Great job.

Tampa’s three game sweep over Colorado was decided by only 5 runs and featured 2 tight one-run nail biters. After jumping out to a game one 10-7 victory, Tampa’s bats remained hot as they score an extremely crooked 8 in the 3rd of game two. Kid Flair had a big bases clearing double in the frame to stake the Dons to an 8-0 lead. But the Shock’s dominant line-up, which contains not a single weak spot, chipped away and eventually tied the game at 10 in the 7th. Hector Pena brought the club closer with a 2-run blast and another RBI hit, but it was veteran Raymond Brock’s big 2-run HR, following a Kid Flair error, that was the game tying blast. Tampa’s mid-season acquisition Kenta Itou came in to pitch 2 scoreless innings to put out the fire before Roy Miller pinch hit for him in the 9th and smacked a solo shot to give him and the Dons the victory. Game 3 was a pitchers’ duel, pitting Colorado’s Rafael Beltre, who has won at least 15 games in each of the past three seasons, against former Cy Young Award winner (and former Shock), Rich “Say It Ain’t” Sobolewski. Tampa’s first 2 hitters drew walks to start the bottom of the first to set the table for clean-up man Derrick Grissom who belted the 3-run blast that would hold up in the 3-2 series clinching win. Sobolewski hurled a complete game gem, the only real blemish a Marc Clarke solo homer in the 5th. The Shock had the tying run on third in the 9th, but Brock struck out to end the series.
It was another great season for Colorado.

They are a legit championship caliber team with a stacked line-up, deep bench, and tremendous pitching. No doubts they will be back next season in strong position to make a run at the title. Great job.

Iowa took the first two games of their series against Helena in typical Rounder fashion; great starting pitching and timely hitting. Cy Young hopeful Elrod “Rum &” Coke pitched 7 shutout innings (6 hits, 0 walks) in game one, and Bruce Mullens settled in after allowing 3 early runs to earn the victory in game 2. Both games featured a rash of 2-out RBI’s by Iowa’s balanced attack. With no margin for error, Helena sent 21-year old former first overall pick Darrell Bigby to the mound for game three. Bigby showed flashes of brilliance during the course of the regular season as well as in his 2 wins in the last series against Washington. He did not disappoint, as he earns the 5-2 victory to keep his team’s hopes alive. All the runs scored on homers, one each from the big guns in the middle, Gerald Hull, Cristobal Chavez and Hersch Glynn. He gets support as well through 4 shutout innings by his pen. But in game four, Coke was up for the task. Even as Iowa attempted to gift wrap some runs for Helena by committing four errors, Coke just kept getting big out after big out. He earns the series’ clinching win by going six strong, giving up only 2 runs in the 6-2 win. Cochrane, Darr and Chris Cust were in the middle of the offensive attack all day, scoring 4 and driving in 5 between them. Coke earns MVP honors for his two wins. Iowa moves on to face division rival Tampa for the rights to advance to the Series.

Helena proved that last season’s emergence was no fluke, as they follow up with another playoff appearance. This is a young team with lots of talented players on both sides of the ball. Glynn, Hull Chavez, Bigby, and Santiago to name a few. Great job.

1 comment: