Down to Two
Good morning everyone!
The River Bandits season may be over, but the Midwest League playoffs have been pretty exhilarating. The championship series starts tonight, with Fort Wayne playing host to Burlington at Parkview Field.
It should be a great match-up. Fort Wayne got to this point thanks to a 10th-inning walk-off homer in the deciding game against Great Lakes last night, and is looking to finish up a storybook season. The rebranded TinCaps boasted the best regular season record in all of Minor League Baseball while setting new attendance marks in their brand new downtown ballpark – which is a magnificent facility, by the way. They’ve got the one of the league’s best pitchers in strikeout king Simon Castro, as well as one of the league’s best young players in 19-year-old Jaff Decker.
But don’t look past Burlington. The defending champs have been one of the hottest teams over the last month and are powered by a number of potent bats and one of the league’s best bullpens. Jason Taylor – who was part of last year’s championship squad – hit a two-run homer in the first inning last night, providing all the offense in a 2-1 win over Cedar Rapids in the rubber match of the Western Division finals.
To get to this point, there have been more walk-offs and exciting finishes than I can remember in past years. How about Great Lakes’ Jaime Pedroza? All he did was launch a game-winning homer in the 10th inning of game three to help the Loons past West Michigan in the first round, and then save the day with a game-tying three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth in game two against Fort Wayne to spark a four-comeback, 11-10 win in 11 innings. Or Peoria’s Chris Huseby? With the game on the line against Cedar Rapids, the talented closer issued four walks and hit a batter to force in the game-tying and game-winning runs to end the Chiefs season and help the Kernels move along.
No shortage of action in this post-season. I can’t imagine things will be any different now that the league is whittled down to two. Enjoy!