Designs on a 6th Championship and A Game 7 to Remember

After a pair of 2nd place finishes last season between the division and the GLBL championships, this year’s Architects had designs on heading back to the Championship series with something to prove.   They would need all 7 games and 5 extra innings in the GLBL Championships to do it.

A hot Chicago start in April, going 20-3, was followed by a losing month in May,   Chicago bounced back and held onto the lead for the rest of the season, though in early June they were tied for first, not with  — as many suspected — Milwaukee.  It was Traverse City led by MVP Pedro Morales, who won the batting title with a .349 AVG and finished with an 8.2 WAR.  The Bears had surprised everyone and while they never passed the Architects, they did manage a clear wild card berth and were the only other team in the league to win more than 80 games.

Chicago finished with 91 wins, a far cry rom their 100+ of the last two seasons, but good enough for the best in the league   The offense led was by Daniel Huffman (302/402/556), who led the GLBL in HR with 35, and aided by OF Eric Pryor (.928 OPS, 5.5 WAR) and 3B Paul Boulay (.905 OPS, 5.9 WAR)   On the mound, Antonio Mendez and Everton Mounsey led the league in ERA (2.48 and 2.54 respectively).   Tom Higgines was the rock in the bullpen with a 2.28 ERA and 22 saves.

 

 

While the Canadian division see-sawed back and forth, the USA was decided earlier.   TC would face Chicago in the opening round of the playoffs.   Unfortunately for TC, they could manage just 5 runs in four games and were swept out of the wild card.   Meanwhile, Owen Sound emerged leading Canada and defeated Toronto in 5 games.  Both teams were looking to be in good form advancing into the Championship.

 

With Chicago taking the first two games in Owen Sound (and opening the playoffs with six wins), they looked unbeatable.   Owen Sound responded with a decisive 7-2 win in Chicago, but the Architects had an answer of their own, winning the next 10-3.  Backed against a wall trailing 3-1, Owen Sound won 9-5 in Chicago again to make the series 3-2.   Game six evened the series at 3-3 when Owen Sound opened a 5 run lead and narrowly escaped with a 1 run win, setting the stage for one of the most exciting Game 7 games in GLBL history.

 

In Game 7, Chicago struck first in the top of the third, but Matthew Smith tied the game on a solo shot in the bottom half.  The Architects quickly took the lead back when Roberto Ortiz laced a single to center that scored Daniel Huffman in the top of the 4th.   That would be the last run scored until the bottom of the 9th.   His team trailing by a run, Shane MacKinley walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch.  Javier Crespo, on a 3-2 count with two outs, hit a shallow single to left, scoring Mackinely and tying the game in dramatic fashion.

 

By the time the 14th inning came around, Chicago had used 22 players, leaving only Dave Bell available.   Owen Sound had used 18 players.  Between the two teams, they would use 15 pitchers in 14 innings.   The top of the 14th, 10 innings after they had last scored, Bill Bungay doubled home Daniel Huffman, who scored his second run of the game to give Chicago the lead.  While they threatened with runners on 2nd and 3rd with just one out, Julien Pages escaped the jam and gave his team one more chance to come back.   Antonio Gomez walked the first batter, Matt Iles, but managed to get two fly outs.    Gomez then walked Brett Collins, likely pitching around him because the next batter was Julien Pages with no one to pinch hit for him.  This did move Miles into scoring position, but Pages swung at the first pitch, grounding out to short.     Unfortunately for Pages, he gave up the winning run and made the last out, likely a first in the GLBL (and doubtless the first in the final game of the GLBLG Championships). 

This gave Chicago their sixth championship and 4th since 2030.

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