Fall League Championship Game
The Championship Game featured the #1 and #2 seeded teams from the Fall League as the Astros hosted the White Sox at Millsaps College on Thursday night. The White Sox scored early and often to take down the #1 seed 12-5.
Coach Avery Johnson sent Conner Nation to the mound for the championship game, who struggled to find his comfort zone. Reed Trimble was hit by a pitch as the game got underway, then Mitchell Martin moved him to 2nd with a fielders choice. After Thad Simmons struck out, Tristan Tigrett and Case Page hit back-to-back doubles to score Trimble and Martin. Cooper Gadman reached on an error after Tigrett scored on a wild pitch, and Page scored on the error. With two outs and the bases loaded, Trimbled singled on his second at bat of the inning, scoring Chandler Poole and increasing the lead to 5-0.
Cooper Gadman took the mound for Coach Nick Gibert, giving up three consecutive singles to Murray Hutchinson, Brady Johnson and Conner Nation before settling in. Wyatt Buck earned an RBI was a ground ball, as the Astros inched closer with a two run 1st inning. But the White Sox were not done, scoring 4 more runs in the top of the 2nd, with a double from Tristan Tigrett and an inside-the-park homer from Cole Burton. White Sox led 9-2 after two innings.
The Astros attempted to mount a comeback in the bottom of the 4th, scoring 2 runs on 2 errors in the inning, scoring Will Morgan and Eli Carter, closing the gap to a 9-4 game. The White Sox answered in the top of the 5th, after Reed Trimble drew a bases loaded walk from Brady Johnson. It was too little and too late, as the White Sox continued to pour it on, winning with a final 12-5 score.
Cooper Gadman earned the victory on the mound, pitching 4 2/3 innings giving up 2 earned runs on 4 hits while striking out 4.
The Semi Final Games on Tuesday night at Millsaps College did not disappoint the rowdy crowd in either game.
CUBS vs WHITE SOX
First up, the Cubs took on the #2 White Sox in a battle to advance to the Championship. Coach Nick Gibert sent Mitchell Martin from Brandon to the mound to start the game against the Cubs, with Toby Trowbridge attacking the first pitch of the game with a single on a had ground ball to center field. Tommy Smith hit into a fielder's choice to reach base with Trowbridge out at 3rd, after advancing to 2nd on a passed ball. Smith took advantage of a couple of passed balls and made it to 3rd before scoring on a sac fly from Matt Corder to open the scoring. With Taylor Smith from Germantown on the mound for the Cubs, the White Sox answered in the bottom of the 1st with Reed Trimble scoring on a double by Case Page after getting on base by being hit by a pitch. The score remained tied at 1-1 until the bottom of the 3rd, when Thad Simmons scored on wild pitch with 2 outs. Simmons led off the inning with a walk. The Cubs remained steadfast and tied the score 2-2 in the top of the 6th. Pablo Lanzorate opened the inning with a double line drive to left field, chasing Martin from the game. Brody Wilkins took the mound, getting Brown to ground out but moving Lanzorate to 3rd with one out. Jashard Bradfield reached on error after popping up to right field scoring Lanzorate to tie the game at 2-2.
The White Sox again answered, scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th. Cooper Gadman opened the inning with a line drive single to center, and moved to 2nd on a wild pitch. Cole Burton was hit by a pitch, and JK Shedd reached on error after a comebacker to pitcher Tyler Long was mishandled - loading the bases with no outs. Brody Wilkins then reaches on a ground ball to short, scoring Gadman and keeping the bases loaded. After Trimble popped up to short for the first out, Mitchell Martin grounded to 2nd base for the next out, scoring Burton to take a 4-2 lead. Thad Simmons walked to load the bases again, and Tristan Tigrett earned an RBI with a walk to score Shedd, moving the score to 5-2. Gadman came in to pitch the top of the 7th, recording 3 straight outs to send the White Sox to the Championship Game with a 5-3 final score.
DODGERS vs ASTROS
The night cap featured the resurgent Dodgers facing the #1 seed Astros to cement the final team in the Championship to take on the White Sox.
Coach Avery Johnson started the game with Will Morgan from Madison Central on the mound. Facing the minimum, the Dodger's Gabe Garner reached base on line drive to center with one out, but Blake Dilmore hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. The Astros faced Eli Reichle from Jackson Prep in the bottom of the first, with Murray Hutchinson opening up with a single ground ball to short. A balk by Reichle sent Hutchinson to 2nd and he reached third on steal with one out. Conner Nation recorded an RBI with a single to right field, scoring Hutchinson and taking a 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers answered in the top of the 3rd inning. Griffin Dulaney opened the inning with single line drive to left field but was picked off at 1st. Owen Abney then drew a walk, and after stealing 2nd, scored on a line drive to center from Thomas Milam. The Astros answered in the bottom of the inning to take the lead back after Brady Johnson reached base on a fielders choice, then stole 2nd and made it to 3rd on a bad throw. Conner Nation recorded the RBI with a ground ball out to first, scoring Johnson and taking a 2-1 lead.
The top of the 4th saw the Dodgers tie the game again, after Eli Reichle reached first on an error, stealing second and advancing to third own a wild pitch before scoring on a passed ball. However, the Astros pulled away in the bottom of the inning, scoring 6 runs to take a commanding 8-2 lead. It began with Eli Carter getting hit by a pitch and Justin Bergeron singling on a fly ball to left field. Chandler Anderson singled on a line drive left, scoring Carter and Bergeron as he advanced to 2nd on the throw to the plate. Murray Hutchinson bunted for a single, and stole 2nd and Moore scored. Brady Johnson singled on a ground ball short, scoring Hutchinson and taking a 6-2 lead. The Astros score two more runs when Wyatt Buck doubled in Johnson and Conner Nation, who had drew a walk in front of Buck.
The Dodgers answered with a run in the top of the 5th, as Thomas Milan singled and score with an RBI single from Ian Richard. The Astros scored once more as well in the bottom of the 5th, with Bergeron opening the inning with a single to right, and scoring on as Hutchinson reached base on an error with 2 outs. The final score: 9-3 as the Astros advanced to Championship Game against the #2 White Sox
After a delay of almost an hour, the start of the Fall League Playoffs was worth the wait. The night started off with the #6 Dodgers taking on the #3 Red Sox. In a tightly contested game with an electric atmosphere, the Dodgers took down the Red Sox in an improbable 5-4 win that took 8 innings to complete. For the Dodgers, it was their first win of the campaign as they earned the right to play the #1 seed Astros on Tuesday night at 5:45 at Millsaps College. For the Red Sox, it is the end of the road to a great season.
The Dodgers took the lead in the top of the 3rd inning with Ian Richard hitting a single to right field with one out, and Blake Dilmore bringing in the go ahead run with a line drive single to center field. The Red Sox tied the game in the bottom of the 4th with a walk from Cole Manuel, followed by a single to right field by Bryce Chance sending Manuel to 3rd. Manuel scored on an errant throw from righfielder Ethan Williams to knot the score at 1-1. The Dogers rallied in the top of the 5th, with Ethan Williams and Ryan Owens issued back-to-back walks with one out from Red Sox pitcher Will Barber. Niko Mazza took the mound to face Thomas Milam who earned a single on a bunt to third base, loading the bases. Ethan Williams then scored on a sac fly by Ian Richard, and Blake Dilmore drove in two runs with a line drive to center field to give the Dodgers a 4-1 edge.
The Red Sox were not finished - adding runs in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game. Noel Wiggs was hit by a pitch after Avery Thomas led off the inning with a walk to put runners at 1st and 2nd witih no outs. Bryce Chanced singled with one out, driving in Thomas. With 2 outs, Jake Carr planted a line drive in right field to drive in Wiggs and Chance, tying the score at 4-4.
The game then went to Overtime Rules, with the bases loaded and one out. The bottom of the 7th ended quickly with a double play as Reeves Baugh lifted a fly ball to center field, and Kyle Savell throwing a perfect strike to catcher Cole Manuel to end the inning by doubling up Trevor Waddell advancing from 3rd base.
The Dodger broke the 4-4 logjam in the top of the 8th, with the winning run coming in with Mazza issuing a 4 pitch walk to Ethan Williams with bases loaded. Bodie Agnew scored on the play. The Red Sox ended the game with bases loaded and one out, with Kyle Savell striking out and Avery Thomas grounding out to 2nd base. The Dodgers move on to play the #1 Astros in the semi-finals on Tuesday night at 8:00 at Millsaps College.
Game two got underway around 9:00 pm, with the #4 Cubs hosting the #5 A's in the second Quarter Final elimination game of the night.
The game started out as a pitchers duel, with Matt Corder on the mound for the Cubs going toe-to-toe with Patrick Smith for 3.5 scoreless innings. The Cubs would be first to strike, with Pablo Lanzorate leading off the bottom of the 4th with a double from a deep fly ball to left field. Matt Corder drove Lanzorate home on the next at bat with a line drive single to left field, scoring Lanzorate from 2nd and taking a 1-0 lead. Then with 2 outs, Jashard Bradfield made it to 1st on a dropped 3rd strike passed ball, scoring Matt Corder all the way from the 2nd. Luke Banta struck out to the end the inning, but the Cubs had taken a 2-0 lead. The Cubs add to their lead in the 5th when Taylor Smith tripled with a line drive to center with 2 out, and Pablo Lanzorate drove him home on a single just past the pitcher to take a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the 6th the Cubs took a 4-0 lead when Noah Brown scored after hitting a double and advancing to the place during Luke Banta's at bat on a wild pitch.
The A's tried to mount a comeback in the top of the 7th, as Eric Newsom led off the inning with a walk. Carson Fisher then doubled to left field advancing Newsom to 3rd. Koski and Price recorded the first two outs of the inning, as Newsom finally scored on a wild pitch with Bailey White at the plate, before White struck out to end the game.
The Cubs advance to the Semi Finals on Tuesday night at 5:45 PM at Millsaps College, taking on the #2 White Sox. The winner will advance to the Championship Game on Thursday night.