Thursday, October 8, 2009

The New Champs: Helena Vigilantes

The Helena Vigilantes won the Jersey League Season 10 title by defeating two-time defending champion Las Vegas Dealers in 6 games. With that, the Jersey League's most successful regular season team for the last four years finally won a championship. As it became clear that the Vigilantes long history of playoff futility had ended, the streets of downtown Helena became packed with drunken revelers, a scene that grew progressively wilder until the Montana National Guard restored order at about 5 AM. Early reports out of Helena include several overturned police cars, dozens of fist fights resulting in hospital visits, reports of celebratory shots fired into the air, damage at numerous downtown taverns, and a death caused by an ill-advised moose-tipping attempt.

Helena clearly put the best team on the field this year, winning 108 games, then cruising through the playoffs, first with a sweep of perennial power Houston We Have a Problem in the first round and then a 4-1 victory over the mighty Tucson Hohokams in the NLCS. The World Series was a rematch of the classic 7 game World Series in Season 8 vs. Las Vegas. Vegas also cruised through the playoffs, with a 3-1 victory over the Iowa City Independence and a 4 game sweep of the Vancouver Asteroids.

Helena struck first in the series, winning game 1 by a 6-4 score behind two HRs from Felix Jones. Game 2 also went to Helena, by a score of 7-2, as Pablo Campos pitched 8 innings to pick up the win. The series looked nearly over as Helena won again in game 3, by a 12-7 score, as Fernando Fernandez hit two bombs.

In game 4, some of Helena's old demons returned, as the bullpen couldn't hold a lead, and the Dealers errupted for 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th to win 8-5. Frank Woo had the big hit, a 3-run home run that put the Dealers in the lead and delayed the party in Helena. Game 5 also went to the Dealers, 7-3, behind a strong pitching performance by Lance Ward, and many in Helena began to worry of a collapse as the Vigilantes couldn't put the Dealers away. They finally did it in game 6 however, winning a tight 7-6 game. Helena took a big lead in the clincher with a Moises Colome grand slam. The Dealers then fought back with 4 runs in the 8th, but Gerald Mantei restored order to collect the save and end the series.

Fernando Fernandez was named the World Series MVP after going 9 for 22 with 5 HRs and 10 RBIs, along with flawless defensive play in centerfield.

Congrats joemac on a big win!

No comments: