|Jersey League Season 11 World Series MVP|
Iowa City--Across the State of Iowa last night, the normally staid fans of the Iowa City Independence celebrated until deep into the night (nearly 11pm!) after their hometown boys won an epic 7 game series over the NL Champion
Iowa, of the tough AL West, battled to make the playoffs, starting the season a cold 3-8, enduring a miserable 8-game losing streak in May, and fought back to earn a wild card. In the first round of the playoffs the Spike Chase to return and seal the victory as the game 5 starter. In round 2, Iowa defeated the Quilvio Castro to only 1 extra-base hit in 5 games. After that, it was anti-climatic when Iowa City blew out Sam McCallum. Tacoma won the series in just 5 games, with the clincher behind a masterful 3-hit complete game shut out by Jorge Renteria, which sent Tacoma to the World Series for the second time in three years.
As for the World Series, it all hinged on if Spike Chase was on the mound or not and if the bullpen could hold a lead when Chase headed in for his traditional early shower. The brilliant young Chase is virtually unhittable but due to a rare muscle condition stemming from a venereal disease Chase picked up in cheap hotel in the the low minors back in season 6, he typically runs out of gas at 75 or 80 pitches. In the World Series Chase started games 1, 4, and 7 and went 3-0, allowing an incredible zero runs in 17 innings and just 8 hits, while striking out 21 and walking just 3, making him a unanimous World Series MVP. Iowa won just 1 game without Chase, a crucial 5-4 win in game 2, behind a strong pitching effort by Hipolito Padilla and a HR from Ricardo Valdes. Valdes was key all post-season, with 4 HRs and a .780 OPS. For Tacoma, the key pitching performance came from Roger Washington who made his only World Series appearance in game 6, when his 8 innings of 1-run ball forced game 7. Props also go to big 1B Earl Bradley, who put up a 1.102 playoff OPS and filled the DH spot nicely in the World Series.
Congrats carlspenard and Iowa City! Everyone else--better luck next year!