The Calgary Roughnecks won their first PGBL Championship in an epic wild seven-game World Series over the Louisville Long Rifles, with Kyle Hendricks outdueling Max Scherzer in a 1-0 thriller in Game 7.
Marwin Gonzalez’s third-inning homer off Scherzer accounted for the only run in the finale, capping a series that opened with a wild 21-inning win by Louisville. Gonzalez hit .448 for the series to win MVP honors.
Calgary advanced to the finals by beating Vancouver in a four-game first round North League series and outlasting Ottawa through five games of the NLCS. Louisville won the South League pennant with playoff wins over Dublin and Oakland.
In the deciding game, Hendricks held the Rifles to three hits while striking out 11 in seven innings, while Scherzer had 10 Ks and scattered eight hits in 6 2/3.
After Adam Warren allowed a one-out single to Elvis Andrus in the eighth, Brandon Morrow got the final five outs for the Roughnecks with Jonathan Schoop lining out to right fielder Chris Owings to trigger the celebration at Minute Maid Park.
The Oakland Athletes became the first club to clinch its 2018 postseason berth, wrapping up the Cactus Division title on Aug. 29.
Oakland locked up the title after Rhys Hoskins’ three-run first-inning homer led to a 6-5 win over Louisville. Coupled with Twin City’s 10-inning 7-6 loss to Dublin, the win erased the Athletes’ magic number as they improved to 89-41 and extended their lead over the Truckers to 34 games.
With the top record in the PGBL, Oakland is on pace to complete a complete bounce-back after falling from a league-best 123-39 record in 2016 to a league-worst mark of 54-109 a year ago.
The division title is the Athletes’ third in four seasons following a run of three straight last-place finishes. Oakland also posted the league’s best record in 2015 (116-46).
The Louisville Long Rifles struck the first major deal of the 2018 season by acquiring star pitcher Max Scherzer from Toronto.
But the Dublin Guinness responded immediately and acquired Paul Goldschmidt in a blockbuster nine-player trade with Cactus Division leader Oakland.
Dublin, the reigning SL champion on a 10-game win streak that has forged a five-game lead over Louisville and St. Louis, sent Christian Yelich, Rhys Hoskins and Brett Gardner along with three draft picks and two prospects to Oakland.
The Athletes, up seven games in their division and tied with the Guinness for the SL’s best record at the time of the deal, included Michael Brantley, Trevor Rosenthal and Dominic Leone along with Goldschmidt.
Dublin’s response came after the Long Rifles struck their big deal, getting Scherzer along with Felipe Rivero and Chris Ianetta from the Tigers for a package of young talent that included Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani as a player to be named later.
As the start of the 2018 PGBL season arrives, the Chicago Cardinals begin their quest for a third straight championship while 19 other clubs hold varying degrees of hope at dethroning them.
Chicago starts the year with a four-game home series against first-round playoff foe Boston. Dublin begins its quest for another South League pennant against St. Louis.
Reigning division champions Tijuana and Calgary open on the road at Twin City and Pittsburgh, respectively. After winning more than 100 games, Memphis also opens on the road at Compton.
The other series featuring 2017 playoff teams have Flagstaff hosting Oakland and Vancouver at home against Toronto.
Teams need to make final cuts by the end of the day on on December 28, to ensure all rosters are trimmed to the 45 man limit.
The drafts will take place at 1:45pm on New Year’s Day. All players on the Free Agent pages as well as all players cut between the Player Draft and December 28 are available. The cut players who do not have 2017 MLB playing time will be listed on the draft sheet. Here is a link to the draft page, it will be on the website by January 1.
The Vacated Stadium draft will begin at 1:45pm, and the Free Agent draft will being at 2:00pm.