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 two-time defending champions; the reigning South League pennant winners; a first-round rematch of division rivals; and four teams that missed the field a year ago.
The 2018 PGBL playoff field features eight teams that all finished at least 10 games above .500 and have accounted for 17 World Series titles.
The Oakland Athletes hold the No. 1 overall seed for the second time in three seasons, rebounding from the league’s worst record a year ago. The Athletes open the postseason against the similarly resurgent St. Louis Clydesdales, who managed a mere 55 victories in 2017.
The two-time reigning champion Chicago Cardinals will be seeking their seventh championship when start their latest title defense against the Ottawa Argonauts, who return to the postseason after a one-year layoff.
The other North League pairing features a rematch of Maple Leaf Division rivals as the top-seeded Calgary Roughnecks entertain the Vancouver Wildcats. Calgary, which closed the regular season with eight straight wins, took last year’s opening series in four games.
The Dublin Guinness, defending SL champs and the league’s only repeat qualifier, battle the Louisville Long Rifles, who like Chicago are seeking their seventh championship – but their first since 1999.
Oakland is one of three teams in the field to never win the championship. The Roughnecks are the only one of the eight to never win a pennant, while Vancouver’s only NL crown came in 1991 – when the club was still in Calgary.
Matt Carpenter broke a ninth-inning tie with a two-run home run and Zach Britton induced three ground ball outs in the bottom half as the Chicago Cardinals earned a 4-2 victory over Dublin in Game 6 to win their sixth PGBL World Series Championship.
Britton, who saved Chicago’s first three wins and did not allow a run in the series, struck out two in two innings for the victory and was named the MVP.
The Cardinals were held scoreless into the eighth inning by Guinness starter Marcus Stroman until Carpenter’s two-out homer cut Dublin’s lead to 2-1. After Mike Trout reached on a Stroman error, Kenley Jansen walked three straight batters to force in the tying run.
In the ninth, Giancarlo Stanton hit a one-out double off Brad Hand and Carpenter sent a 2-0 pitch over the center field wall to give Chicago the lead.
The Cardinals built a 3-0 series lead before Dublin won Games 4 and 5 on the road to send the series back to Wrigley Field.
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Four teams with a combined 12 championships and four seeking their first title comprise a 2017 PGBL playoff field that features three 100-win teams and two division rivalries in the first round.
The defending champion Chicago Cardinals open their quest for a sixth crown and 12th North League pennant as the league’s top seed against Norris Division foe Boston. The Braves eclipsed 90 wins for a second straight season after totaling just 66 in the prior two years.
Overall top seed Dublin’s prize for winning 121 games and the Confederate Division crown is a first-round South League matchup with the upset-minded Flagstaff Elk, who are making their first postseason appearance since 2010 and third overall. The Guinness are seeking the franchise’s third overall title but its first since relocating from Key West.
Three-time champ Memphis won 118 games but will go on the road for its series opener with two-time winner Tijuana. The Melee last made the playoffs in 2012 when they lost a tight five-game division series to the Tequila Swiggers, who went on to a repeat crown.
In the other NL matchup, the tense season-long Maple Leaf Division rivalry between Vancouver and Calgary continues after both teams finished the regular season at 92-60. The Roughnecks held the tiebreaker and sealed home field advantage by beating the Wildcats in the first two of their season-ending four-game matchup on the road. Both teams are seeking their first World Series appearance in their current location.
Mark Teixeira’s three-run home run capped a five-run fifth inning and Matt Carpenter added another three-run shot in the eighth as the Chicago Cardinals captured their fifth PGBL championship with an 8-3 win over Oakland in Game 6 of the World Series at The Coliseum.
Garret Cole settled down after the Athletes’ three-run first to finish with seven strikeouts in seven-plus innings. Carlos Villanueva retired all four batters he faced, striking out Francisco Cervelli to finish Chicago’s second title in four seasons.
Chicago won the final four games after Oakland took the first two contests at home. Teixeira hit .412 in the Series with three homers and eight RBIs to earn MVP honors.
The Cardinals won 98 games in the regular season but entered the postseason as the North League’s No. 4 seed after finishing third in the Norris Division’s tight three-team battle. Chicago ousted Ottawa in a four-game Divisional Series meeting and topped Cleveland in a six-game NLCS.
The 123-win Athletes were pushed to the brink by Las Vegas in their Division Series before advancing with a 6-2 win in Game 5. Oakland then got three shutouts in the final four games to claim a 4-2 SLCS win over defending champion St. Louis.