The Memphis Melee won their first 10 games of the 2021 postseason and finished off the Brooklyn Cubs in a five-game World Series to claim their fourth PGBL championship.
Max Stassi and Trea Turner homered in a four-run seventh inning of the finale and the Melee pulled away for a 8-5 triumph to secure the title.
Tanner Scott induced a Dominic Smith popup to end the Cubs’ ninth-inning rally and trigger a celebration.
Memphis opened the series with a 4-1 victory at home, as Zac Gallen and three relievers blanked the Cubs over the final eight innings while rookie Luis Robert homered in his first two at-bats and drove in three.
In Game 2, series MVP Juan Soto tied the game in the sixth with a three-run homer off Framber Valdez and a Robinson Cano single put the Melee in front an inning later. After Raisel Iglesias surrendered a tying double to Cedric Mullins in the top of the ninth, Wil Myers hit a two-run walkoff homer in the 10th off Jake Diekman for a 6-4 win and 2-0 series lead.
As the series shifted to Brooklyn, Michael Conforto hit a leadoff homer against Pablo Lopez and singled in a run in the fourth to stake the Melee to a 2-0 lead that held up as Tyler Mahle and four relievers held the Cubs to one run on four hits.
The Cubs, in what is expected to be their final season in Brooklyn, avoided the sweep by scoring three times off Taijuan Walker in the first inning of Game 4 en route to an 8-3 triumph. Memphis was limited to solo homers by Alec Bohm, Myers and Conforto, who finished the series batting .316 and scored once in each of the last four games.
The South League No. 4-seeded Memphis Memphis remained undefeated in the 2021 PGBL playoffs, while the Brooklyn Cubs upended a 108-win Toronto team to claim the North League pennant.
Juan Soto’s three-run homer in the eighth inning of Game 4 lifted the Melee to an 8-6 victory in the finale. Brooklyn climbed out of a 2-1 hole by winning three in a row, scoring four runs in the top of the 15th inning of Game 6 for a 7-3 triumph.
With their second pennant in club history, the Cubs enter the World Series for the first time since 2005 looking for their first championship amid rumors of a potential relocation. Memphis will be seeking its fourth title, but the first since 2004.
Steven Brault and three Memphis relievers combined on a no-hitter as the Melee completed a three-game sweep of top-seeded Dublin in the first round of the South League playoffs.
Brault worked 5 2/3 innings before Tejay Antone, Victor Gonzalez and Raisel Iglesias closed out the 3-0 win and send Memphis into the SLDS against division rival St. Louis in a matchup of wildcard teams.
It was the first no-hitter in PGBL postseason play, and the second straight shutout for the Melee, who won Game 2 by a 1-0 score after a 5-4 triumph in the opener. The Clydesdales also swept their series, topping Twin City by scores of 8-5, 7-6 and 8-4.
Both North League series went four games, as No. 1 overall seed got past Pittsburgh and Norris Division champ Brooklyn advanced over London.
Links: 2021 Playoffs | No-hitters
Norris Division rivals Brooklyn and Pittsburgh both clinched playoff spots on the penultimate day of the 2021 PGBL season, finalizing the field of eight for the postseason.
The Cubs wrapped up the division title with a 4-0 win over Louisville, while the Cobras secured the final wild card with their 7-5 win over Dublin coupled with Vancouver’s 7-4 loss to Tijuana.
Pittsburgh will open the North League playoffs against Maple Leaf champion and top overall seed Toronto, while the Cubs will host London in the first round. In the South League, the Confederate champion Guinness are the top seed and will host Memphis and Cactus Division winner Twin City opens against St. Louis.
The Tigers, Cubs and Cobras are all seeking their first PGBL title, while the Guinness are looking their first championship under the current ownership.
Compton ace Shane Bieber has joined PGBL Hall of Famer Greg Maddux as the only pitchers in league history with multiple no-hitters.
Bieber finished off his second no-no of the 2021 season by striking out the final three batters to complete a 1-0 road victory over Oakland. He finished with 12 Ks while walking four with no margin for error as a Paul Goldschmidt homer provided his only support.
Bieber posted the 22nd no-hitter on record and third of the season, just one day shy of four months since his 3-0 gem at Louisville. He improved to 12-10 with a 2.94 ERA and 292 strikeouts – four behind league leader Jacob deGrom of Dublin.
Maddux recorded three no-hitters, including the first two in PGBL history, less than a month apart in the league’s inaugural season.
With about three weeks left in the regular season, six teams remain in realistic contention for the four North League playoff berths while the South League field seems set.
Confederate Division leader Dublin (95-48) has won seven straight and punched its playoff ticket, while Twin City (79-62) has a nine-game lead in the Cactus Division with a magic number at 13.
St. Louis (89-51) is 4½ games behind the Guinness, but seven up on Memphis (82-58) in position for the top wild card. The Melee hold a 12½-game cushion to secure the final SL berth.
Toronto (94-47) is also on a seven-game win streak and are on the verge of clinching a playoff berth, holding a 16-game lead in the Maple Leaf Division. Vancouver (78-63) and London (77-63) are currently in the wild card positions, but three Norris Division contenders could still enter the mix.
Brooklyn (75-65) and Pittsburgh (75-66) have alternated stints as division leaders in recent days, while Chicago (73-69) has won 8 of 10 to climb within three games of first place and 4½ games of the No. 4 spot.