California Cannibals 99-67 vs.
California Coolers 107-60

Game Location Results Win Loss Save
1 at California Coolers 1, Cannibals 0 C.Burnes(2-0) S.Strider(1-1) Y.Almonte(1)
  HR – None
2 at California Cannibals 3, Coolers 2 (11) D.Bard(1-0) M.Manning(0-1) E.Cabrera(1)
  HR – B.Nimmo(2), B.Anderson(1)
3 at Hannibal Cannibals 2, Coolers 1 M.Bush(1-0) N.Pivetta(0-1) R.Helsley(2)
  HR – M.Olson(2)
4 at Hannibal Coolers 8, Cannibals 1 J.Luzardo(1-0) R.Hill(1-1) None
  HR – A.Judge(3), D.Villar(2), M.Margot(1)
5 at Hannibal Cannibals 5, Coolers 1 S.Strider(2-1) C.Burnes(2-1) None
  HR – T.Turner(2), J.Profar(2)
6 at California Coolers 2, Cannibals 1 D.Cease(2-0) L.Lynn(1-1) Y.Almonte(2)
  HR – JT.Realmuto(3)
7 at California Cannibals 6, Coolers 1 R.Helsley(1-0) N.Pivetta(0-2) None
  HR – JT.Realmuto(4), J.Chisholm(2)

(click game # for boxscore)

Hannibal wins the ALCS 4-3

Game 1 – The ALCS got underway at Wrigley Field with the thermometer reading 59 degrees. The wind was blowing in from left-center at 16 mph. Spencer Strider sat down the first 11 Coolers he faced, 7 by strikeout. Corbin Burnes was on too, allowing only 3 hits and fanning 8 in 7.2 innings. The lone run in this pitching duel came in the bottom of the 7th when Manuel Margot got a one-out single to left-center. He then stole second and raced home on Seiya Suzuki’s liner to right-center. Burnes upped his 2023 playoff record to 2-0. Strider took the loss and sits at 1-1. He finished with 12 K’s, no BB’s and only 4 hits in 6-1/3 innings. Suzuki was the only player to collect 2 hits on the afternoon. Neither team drew a walk….

Game 2 – It was a chilly night (52 degrees) for game two of the ALCS. California jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd as Manuel Margot singled and scored on Brian Anderson’s 2-run shot to LF. Hannibal scored their first run of the ALCS in the top of the 7th when Jurickson Profar walked, went to third on an error by B.Anderson and scored on Eric Hosmer’s sac fly to deep center. Cooler starter Dylan Cease was ejected for arguing Profar’s walk. Profar was at it again in the 8th, tying the game by driving in JT Realmuto with a single to right-center. The game was scoreless from there until two outs in the top of the 11th inning when Nimmo blasted one 384 feet into the RCF bleachers. In the bottom of the 11th, after Aaron Judge and Kolten Wong struck out, David Villar walked and Leody Taveras pinch-ran for him. Edward Cabrera took over for Daniel Bard. Margot singled again, moving the tying run to 90-feet away at third. Cabrera closed it out by inducing a grounder to short for the force out at second base. The Cannibals won 3-2 and head back home to Busch Stadium with home field advantage. Bard earned the win and Matt Manning was given the “L”. Margot had 3 of CAC’s 6 hits. Hannibal only had 8 hits, but Nimmo and Profar had 3 apiece.

Game 3 – Game 3 opened the ALCS in Busch Stadium with a temperature of 71 degrees, almost 20 degrees warmer than game 2 at Wrigley. It didn’t help the Cooler bats as they lived up to their name and didn’t manage a baserunner in the first 3 innings off Tarik Skubal. Nick Pivetta served up a tater to Matt Olson in the bottom of the 3rd and Hannibal took the early lead. In the top of the 5th, David Villar stepped to the plate with the bases full. He singled to left, but it wasn’t deep enough for more than one run to score. In the bottom of the 6th, JT Realmuto’s sacrifice fly to center pushed Brandon Nimmo across the plate and HAC was up again at 2-1. The Cannibals bullpen allowed only one hit in the last 4 innings – a 2-out double by Amed Rosario in the top of the 8th. Matt Bush got the win, Ryan Helsley the save. Pivetta was saddled with the loss. California out hit the Cannibals 7-4 and both teams stranded 5 runners. Rosario was the only player to have more than one hit (2).

Game 4 – It was 68 degrees with light rain at Busch Stadium for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. Roberto Blanco’s Coolers threatened in the top of the first, getting runners on 1st and 3rd before Cannibal starter Rich Hill closed the door. Trea Turner’s sacrifice fly in the bottom half plated Brandon Nimmo and the Hannibal faithful were happy to be ahead. Hill pitched well until the wheels fell off the bus in the top of the 5th. Elias Diaz got the party started with a single to center. Two batters later, Leody Taveras doubled, but the slow-footed catcher held up at third base. It didn’t matter as David Fletcher came to the dish and singled both runners in. Aaron Judge stepped up and sentenced Mr. Rawlings into the LF bleachers to put CAC up 4-1. The visitors weren’t finished yet. Manuel Margot doubled and scored on David Villar’s shot that just cleared the LF foul pole. The California bullpen allowed only 2 walks in 3 innings and the visitors scored 2 more runs in the 9th for the 8-1 rout. Jesus Luzaro pitched 6 innings of 3-hit ball, fanning 7 for the win. Margot and Taveras each had two hits to lead CAC. Matt Olson had 2 of Hannibal’s 3 hits. 

Game 5 – California manager Roberto Blanco was looking for his ace, Corbin Burnes, to duplicate his game one performance of 7.2 innings of shutout ball. Alex Verdugo had other ideas as he raked a single to right, plating JT Realmuto for a 1-0 Cannibal advantage in the bottom of the 2nd. Kolten Wong, batting third against Spencer Strider, tied the game with a single in the top of the 4th inning. Burnes cruised into the bottom of the 6th, allowing just the one run on 3 hits. Trea Turner hit his 1-1 offering into the left-center field bleachers to break the tie to lead off the inning. With two out and two on, Jurickson Profar stepped into the batter’s box and tattooed one 349 feet over the 9-foot wall in LF to close out the 4-run inning. Both bullpens made the 5-1 score stand and the ALCS heads back to Wrigley with the Cannibals one victory away from their 2nd World Series appearance in their history as a charter member of the SWBA. Profar and Verdugo combined for 5 of HAC’s 8 hits. 

Game 6 – Game 6 was a night game at Wrigley with the wind blowing in from left-center at 17 MPH and the thermometer displaying 56 degrees. California got on the board in the bottom of the first when Aaron Judge drew a walk and scored on Yadiel Hernandez’s 2-out double. In the 2nd, Brian Anderson doubled and scored on Francisco Mejia’s single to put the Coolers up 2-0. The game stayed that way until the top of the 9th when JT Realmuto went yard to make it a 2-1 final. Dylan Cease allowed only 3 hits while fanning 10 Cannibals in 6.0 innings for the win. Realmuto’s dinger was the only blemish on CAC’s bullpen with Yency Almonte, who Cali got from Dobson Ranch just before the trade deadline, earning the save. Lance Lynn was Hannibal’s starter and he took the loss. He scattered 8 hits and allowed only 2 runs in 5.1 innings on the night. Trea Turner was the lone visitor with more than one hit. Anderson, Amed Rosario and Seiya Suzuki each had a pair for CAC. This sets up the 4th time California and Hannibal have gone to a game 7 during the SWBA Playoffs. The previous 3 times were in Divisional Series, this is the first game 7 in the ALCS in their history together. They also played 2 other 6-game series in the Divisional Round.

Game 7 – It was the 4th playoff game 7 between two of the SWBA’s 12 charter franchises from the inaugural season in 1988. Manager Roberto Blanco, one of the three remaining original owners, was hoping to even his game 7 record versus Hannibal as the Cannibals won game sevens in 2010 and 2016. California’s lone game seven victory came during the 2009 playoffs. Steve Hamilton sent Tarik Skubal, in his 3rd SWBA season, to the hill. Skubal was 9-4 with a 3.18 ERA during the regular season. Blanco countered with Nick Pivetta who went 15-7 with a 3.82 ERA. After sitting down the first six Cannibals in order, Pivetta served up a leadoff HR to Jazz Chisholm in the third. Hannibal tallied 2 more runs in the 4th when Matt Olson drew a one-out base on balls and scored on JT Realmuto’s 4th homer of the post-season. In the bottom half, Amed Rosario tripled then crossed the plate on Francisco Mejia’s grounder between first and second. Seiya Suzuki singled Mejia to second. The crowd was hoping to put up a crooked number for the inning, but Skubal got a lineout to third, then started a 1-4-3 twin-killing to end the threat. California loaded the bases in the bottom of the 5th, but once again, Hannibal got out of the jam with Matt Bush relieving Skubal. Brandon Nimmo and Trea Turner singled to open the 6th, chasing Pivetta to the showers. Sam Moll took over and yielded a sac fly to Realmuto to make it a 4-1 game. Three batters later, Matt Chapman’s double down the LF line plated Matt Olson and Alex Verdugo, upping the score to 6-1 and completely silencing the home town crowd. Daniel Bard and Ryan Helsley would pitch the last 3.1 innings of shutout ball, allowing only one hit and one walk. The Hannibal Cannibals take game 7 and advance to the franchise’s 2nd World Series appearance in 36 seasons. Helsley was credited with the win as Skubal only pitched 4-1/3. Pivetta took the loss. Hannibal had 7 hits in the game by 7 different batters and stranded only 5 runners. Rosario finished the game 4-4, but that was half of CAC’s team total and they couldn’t get the clutch hits as they left 10 runners on base. Jurickson Profar posted an ALCS slash of .348/.400/.522 with a home run and four RBI. The Cannibals will host the Jackson Holy Cows in the 2023 SWBA World Series.

Spencer Strider ▪ Jurickson Profar

1.38 ERA, 13 IP, 20 K, 8 H, 2 R ▪ .348/.400/.522, 1 HR, 4 RBI