St. Charles Saints 89-79 vs.
Hannibal Cannibals 90-78

Game Location Results Win Loss Save
1 at Hannibal Cannibals 1, Saints 0 J.McGee(2-0) R.Lopez(0-1) None
  HR – None
2 at Hannibal Saints 2, Cannibals 1 A.Nola(1-0) M.Barnes(0-1) A.Reyes(1)
  HR – D.Peralta(1)
3 at St. Charles Cannibals 10, Saints 7 A.Gomber(1-1) B.Singer(2-1) J.McGee(2)
  HR – J.Soto(5), A.Slater(2), A.Verdugo 2(2), B.Nimmo(1), T.Turner(1)
4 at St. Charles Saints 9, Cannibals 6 R.Lopez(1-1) T.Skubal(1-1) A.Reyes(2)
  HR – J.Soto(6), T.Anderson(3), A.Riley(3), O.Albies(3)
5 at St. Charles Saints 5, Cannibals 4 J.Ruiz(1-0) M.Barnes(0-2) A.Reyes(3)
  HR – O.Albies(4), J.Realmuto(3), B.Nimmo(2), M.Olson(2)
6 at Hannibal Saints 9, Cannibals 8 (10) G.Crochet(1-0) J.Kelly(1-1) None
  HR – O.Albies(5), A.Verdugo(3)

(click game # for boxscore)

St. Charles wins ALCS 4-2

Game 1 – The game started with Tim Anderson and Austin Riley getting one-out singles in the top of the first. Lancy Lynn shut the door and both guys were stranded. The Saints wouldn’t get two runners on at the same time until the 7th inning. The Cannibals didn’t get a pair of runners on until the bottom of the 5th. They thought they caught a big break when Alek Manoah was injured on Jazz Chisholm’s single, the first runner in the 5th, but four of St. Charles’ relievers kept HAC scoreless thru 7 innings. Lynn fanned 7 batters and scattered 4 hits in 6.2 innings for Hannibal. It was a 0-0 game heading into the bottom of the 9th. Reynaldo Lopez was on the hill for SCS. Chisholm led off with a single to right center. Matt Chapman flew out to left center for the first out. Raimel Tapia singled between short and third allowing Jazz to get to third base. Brandon Nimmo came up and hit a fly ball to shallow center. Chisholm raced to the plate and was safe for the walk-off sac fly. Chisholm, Tapia and Eric Hosmer each had 2 hits for the Cannibals. Riley was the lone Saint with 2 hits. Jake McGee earned the win. Lopez got the loss. Manoah pitched 4 innings of 2-hit ball with 7 K before getting hurt.

Game 2 – Coming off a great win in Game 1, Hannibal was looking to take the first two games at home in front of a thunderous crowd at Busch Stadium. And with the electric crowd behind them, they got off to a quick start in the first, taking a 1 zip lead on a sac fly from Alex Verdugo scoring Matt Olson. Like Game 1, it was a pitchers duel between Aaron Nola for the Saints and the Cannibals’ Lucas Giolito. The Cannibals held the lead until the 5th when Juan Soto doubled in Tim Anderson to tie the game at one. David Peralta hit a solo homer for the Saints in the top of the 7th off reliever Matt Barnes which proved to be the game winner as the Saints win Game Two, 2 to 1. Barnes suffered the loss. Nola picked up the win for the Saints going 6 innings allowing 4 hits, fanning 6 and giving up only 1 run. Bats cooled off for the Cannibals after the first with only 2 hits the rest of the game. Solid outing for Giolito who went 5 innings giving up just the one run in the fifth inning. Reyes locked it down in the 9th to earn the save.

Game 3 – The ALCS heads to the southside of Chicago tied at 1 game a piece. The home field advantage for the Saints was short lived in Game 3 as Hannibal came off the bus with their hitting shoes on, scoring 8 runs in the second inning off Saints’ starter Brady Singer, who didn’t make it out of the inning. Alex Verdugo accounted for 4 of the runs with two homers in the inning, a solo shot leading off and a three run absolute bomb sending Singer to an early shower. The Saints chipped away at the lead scoring runs in the second, third, and fifth off Cannibals’ starter Rich Hill who went 4 1/3. Hannibal led 8 to 3 heading into the bottom of the sixth when the Saints added 3 runs backed by a two-run shot by Juan Soto. Saints trailed 8 to 6 after six. Trea Turner hit a two run homer off Saints’ reliever Alex Vesia in the 8th extending Hannibal’s lead to 10 to 6 and they never looked back winning Game 3, 10 to 7. Austin Gomber picked up the win in relief. Jake McGee the save. Hannibal takes a two games to one lead heading into Game 4.

Game 4 – Before Game 4, with the SWBA playoffs making their way back to the southside of Chicago for the first time in quite some time, the league took a moment before the game to pay tribute to Kevin Griffin, the namesake of our league’s championship trophy. Sue and Tim Griffin, Kevin’s mother and brother, were on hand representing the family to honor Kevin’s lasting contributions to the SWBA. Game 4 was a match-up of southpaws. The Saints needing a win at home turned to veteran Mathew Boyd who faced Hannibal’s Tarik Skubal. The Cannibals’ bats left off right where they finished in Game 3, scoring 4 runs in the first off Boyd capped off by a two run single from Matt Chapman that scored Trea Turner and Carson Kelly. Tim Anderson’s solo shot in the bottom half of the frame left the Saints trailing 4 to 1. Boyd settled down and in fact didn’t allow another run through the fourth which gave the Saints bats time to come alive. And oh boy did they come alive in the fourth with 3 home runs. Back-to-back solo shots from Juan Soto and Austin Riley and a two-run blast to left center by Ozzie Albies put the Saints ahead 5 to 4. A two-run double by Austin Riley in the bottom of the fifth not only extended the Saints lead but proved to the game winner. The Cannibals pulled within one after a two-run 7th but the Saints responded with two runs of their own in the 8th off a pinch hit double by Jake Fraley. Final Score Saints 9 Cannibals 6. Skubal gets the loss. Reynaldo Lopez gets the win with two crucial scoreless relief innings of no hit ball in the 5th and 6th striking out 5 Cannibals in the process. Pivotal moment in the game. Alex Reyes pitched a scoreless ninth to record his second save of the series. The ALCS is tied at 2 games a piece.

Game 5 – Game 5 saw a rematch of starting pitchers from Game 1, as the grizzly veteran Lance Lynn took the mound for Hannibal and rookie right hander Alek Manoah going for St. Charles. Both starters pitched well showing off their frontline ability each lasting into the 6th inning and giving their team a chance to win. Both Lynn and Manoah pitched into the 6th inning. Anthony Rizzo’s sac fly in the bottom half of the second opened up the scoring giving the Saints an early 1 to 0 lead. Brandon Nimmo’s solo shot in the third tied the game at 1 run a piece. Hannibal took the lead in the top of the 5th, 2 to 1, on a solo shot from Matt Olson. “Great to see the ball go out of the park but I need to do more for my team” Olson later conveyed in his post game interview. Ozzie Albies deep sac fly to center in the 6th tied the game at 2. Hannibal took a late lead 4 to 2 on a two-run homer from JT Realmuto off Saints reliever Jose Ruiz in the top of the 8th. The Cannibals stranded two runners after the homer by Realmuto which proved costly as the Saints responded with 3 runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning. With two outs and two men on base, Ozzie Albies took a 1-0 pitch from Matt Barnes yard giving the Saints a 5 to 4 lead. And that’s how the final score ended after a 1-2-3 scoreless ninth from Alex Reyes who earned his 3rd save of the series. Barnes takes the loss. Ruiz fools’ gold win, after a rough 8th inning, was saved by the late heroics of Ozzie Albies. Saints win 5 to 4 to take a 3 games to 2 lead in the series. Series heads back to Hannibal for Game 6.

Game 6 – The bats for both teams dominated Game 6 with a total of 24 hits in the game and a wild finish at Busch Stadium. Neither starter pitched well with Lucas Giolito only lasting 4 and 2/3 and Aaron Nola getting one out in the sixth before getting pulled. Back and forth scoring saw the game tied at 5 after six innings.. Scoreless relief innings for both teams in the seventh and eighth set-up an epic ninth. In the top half of the frame, Jake McGee gives up a benign one out infield base hit to Juan Soto. A double down the third base line by the next batter Austin Riley put runners at second and third. McGee gets d’Arnaud on a comebacker for out number two bringing Ozzie Albies to the plate. With first base open, Hannibal elects to pitch to Albies with Rizzo on the on-deck circle. With the count at 1-1, Albies takes the next pitch 345 feet to the left field stands for his 3rd homer of the series giving the Saints a 8 to 5 lead heading into the bottom-half of the ninth. Alex Reyes in to pitch the ninth looking for his fourth save of the ALCS. He walks the first four batters he faces. Hannibal down 8 to 6 with the bases juiced for Trea Turner. Turner singles to left scoring Raimel Tapia and Brandon Nimmo. Game tied at 8. Now with men at 2nd and 3rd and nobody out, Brandon Orlando elects to keep Reyes in the game not wanting to go deeper into a depleted bullpen with a series that now seemed destined for a Game 7. Reyes walks Alex Verdugo to load the bases. It was obvious now Reyes couldn’t get anyone out so Orlando brings in the lefty Garret Crochet to face JT Realmuto. With the infield in, Crochet gets Realmuto looking at the knees. 1 out. Hannibal brings Carson Kelly into the game as a pitch hitter. Crochet makes quick work of Kelly on three pitches for the K. Two outs. With the lefty on the bump, Steve Hamilton brings in Brendan Rodgers to pitch hit for Jazz Chisholm. On a 1-1 pitch, Rodgers flies out deep to left to end the frame with the game tied at 8 heading to extra innings. In the 10th inning, Rizzo on second and Joe Kelly pitching, Daza singles to left advancing Rizzo to third. So it’s first and third for Joey Gallo. Kelly gets a clutch K of Gallo for the first out. Tim Anderson up. He hits a ground ball to Matt Olson who boots it allowing Rizzo to score from third. Saints lead 9 to 8. Kelly gets the next hitter David Peralta to ground into an inning ending 6 to 3 double play. Three outs. Bottom of the tenth. With only 9 pitches thrown, Crochet remains in the game for the Saints to pitch the bottom half of the tenth. With Rodgers on second, Crochet strikes out Abraham Toro for the first out. Tapia next up and he grounds out to Albies for out number two. Rodgers advances to third. With two outs and Rodgers on third now, Crochet past his EPC of 20 and facing Brandon Nimmo. Crochet on 4 pitches fans Nimmo for the final out of the ALCS. Crochet gets the win, Kelly suffers the heartbreaking loss for Hannibal. Saints won three straight to close out the series in six games. Saints head to the World Series for the 4th time in SWBA history dating back to the legacy Florida Green Wave franchise as well as the original Kodiak run. Only the 2nd appearance under Brandon Orlando’s 22 year tenure having last appeared and winning in 2011. ALCS MVP – Ozzie Albies. Hard to deny Juan Soto with a .611/.682/1.056/1.738 slash line but it was a classic “don’t tell me what you hit, tell me when you hit them” selection in Albies who drove in 11 runs (out of the total 32 runs scored by the Saints in the ALCS) with 3 HRs including a pivotal Game 5 winning blast and go ahead dinger late in Game 6. Albies ended the series with a .364 average and OPS of 1.287.

ALCS MVP – Ozzie Albies

.364/.423/.864, 3 HR, 11 RBI