Dobson Ranch Bashers(110-59) vs.
Jackson Holy Cows(110-59)

Game Location Results Win Loss Save
1 at Jackson Bashers 3, Holy Cows 0 M.Wacha(1-0) J.Verlander(1-1) E.Diaz(4)
HR – M.Machado(3), V.Pasquantino(1)
2 at Jackson Holy Cows 6, Bashers 1 M.Mikolas(2-0) N.Lodolo(0-2) None
HR – J.Rodriguez(1), A.Pujols(1)
3 at Dobson Ranch Bashers 7, Holy Cows 5 G.Cole(2-0) M.Scherzer(1-2) E.Diaz(5)
HR – M.Machado(4), D.Vogelbach(3), J.Naylor(2), J.Rodriguez(2), C.Carroll(2), M.Carpenter(3)
4 at Dobson Ranch Holy Cows 8, Bashers 6 A.Minter(1-0) E.Diaz(0-1) S.Barlow(2)
HR – M.Carpenter(4), A.Pujols(2), J.Naylor(2), N.Hoerner(1)
5 at Dobson Ranch Holy Cows 15, Bashers 2 J.Verlander(2-1) M.Wacha(1-1) None
HR – M.Carpenter(5), A.Pujols(3)
6 at Jackson Holy Cows 11, Bashers 0 M.Mikolas(3-0) N.Lodolo(0-3) None
HR – A.Pujols(4), K.Higashioka(3), R.Arozarena(2), Y.Moncada(1)

(click game # for boxscore)

Jackson wins NLCS 4-2

Game 1 – With one out in the top of the first, Pasquatch, rookie 2nd round draft pick, Vinnie Pasquantino, belted one 340 feet down the right field line to put Dobson Ranch up 1-0. Two pitches later, Manny Machado gave one a ride down the left field line and the Bashers had bashed their way to a 2-0 advantage. #1 pick overall, Julio Rodriguez, had an RBI single in the 8th to make it a 3-0 final score. Michael Wacha pitche a hitless 5-1/3 innings, allowing only one walk for the win. The Basher bullie would give up only 2 hits and Edwin Diaz would get his 4th save of this post-season. Justin Verlander took the loss. Julio finished with 3 hits on the day. The Holy Cows threatened in the 7th, getting two on with nobody out, but David Bednar got two quick strikeouts and yielded to Jovani Moran who got a flyball to end the inning.

Game 2 – The game started as a pitcher’s duel between Jackson’s veteran Miles Mikolas and Dobson Ranch’s rookie #5 pick overall, Nick Lodolo. Both teams combined for only four hits thru the first 3-1/2 innings. In the bottom of the 4th, Randy Arozarena walked, stole 2nd and advanced to third on a wild pitch. That wasn’t necessary as veteran Albert Pujols, a key cog in the Chatham Bluefish’s 4 straight World Series wins from 2007-2010, said “Adios, pelota!”, giving the ball a 340-foot ride down the left field line. In the bottom of the 5th, the first three Holy Cows reached base to load them up for Arozarena. He raked one deep to left center, but not deep enough for the Grand Slam, just a sac fly to make it 3-zip JHC. Pujols came up to single and load the bases again. Mitch Keller relieved Lodolo and promptly hit Xander Bogaerts to force in a run. He walked Adolis Garcia for another run and Ji Man Choi capped off the 4-run burst with a sacrifice fly to deep right. The Bashers’ lone run came on Julio Rodriguez’s dinger that opened the 7th inning. Mikolas earned his 2nd victory of the post-season, pitching 8.0 innings, scattering 6 hits and allowing NO walks. Lodolo falls to 0-2 in the playoffs. The 40+ year old Pujols had 3 hits in 4 at bats to lead all hitters. The teams head to Oakland County Coliseum for game 3 with Jackson looking to regain home field advantage.

Game 3 – The Bashers took a trick out of the Holy Cows’ bag in the bottom of the 3rd inning. With two outs, Vinnie Pasquantino singled between short and third. Manny Machado then stepped to the plate and hit Max Scherzer’s 3-2 offering 392 feet to left-center to excite the home crowd with a 2-0 lead. Two pitches later, Josh Naylor went yard down the RF line. Dobson Ranch wasn’t done yet. Ian Happ doubled and Julio Rodriguez drove him in with a dinger 376 feet down the LF line. Jackson got on the board in the 5th when Ramon Urias singled and rookie, #6 pick overall, Corbin Carroll, deposited one in the bleachers down the RF line. Francisco Lindor got those two runs back in the 6th with a 2-out, 2-RBI double. Bashers 7, Holy Cows 2. Matt Carpenter hit a 2-run homer in the 7th to make it a 3-run game. Dan Vogelbach led off the 8th with a blast down the right field line to close the gap to two. That ended the scoring as Edwin Diaz fanned two in a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 5th save of this post-season. Gerritt Cole fanned 9 and scattered 5 hits and 4 walks in 5.0 innings for the win. Scherzer took the defeat. Carpenter and Vogelbach each had 2 hits for JHC. Julio topped DRB with 3 hits in 4 trips to the dish.

Game 4 – Bryce Elder, the first pick of the 3rd round, took the hill for the Dobson Ranch Bashers. The first 4 batters he faced managed a single and 3 walks. Jackson managed to tack on a run with a fielder’s choice, but DRB was fortunate to only be trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom half of the inning. Josh Naylor tied the game in the home half with a 2-run shot to right off Garrett Hill. An RBI double by Manny Machado and a sacrifice fly by Nico Hoerner in the 3rd gave Dobson Ranch a 2-run cushion. The Holy Cows erased their deficit in the top of the 6th on a two-run homer by Albert Pujols and a fielder’s choice. Dave Kruper’s squad answered with a leadoff dinger by Hoerner and an RBI double by Francisco Lindor. Kyle Higashioka’s double in the 7th plated Santiago Espinal and the game was knotted at 6 runs apiece. Kruper went with his ace closer, Edwin Diaz, to start the 9th. Edwin’s playoff performance was near perfect at this point – 5.1 innings, 10 Ks, 1 hit and no runs to go with his 5 saves. Pujols got a one-out single, then Diaz then held his breath as Higashioka hit one back, back, back to left field but Ian Happ chased it down for the 2nd out. Three pitches later, Matt Carpenter hit one to deep right, but this one wouldn’t stay in the ballpark and the ‘Cows took an 8-6 lead. In the bottom of the 9th with Scott Barlow on the hill, Vinnie Pasquantino drew a 2-out walk that brought Julio Rodriguez up. Julio took Barlow’s 1-0 offering for a ride 328 feet down the left field line. Unfortunately for the Bashers, the wall at Oakland County Coliseum is 330 feet and Corbin Carroll parked under it for the final out. Higiashioka had 4 hits on the day, Randy Arozarena added 3 of JHC’s total of 13. Julio finished with a pair of hits and Alan Trejo also had 2 for DRB. AJ Minter was the winner, Diaz the loser and Barlow notched the save. 

Game 5 – It was a 66-degree night at Oakland County Coliseum with the wind blowing out to left-center at 15 mph. Jackson jumped on Michael Wacha early, with Randy Arozarena leading off the game by doubling off the wall in right-center. He advanced to third on Xander Bogaert’s single to left-center. Matt Carpenter came to the plate and drilled one down the RF line. It landed in Rob Refsnyder’s glove, but Rob had no chance at Arozarena. Jackson ran themselves out of the inning as Bogaerts was nailed at second base on the first pitch to Adolis Garcia. Albert Pujols nailed one to deep left-center in the 2nd, but even with the wind blowing out, it couldn’t make it over the wall 360-feet away, but it was still a sacrifice fly and Jackson was up by 2. The Holy Cows made it a 5-0 game in the 5th with an RBI double by Bogaerts and a 2-run homer by Carpenter, who took it down the RF line again, this time 21 feet up into the cheap seats. Jackson put the pedal to the metal in the 6th, sending 13 batters to the dish and tallying 9 more runs. The big blows were Santiago Espinal’s 3-run double followed by Pujols shot down the LF line. At that point, coach Dave Kruper threw up the white flag, letting Dylan Lee stay in to mop things up. The Bashers scored 2 in the bottom of the 6th and JHC tacked on a run in the 8th for the 15-2 final. JHC’s 15 runs ties for 4th all time in an NLCS game in the SWBA’s history. Justin Verlander tossed a complete game, fanning 9 Bashers and allowing only 4 hits. Bogaerts had 3 hits in 4 AB for JHC as they pounded out 16 base hits and drew 6 walks. Arozarena, Espinal, Pujols and Ramon Urias each had 2 hits. The series shifts back to PNC Park with Jackson needing only one win to advance to the franchise’s first World Series in their 17 years in the league.

Game 6 – The temperature at PNC Park at game time was a brisk 59 degrees with the wind blowing in from right-center at 5 MPH. Dave Kruper was counting on rookie Nick Lodolo to bounce back from his game 2 start and put out the fire Jackson started in game 5. He gave up two hits in the bottom of the first, but Jeff McNeil was thrown out stealing and that prevented any runs from scoring. The second inning didn’t start out well as Manny Machado threw Adolis Garcia’s grounder away. Kyle Higashioka smashed Lodolo’s 2-2 pitch over the wall down the LF line and it was 2-0 ‘Cows. Jackson smelled blood and was determined to end the series and jumped all over the youngster in the 3rd. 42-year old Albert Pujols led off the inning by hitting his 4th home run of the NLCS. Three batters later, Higashioka chased Lodolo to the showers with an RBI double. Kruper called on Jovani Moran to get the Bashers out of the inning. He chose to walk Ji Man Choi which loaded the bases for a more favorable matchup with Yoan Moncada, who hit only .229 vs lefties in the regular season. Yoan decided to make them pay and did he? He clobbered it 339 feet down the LF line for the Grand Slam. The home crowd went nuts when JHC tacked on 2 more runs in the inning to go up 10-0 and their chances at the franchise’s first ever World Series appearance was not only possible, but highly probable. Randy Arozarena would lead off the 5th with a dinger to end the scoring. While the Holy Cows were racing around the bases, Dobson Ranch could do nothing right against Miles Mikolas. They managed only 6 hits for the entire game as Jackson got back-to-back complete games, this one an 11-0 shutout for Mikolas. Rookie Julio Rodriguez had 2 hits for DRB and he batted .458 with 2 home runs for the series. Pujols had 3 hits to top Jackson’s 13-hit attack. He and Mikolas were named co-MVPs of the NLCS. Albert finished 10-15 with 4 HR and 8 RBI. Mikolas was 2-0 allowing 12 hits in 17 innings and finishing with an 0.53 ERA. The Jackson Holy Cows’ franchise started during the 2007 SWBA season as the Ft. Wayne Komets. This is their 6th time in the playoffs, 5th under Lou Landhuis who took over the final 116 games of the 2012 campaign. Lou took the team to the 2015 NLCS, but lost to the eventual World Series Champions, the Whitewater Minerhawks.

Albert Pujols ▪ Miles Mikolas

.667/.625/1.467, 4 HR, 8 RBI ▪ 2-0, 17 IP, 12 H, 0.53 ERA