The Fall Classic recap for Season 9:
#1 Louisville Legends vs. #1 Austin City Limits
This was a matchup of the two best teams all season, with both making their first World Series appearance. Austin was trying to make it 5 straight wins for the NL (and 7 out of 9 overall) while Louisville was attempting to shed the label of "Best Franchise Never to Have Won a Title".
The series started with a great game in front of a raucous Austin crowd. Austin drew first blood in the very first inning on a Jimmie Williams 2-run homer off Danny Little. But Louisville tied it right back up in the second off a Stubby Byrne RBI double and a 2-out infield hit by Little to drive Byrne home. The two teams traded runs until the 8th, when Austin loaded the bases with no one out. Louisville got out of the jam with only one run (a Sam Brumfield double play brought the only run in), but that was the deciding run of the game as Austin took Game 1 by a score of 4-3.
Game 2 saw Austin jump on starter Lance Stevens and hold on to win the game. A 2-run homer by Brumfield and a 3 RBI double by Justin Gordon highlighted the first 3 innings, as Stevens left after 2 1/3 innings trailing 7-1. But Louisville almost came all the way back, as an Amp Palmer RBI double followed by a Dewey Greenwoody 2-run shot closed Louisville to within 7-4. But they couldn't come all the way back, falling 8-6.
Game 3 in Louisville featured a much-needed pitching performance for the home team and a strange play. Hipolito Maradona pitched 6 innings, limiting the Austin offense to 1 run and although he didn't get the win, he kept his team around even as the offense struggled. Eventually they scratched out 4 runs, 2 of them coming on an inside-the-park homer by Stubby Byrne that Gordon just couldn't seem to corral as it rolled around the rightfield corner. Louisville closed the series lead to 2-1.
Game 4 was a good old-fashioned beating. Danny Little never got out of the second, surrendering 8 runs while getting only 5 outs. All 8 runs came in the second, an inning in which Austin 1B David Cortez homered twice and drove in 4. They pounded the bullpen as well, adding 5 runs in the 4th. Louisville never had a chance as they lost the game 17-1 to fall behind 3 games to 1.
Game 5 illustrates that some losses are worth more than one game. Part of it was the pitching of Miguel Castilla, but most Louisville fans will tell you the Game 4 loss was a soul-crushing loss and showed up in game 5. The Legends managed only 6 hits off Castilla in 8 innings, and Cortez again provided the offense, driving in 3 on a first inning sacrifice fly and a 2 RBI single in the 5th. Austin took the game 5-0 and the series 4 games to 1.
Congratulations to the new World Series champs Austin City Limits and to the Louisville Legends for a great season.