Pipers Win Their 1st ESL Title
For 3rd Year Straight, a "Newbie" Wins ESL Crown
It took 30 years to happen, but the Albany
Capitals finally wear the crown as E.S.L.
Champions. The last of the original franchises
to earn that title, the Caps left no doubt that
they were the class of the league, demolishing
their Northern Division opponents and then
defeating a solid Rye Crackers squad in six
Power was the Caps forte, as they smashed 13
round-trippers during the six game series, and
added solid starts from their young pitchers to
earn their title. And given the youthfulness of
the Caps as a whole, they figure to take less
than 30 years to repeat.
Rye Crackers over the Penfield
Coasters 3 games
Game 1: Rye
Crackers 6 - Penfield Coasters 5
Neither starting pitcher (Oswalt and Webb)
distinguished themselves, but at least Webb had the
benefit of solid defense. Two Coaster errors led
to three unearned runs. David Wright's 2-run HR in
the fifth tied the game at 5-5 and the Crackers pushed
ahead the game winner an inning later to give Rye a one
Game 2: Rye
Crackers 5 - Penfield Coasters 0
It was the A.J. Burnett show in Game 2, as
the Crackers' righty allowed only two hits and no runs
over 7 2/3 innings, while striking out 12 Coasters.
David Wright hit his second HR in two games, and J.J.
Hardy added one of his own. No contest here, as the
Coasters never threatened.
Game 3: Rye
Crackers 6 - Penfield Coasters 5
The finale was as taught as the opener.
The Crackers raced out to a 6-0 lead, with series MVP
David Wright hitting his 3rd home run. But the
Coasters finally showed some signs of life and stormed
back with five runs of their own. Still, they were
unable to push any more runs across, as they wasted
several chances, stranding 8 runners. The Crackers
took the series in convincing fashion and moved on
against the waiting Caps.
Finals: Albany Caps over the Rye
games to 2.
Game 1: Rye
Crackers 3 - Albany Caps 1
The Crackers continued to play faultless
baseball, and Brandon Webb was sharp for 7 innings,
outdueling C.C. Sabathia. Daric Barton had a homer and a
double to lead the Crackers' attack.
Game 2: Albany
Caps 9 - Rye Crackers 2
Yovani Gallardo was the story on the mound
as he continued his unbeaten ways into the post-season.
He Had all the support he needed in the bats of Hanly
Ramirez and Prince Fielder, who each homers. The
Caps jumped out to an early 7-0 lead off of A.J.
Burnett and never looked back.
Game 3: Albany
Capitals 5 - Rye Crackers 0
For a team noted for their offense, the
Caps' pitching continued to be the story in this series,
as Matt Cain shut-out the Crackers for eight innings,
and Juan Cruz then came in to strike out the side in the
9th. Four Caps' home runs (two by Martinez, one each by
Youkilis and Melky Cabrera) made sure this game was
never in doubt, as the Caps took the lead in the series.
Game 4: Rye
Crackers 8 - Albany Capitals 4
The Crackers evened up the series behind
and 11 hit attack and a strong showing from their
bullpen. Daric Barton continued to impress, with a
double, homer, and three RBIs. Webb went a shaky
five for the win, but the Crackers bullpen covered the
last twelve outs, allowing just a harmless run in the
Game 5: Albany
Capitals 8 - Rye Crackers 4 (12 innings)
In this pivotal post-season game, A.J.
Burnett was on his game, holding the Caps scoreless over
the first 6 1/3 innings, while the Crackers opened a 4-0
lead and took this into the 8th inning. But
Betancourt and Bell could not hold it, as the Caps
stormed back to tie the game on Melky Cabrera's 9th
inning tater. Then in the 12th, Albany pushed
across four runs in a big inning against the veteran
Timlin. The Caps were one game away from their
Game 6: Albany
Capitals 9 - Rye Crackers 6
Both teams had their hitting shoes on, but
it was the Caps' bats that prevailed in this slugfest.
Albany swept out to a 6-0 lead and brought that into the
6th when the Crackers plated five tallies and a sixth
one inning later. But the momentum swung back to
Albany in the bottom of the 7th when Prince Fielder hit
a three-run homer to provide the margin of victory.
Three Caps relievers blanked the Crackers over the final
three innings and the champagne began to flow in Albany.
Unfortunately, it was rather flat, having sat around for
And so while the
Albany Capitals had earned a reputation as E.S.L.
also-rans, the 2008 version of this team well deserved
its title as E.S.L. Champions. And perhaps they
will do it again in another 30 years, just in time for
Mgr. Dave Kidera's 88th birthday. Congratulations to the
2008 Albany Capitals!