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2009 E.S.L. Post-Season Summaries

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 games. 

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.

Semi-Finals:

Rye Crackers over the Penfield Coasters  3 games to 0.

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 lead.

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 Crackers

4 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 9th.

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 long-deferred dream.

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 30 years. 

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!

 

2003 Bob Kidera. All rights reserved.                                                                Page design by B a s i c T e m p l a t e s . c o m.