Finals: Mt. Vernon Thunder Defeat Bay City in Six Games
Like the semis, the 2011 finals featured a slew of one run and extra-inning games, with only the finale being decided by more than two runs.
Game 1: Thunder 5 Blues 3
Cahill went eight strong innings and Thatcher nailed down the save as the Thunder jumped off to a 1-0 lead in the series. The big blow was Jimmy Rollins' 2-run HR off of Cole Hamels. Nelson Cruz went deep for the Blues in a losing cause.
Game 2: Blues 2 Thunder 1
The Blues evened the series behind a strong effort by Matt Latos, with late inning help from victor Joaquin Benoit and Billy Wagner. Cruz' 8th inning RBI single was the difference maker here.
Game 3: Thunder 5 Blues 4 (10 innings)
It was a pivotal and exciting game, as the Blues jumped off to a 4-0 lead after an inning and a half. The Thunder rallied early behind a 2-run shot by Drew Stubbs to make it a 4-3 game, where it stayed until the 9th inning. Hunter Pence tied the game with a solo shot against Wagner. Chase Utley delivered the game winning hit in the bottom of the 10th off of Lyon to give the Thunder a 2-1 series lead.
Game 4: Thunder 3 Blues 2 (10 innings)
Juan Uribe was the hero in this one, as he smacked a solo walk-off HR in the bottom of the 10th off of David Aardsma. Both teams left a total of 25 men on base in this taut contest. Both bullpens threw nine scoreless innings of relief until the Uribe blast.
Game 5: Blues 2 Thunder 0
Matt Latos continued his fine post-season pitching as he spun a 3-hit complete game shut-out to move the series to a sixth game. Longoria and Tabata accounted for the Blues' runs. Anibal Sanchez also went nine, but took his second loss in this series after winning both of his starts in the semi-finals against the Stars.
Game 6: Thunder 10 Blues 6
The Thunder won the ESL crown in the only lopsided game of the series, running out to a 10-1 lead off of Blues atarter Pettitte and Chacin's poor reflief effort. The Blues fought back, scoring five runs in the 8th to make it closer, but that was all they could muster. Aubrey Huff was the hitting star, cracking two homers, while Stubbs added his second of the series. And let us not forget Matt Holliday, who finally got a hit in the 7th inning and finished the series with 1 for 25 (.040)!
Congratulations to the Mount Vernon Thunder on winning their 3rd E.S.L. championship and their first since 1999. This ties them with the Haymakers for the most titles by a Southern Division team. And all three of their crowns have been won since the last time the Haymakers were champs, a hard-to-believe twenty years ago! You could look it up.