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2002 Playoffs

World Series
Wichita 4, Prospect Park 0

Game 1:

WWH...1 0 0 2 1 1 1 0 2 - 8 11 0
PPP...0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 - 3 9 0

W: R. Johnson (1-0)
L: C. Schilling (0-1)
HR: B. Bonds (1), V. Guerrero (1), M. Piazza-2 (2), D. Mirabelli (1)

The 2002 NASA World Series represented the 10th anniversary of the first World Series in NASA history, back when the league was known as SLOB (Stratomatic League of Baltimore). In a fascinating tribute to nostalgia, the combatants in that first World Series, the only two original franchises still with their original owners, met once again in 2002. Their combined win totals (Prospect Park finished with 115, Wichita with 114) was the highest of any postseason series in NASA history.

The Whiffers scored first in Game 1, on a two-out RBI triple by Vlad Guerrero in the first inning. In the fourth, the Whiffers padded their lead on a two-out, two-run homer by Mike Piazza. A solo homer by Barry Bonds gave Wichita a comfortable 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth, but a two-run homer by surprise slugger Doug Mirabelli cut the lead in half, and a two-out RBI double by Phil Nevin brought Prospect Park within one.

Piazza gave the Whiffers an insurance run with another homer in the sixth, and another two-out hit, this one an RBI single by Carlos Beltran off reliever Terry Adams, gave Wichita the 6-3 lead. In the ninth, yet another two-out, two-run homer, this time by Guerrero, provided the final margin. Randy Johnson went the distance for Wichita, striking out 14 in the winning effort.

Game 2:

WWH...0 0 0 0 2 3 0 0 4 - 9 12 0
PPP...0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 1 - 4 10 0

W: R. Clemens (1-0)
L: R. Oswalt (0-1)
Sv: J. Manzanillo (1)

HR: E. Martinez (1), M. Piazza (3), J. Olerud (1), P. Nevin (1), R. Gutierrez (1)

The Posse broke out on top first in Game 2, when Frank Catalanotto singled with two out, stole second and came around on Gary Sheffield's RBI single. The potential for a big inning had been aborted, however, when Homer Bush was caught stealing after leading off the inning with a single.

In the top of the fifth, the Whiffers loaded the bases with none out, and after Jeff Conine struck out, Roberto Alomar came through with a single up the middle to plate two and give Wichita the lead. The Whiffers padded their lead in the seventh when Mike Piazza hit another homer, his third of the series, with two men aboard. The Posse got two runs back in the bottom of the inning on a homer by Phil Nevin, bringing Prospect Park within 5-3.

In the bottom of the eighth, Josias Manzanillo induced Juan Gonzalez to ground into a double play with two men aboard to abort a threat, and in the 9th, John Olerud led off with a homer and, with one out, Alomar singled and Barry Bonds walked, setting the stage for a three-run blast by Edgar Martinez. Ricky Gutierrez hit a one-out solo homer in the bottom of the 9th, but Manzanillo retired the side to close out the 9-4 win and put Wichita up 2-0 heading home to Sammy Khalifa Stadium.

Game 3:

PPP...0 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 6 10 0
WWH...0 1 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 7 15 0

W: J. Smoltz (1-0)
L: M. Rivera (0-1)

HR: P. Nevin (2), J. Gonzalez (1), J. Burnitz (1), B. Bonds (2), M. Piazza (4)

Needing a win to get back in the series, Prospect Park put up three runs in the top of the second on a leadoff homer by Nevin, followed by doubles by Desi Relaford and Gutierrez and a two-out single by A.J. Pierzynski. After Wichita got an RBI single from Conine in the bottom of the inning, the Posse followed up in the top of the thirdwith a two-run homer from Gonzalez and another homer from Burnitz a batter later to go up 6-1.

But in the bottom of the fourth, after Mark McLemore singled Piazza once again went yard to bring Wichita within three. Olerud then doubled, and with two out Alomar singled him home. Barry Bonds then deposited one in the bleachers to tie the game at six.

A series of relievers then took over for starters Rick Reed and Jeff Weaver, as neither team got another runner past first base until the bottom of the 8th, when Piazza singled and Olerud walked, and Jeff Conine hit a slow bouncer to move the runners up with one out. Whitey Herzog decided to go for the kill, putting on a squeeze attempt with Alomar at the plate. Alomar uncharacteristically botched the attempt, popping the ball up, and Piazza was meat at third base to end the threat.

Neither team threated again until the bottom of the 10th, when with two out Olerud and Conine singled to put runners on the corners. Alomar, with a chance to atone for his mistake, delivered a grounder through the right side to bring Olerud home and put Wichita up, 3 games to 0.

Game 4:

PPP...0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 3 - 6 11 0
WWH...1 0 1 0 4 2 3 0 x - 11 17 0

W: R. Johnson (2-0)
L: C. Schilling (0-2)

HR: R. Gutierrez (2), D. Mirabelli (2), R. Alomar (1), B. Bonds (3)

With their fans looking for the sweep, the Whiffers got them on their feet right away in the first, as Alomar led off the bottom of the inning with a home run. The Posse loaded the bases with none out in the second off of Johnson, who struck out the next two hitters before retiring Sheffield on a popout.

In the third, singles by Bill Mueller and Alomar put runners on first and third with none out. Bonds hit a sharp grounder which got Mueller hung up in a rundown between third and home, but after Martinez whiffed, Guerrero came through with a single to plate Alomar with the second run.

The Posse cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth on Doug Mirabelli's second homer of the series, and a two-out double by Ruben Sierra in the fifth knotted the score at 2. But in the bottom of the fifth, Mueller doubled and Alomar was hit by an errant Curt Schilling fastball, knocking him from the game. After the umpires issued warning for both sides - Johnson had nailed Juan Gonzalez with a pitch in the first, forcing him from the game - Bonds walked and Martinez drove in a pair with a well-placed single. Carlos Beltran and McLemore followed with singles of their own to put Wichita up 6-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, Alomar's replacement Carlos Guillen doubled, and Bonds followed with another homer to give the Whiffers the 8-2 lead. Insult was added to injury in the bottom of the seventh, as the first four hitters all singled; by the time the carnage ended, Wichita was up 11-2.

Injury was added to insult in the top of the 8th, when Gonzalez's replacement, Jeromy Burnitz, was himself forced from the game after he was nailed by a pitch. His replacement, Homer Bush, would eventually come around to score on a Shawn Wooten single. Johnson, mysteriously, was not ejected by the umpires despite the earlier warning.

In the 9th, with Wichita up 11-3, Randy Johnson surrendered a single to Russ Johnson and a homer to Gutierrez; after a one-out double by Nevin, the obviously laboring Johnson was relieved by John Smoltz. A strikeout of Bush was followed by singled from Sierra and Wooten, making the score 11-6.

Shawn Spencer then popped the first pitch in the air,'s Al Michaels' call: " Mueller...for the title!"

The Whiffers thus claimed their fifth NASA World Championship, but their first since 1998. Mike Piazza, who hit .438 (7-for-16) with 4 homers and 9 RBIs in the series, was named World Series MVP. The Whiffers as a whole hit .350 with 11 homers and scored 35 runs in the four-game sweep.

Second round
Prospect Park 4, Yellowknife 1
Game 1
YKM 200 001 000 3 12 2
PPP 302 010 10x 7 11 0

WP: Schilling (1-0) LP: Brown (0-1) HR: Nevin (1), Sierra (1), Burnitz (1)

Yellowknife kicked off the second round of their title defense by sending
Kevin Brown to the mound against his former teammates and Curt Schilling.
Schilling struggled early, as Yellowknife loaded the bases with no one out in
the top of the first, and Schilling walked Alex Rodriguez with the bases
loaded to allow the first run of the series. Schilling reared back, and
coaxed Bernie Williams to ground into a double play, which allowed a run to
score, but effectively ended the Moose threat. Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of
the first, the Posse went to work against their former ace. Frank
Catalanotto reached on an error by Mark Grace, and Jim Thome doubled,
clearing the way for Phil Nevin to smack a three run blast to give the Posse
the lead. While Schilling settled in, the Posse added to their lead in the
bottom of the third on a two run blast by Ruben Sierra. The Posse added two
more runs on an RBI single by AJ Pierzynski and solo homer by Jeromy Burnitz,
and the Moose got a run on an RBI single by Charles Johnson, making the score
7-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth. The Posse summoned Divisional Series
MVP Mariano Rivera to close the game out. After retiring the first two
hitters, Edgardo Alfonzo, Larry Walker and Rodriguez all singled, loading the
bases for Williams. Rivera threw Williams a 2-1 fastball, and Bernie slammed
it deep to right for a ballpark homer to 14. At the wall, Shane Spencer
reached up and made an over the wall catch to preserve the 7-3 Posse victory.

Game 2
YKM 000 200 110 4 9 0
PPP 000 132 00x 6 7 0

WP: Oswalt (1-0) LP: Vazquez (0-1) Sv: Rivera (1) HR: ARodriguez (1), CJohnson (1), Nevin (2), Burnitz (2), Pierzynski (1)

Yellowknife ace Javier Vazquez and Posse rookie Roy Oswalt hooked up in
Game 2 of the LCS at Prospect Park. Both pitchers were effective early,
shutting opposing hitters out for the first three innings. In the fourth,
Larry Walker singled and Alex Rodriguez slammed a two run home run off an
Oswalt change to give the Moose a 2-0 lead. The Posse loaded the bases with
one out against Vazquez in the fourth, but managed only one run on a Ricky
Gutierrez groundout. In the fifth, Vazquez's difficulties remained, as he
allowed a single to Frank Catalanotto and a walk to Jim Thome. For the
second time in as many days, Phil Nevin crushed a three run homer to give the
Posse the lead. The Posse continued to pound Vazquez in the sixth, as solo
homers by Jeromy Burnitz and AJ Pierzynski gave the Posse a 6-2 lead. The
Moose cut the lead to 6-3 on a solo homer by Charles Johnson in the seventh,
and in the eighth, a double by Bernie Williams scored Edgardo Alfonzo and put
the tying runs in scoring position with two outs against Joel Pineiro. After
a seven pitch battle, Pineiro induced Johnson to hit a weak tapper to Nevin
at third to end the threat. Mariano Rivera emerged for the second straight
day, and after allowing a leadoff single to Ben Grieve, he retired the next
three hitters to record the save.

Game 3
PPP 010 020 000 3 8 1
YKM 001 001 20x 4 5 0

WP: Finley (1-0) LP: Pineiro (0-1) SV: Herges (1) HR: Nevin (3), Glaus 2 (2)

With the Posse holding a 2 games to nothing lead, the series moved to
Yellowknife for Game 3, where Yellowknife's Shawn Chacon faced off against
former Moose ace Rick Reed. The Posse loaded the bases with one out in the
second inning against Chacon, but the Moose hurler retired AJ Pierzynski on
an RBI groundout and Frank Catalanotto on a bouncer to short to keep the
score 1-0. The Moose knotted the score in the bottom of the third, on a solo
blast by Troy Glaus. The game remained tied at one until the fifth, when,
with two outs, Chacon walked Jim Thome. For the third straight game, Phil
Nevin went deep for the Posse, delivering a clutch two run homer to stake
Prospect Park and Reed to a 3-1 lead. Leading off the sixth, Mark Grace
lined a single to center, but Posse centerfielder Jeromy Burnitz allowed the
ball to skip by him for a two base error, permitting Grace to reach third
with no one out, and score on a groundout by Edgardo Alfonzo. In the bottom
of the seventh, with two outs, Moose pinch hitter Delino DeShield worked
Posse reliever Joel Pineiro for a walk, bring Glaus to the plate. Glaus
liked the first pitch he saw from Pineiro, and smashed it over the left field
fence to give the Moose a 4-3 lead. In the ninth, Moose reliever Jeff Nelson
retired the first two Posse hitters, but then walked Catalanotto, Gary
Sheffield and Thome consecutively, bringing Nevin and his three homers in
three games to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. Matt Herges was
summoned to pitch to Nevin, and on a 1-1 slider, Nevin scorched a grounder to
short. Alex Rodriguez made a terrific backhanded stop, and his flip to
Alfonzo covering second barely beat Thome to seal the Moose victory.

Game 4
PPP 013 330 100 11 15 1
YKM 010 000 000 1 6 0

WP: Schilling (2- 0) LP: Brown (0-2) HR: Sheffield (1), Thome (1), Sierra (2), Relaford (1), BWilliams (1)

Game 4 featured a rematch of Game 1 starters Curt Schilling and Kevin
Brown. While Curt Schilling cruised through the early innings, allowing only
a solo homer to Bernie Williams in the second, Brown showed definite signs of
wear, as the Posse scored early and often against their former ace. Brown
flirted with danger in the danger, allowing the Posse to load the bases with
one out, but a run scored on a Frank Catalanotto groundout, Brown retired
Gary Sheffield to end the Posse threat. The roof began to cave in further on
Brown in the fourth, as he allowed a single to Jim Thome and then walked Phil
Nevin. After retiring Ruben Sierra on a deep flyout to the track, Posse
second baseman Desi Relaford smacked a three run home run just over the left
field fence to give the Posse a 4-1 lead. The Moose attempted to rally
against Schilling in the third, as consecutive singles by Mark Grace and
Edgardo Alfonzo, and a walk by Larry Walker, loaded the bases with one out.
Schilling buckled down, and struck out Alex Rodriguez and Williams to end the
Moose threat. In the fourth, Brown yielded consecutive singles to Catalanotto
and Sheffield, but after battling to retire Thome and strike out Nevin, Brown
left a changeup over the plate and Sierra belted it over the right field
fence to give the Posse a 7-1 lead and end Brown's night. Jim Thome and Gary
Sheffield added homers for the Posse, and Schilling went the distance,
striking out 11, to secure the 11-1 Posse victory.

Game 5
PPP 100 031 000 5 12 1
YKM 000 000 003 3 7 0

WP: Valdes (1-0) LP: Vazquez (0-2) HR: Catalanotto (1), Lankford (1)

WIth the defending champs facing elimination, they sent their ace,
Javier Vazquez to the hill against Posse starter Ismael Valdes. Frank
Catalanotto led off the game with a homer for the Posse, staking Prospect
Park to an early 1-0 lead. The score remained 1-0 until the top of the fifth,
when Vazquez walked Jeromy Burnitz to lead off the inning. A wild pitch
advanced Burnitz to second, and a single by Ricky Gutierrez put runner on
first and third with no out. That brought Homer Bush to the plate, and he
lined a single to right, scoring Burnitz and advancing Gutierrez to second.
Vazquez buckled down and struck out AJ Pierzynski and Catalanotto, but then
yielded a single to Gary Sheffield to load the bases and a two run single to
Jim Thome to give the Posse a 4-0 lead. The Posse added another run in the
sixth, as Burnitz singled, took third on a single by Gutierrez and scored on
a sacrifice fly by Bush. With the score 5-0, the Moose rallied in the sixth,
as singles by Mark Grace and Edgardo Alfonzo chased Valdes from the game.
Terry Adams walked Larry Walker, loading the bases with no one out. In
perhaps the worst stroke of luck in the series, Alex Rodriguez lined to
short, and Bernie Williams lined to second, both blowing ballpark singles on
the 15. Joel Pineiro was summoned from the Posse pen, and he struck out Troy
Glaus to end the Moose threat. The score remained 5-0 into the ninth. With
one out, Ben Grieve doubled and Charles Johnson walked, chasing Arthur Rhodes
from the game. Mariano Rivera was summoned again from the Posse pen, but he
appeared fatigued, allowing a three run homer to Ray Lankford to make the
score 5-3. Pinch hitter Chad Kreuter lined a single in front of defensive
substitute Shane Spencer in right field, bringing the tying run to the plate
with one out. Pinch hitter Delino DeShields popped Rivera's first pitch up
behind the plate. Posse catch AJ Pierzynski had the ball in his sights, but
at the last second, he lost it in the lights, allowing the ball to drop for
an error, giving DeShields new life. On the next pitch, DeShields smacked a
hard grounder up the middle. Bush grabbed it, flipped it in one motion to
Gutierrez covering second, who fired the ball to Thome at first, turning the
double play and ending the series.

Curt Schilling (2-0, 2.30, 20 K) earned LCS MVP honors in a series marred by
horrible Moose luck on split rolls. The Posse now move on to face the
Wichita Whiffers in the NASA Championship Round. This series will be a
rematch of the first ever NASA Championships played exactly one decade ago,
face to face, in Baltimore. The Whiffers won that series, 4 games to 1 to win
the first of their four NASA titles. The Posse are seeking their first NASA
title since 1997.

Wichita 4, Casco Bay 0
Game 1:
Sea Dogs...1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 - 2 5 1
Whiffers...0 2 0 0 4 0 0 0 x - 6 7 0

W: R. Johnson (1-0), L: R. Ortiz (0-1), HR: M. Ordonez (1), Piazza (1)

In game 1 of the NASA Semifinals pitted Randy Johnson vs. Ramon Ortiz, pressed into duty after Sea Dog ace Mike Mussina started Game 7 of the quarterfinals. The Sea Dogs struck in the first on a two-out RBI single by Rich Aurilia. In the second, a single by Roberto Alomar tied the game, and after a walk to Barry Bonds loaded the bases, Ortiz let a pitch get away as Bill Mueller raced home from third. Edgar Martinez then drove an Ortiz pitch to the wall in left-center, where Ichiro Suzuki reached up to take away a home run.

The Sea Dogs tied the game in the fourth when Magglio Ordonez homered with two out, but in the bottom of the fifth, Bonds and Edgar Martinez led off with walks and Vladimir Guerrero hit an RBI single. After Ortiz struck out Carlos Beltran and Mark McLemore, Mike Piazza got ahold of a fastball and snuck it past the left-field fence to make the score 6-2.

Johnson made the score hold up as he struck out 11 in a complete-game effort, washing away the miseries of his 0-2, 27.00 ERA performance in the quarterfinals.

Game 2:
Sea Dogs...2 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 - 4 10 1
Whiffers...0 1 2 0 0 0 3 0 x - 6 10 1

W: M. Ginter (1-0) L: M. Mussina (0-1) Sv. J. Manzanillo (1) HR: R. Aurilia (1)

Once again, the Sea Dogs got on the board first in game 2, as two-out hits by Jeff Bagwell and David Segui brought home a pair of runs. The Whiffers cut the lead in half in the second on a sacrifice fly by Piazza, but the Sea Dogs re-extended their lead as Rich Aurilia led off the third with a homer.

In the bottom of the third, Matt Lawton muffed a routine fly ball by Roberto Aloma rwith one out, and after Mussina struck out Bonds, Martinez followed with an RBI double. Vladimir Guerrero then singled to tied the game at 3.

Clemens and Mussina exchanged zeros through five, and Rheal Cormier and Matt Ginter kept the game tied into the seventh-inning stretch. In the bottom of the seventh, Piazza and John Olerud led off with singles, and with the infield playing back, Jeff Conine surprised the Sea Dogs by laying down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Roberto Alomar followed with an infield single to give the Whiffers the lead. After Bonds struck out again, taking him to 0-for-6 in the series, Martinez iced the game with a two-out, two-run double.

A two-out double by Matt Lawton in the top of the eighth got the Sea Dogs within two, and in the bottom of the inning the Sea Dogs managed to strand Carlos Beltran after a leadoff triple. But Norm Charlton and Josias Manzanillo shut the door in the ninth, giving Wichita a 2-0 lead as the series moved to Casco Bay.

Game 3:
Wichita...0 0 1 4 0 5 0 0 0 - 10 12 0
Casco Bay...0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 - 3 8 2

W: J. Weaver (1-0) L: J. Moyer (0-1) HR: B. Bonds (1), D. Palmer (1)

Dean Palmer got the Whiffers on the board first, tattooing a Moyer changeup into the left-field seats to lead off the third. A double by Biggo and a two-out single by Ichiro knotted the score in the bottom of the inning.

But in the top of the fourth, one-out walks to Piazza and Guerrero were followed by an RBI single by Conine. After Beltran struck out, Palmer, Alomar, and Carlos Guillen all singled with two outs to drive in runs, putting the Whiffers up 5-1.

The Whiffers got more two-out magic in the sixth, getting an RBI double by Guillen, a wild pitch to plate a run, an RBI single by Haselman, and a two-run homer by the previously dormant Bonds to give Wichita the commanding 10-1 lead. The Sea Dogs got a pair of runs back in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI double by Lawton and a run-scoring single by Chipper, but it was too little too late. Jeff Shaw and Josias Manzanillo combined for 2.2 scoreless innings in relief of Weaver, putting Wichita within a game of the World Series.

Game 4:
Wichita...0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 - 4 10 0
Casco Bay...0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 - 2 4 1

W: R. Johnson (1-0) L: V. Nunez (0-1) Sv: J. Manzanillo (2) HR: J. Olerud (1), M. Ordonez (1)

Once again, the Whiffers got on the board first with a homer leading off the third, this time by John Olerud. In the bottom of the fourth, the Sea Dogs responded with a two-run homer by Magglio Ordonez, and the score remained 2-1 through five.

In the sixth, Alomar led off with a double, and the Sea Dogs wasted no time with Bonds, intentionally walking him with none out. Edgar Martinez responded with a groundball too slow to turn the double play, and Vladimir Guerrero followed with a deep fly ball to score Alomar with the tying run.

Leading off the seventh, Mark McLemore hit a flyball to right which Magglio Ordonez misplayed, putting the go-ahead run on second base with none out. With two out, Alomar singled up the middle to drive in McLemore and give Wichita the 3-2 lead.

Meanwhile, Randy Johnson was in control, retiring 14 straight Sea Dogs after Ordonez's homer, including eight by strikeout.

The Whiffers got an insurance run in the eight on consecutive singles by Martinez, Guerrero, and Beltran. Nelson Cruz struck out McLemore and got Piazza to tap into the double play to keep the score 4-2.

In the ninth, Johnson got Segui to ground out and Chipper Jones to line out to run his streak to 16 straight batters retired. With two out, Rich Aurilia singled, and with Ordonez up representing the tying run, Whitey Herzog summoned Josias Manzanillo from the bullpen once again. Gregg Zaun was sent up to pinch-hit, but grounded out meekly to end the game and complete the four-game sweep for Wichita.

First round
Series score: Prospect Park 4, Kansas City 2
Game 1:
KCT 220 000 010 5 9 1
PPP 000 100 020 3 8 1

WP: Maddux (1-0) LP: Schilling (0-1) SV: Nen (1) HR: Dye (1), Catalanotto (1), Relaford (1)

Jermaine Dye homered in the first inning against Curt Schilling, and
the Tornadoes never looked back, grabbing a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of this
seven game series. Greg Maddux was dominant for the Tornadoes, allowing six
hits and one unearned run in seven innings to get the victory. Schilling
lasted only six innings, striking out seven before being lifted. Jeremy
Giambi chipped in with two hits for KC, while Frank Catalanotto and Desi
Relaford added late homers for the Posse.

Game 2
KCT 000 100 000 1 3 0
PPP 200 020 13x 8 10 1

WP: Oswalt (1-0) LP: Lieber (0-1) HR: Thome (1), Nevin (1), JuGonzalez (1)

This time, it was the Posse's turn to get off to a fast start, as first
inning back to back homers by Jim Thome gave the Posse an early 2-0 lead. KC
closed to within 2-1 on a Jermaine Dye single in the 4th, but the Posse
stretched their lead out to 4-1 thanks to an RBI single by Gary Sheffield and
RBI double by Nevin. Juan Gonzalez put the game away in the 8th, with a 3 run
pinch hit home run. Roy Oswalt was dominant, allowing only 2 hits in 6
innings while striking out 7. Jon Lieber took the loss, allowing seven hits
and two walks in six innings.

Game 3
PPP 300 003 000 6 6 0
KCT 010 111 100 5 13 1

WP: Reed (1-0) LP: Penny (0-1) SV: Rivera (1) HR: Bush (1)

For the second straight game, the Posse jumped out to an early lead,
earning a three run cushion thanks to a two run double by Phil Nevin and a
sacrifice fly by Juan Gonzalez. The Tornadoes clawed their way back, scoring
single runs in the second, fourth, and fifth to tie the game, thanks to two
RBI hits by Brian Hunter. In the top of the sixth, the KC faithful were
stunned when unlikely hero Homer Bush took Brad Penny deep for a three run
homer to restore the Posse three run cushion. The Tornadoes continued to
climb their way back, scoring single runs in the sixth and seventh to make it
a one run game. The Tornadoes then strung together a rally in the bottom of
the ninth against Posse ace Mariano Rivera. Jermaine Dye led off the ninth
with a single, Ryan Klesko walked, and Wilton Guerrero bunted them over,
putting runners on second and third with one out. The next hitter, Fernando
Vina, hit a screamer that was snared by Bush for the second out. Pinch
hitter Mark Little was walked intentionally, bringing another pinch hitter,
former Posse star Julio Franco, to the plate with two outs and the bases
loaded in the ninth. On a 3-2 pitch, Franco swung and missed at a hard
cutter to end the game.

Game 4
PPP 010 000 000 1 10 0
KCT 000 000 000 0 5 0

WP: Schilling (1-1) LP: Maddux (1-1) SV: Rivera (2)

With two outs in the second inning, Ricky Gutierrez drove a single
into centerfield, allowing Desi Relaford to score what would turn out to be
the only run of the ballgame in a 1-0 Posse victory. Both Greg Maddux
(Complete game 10-hitter) and Curt Schilling (8.1 IP, 5 hits, 8 strikeouts)
were strong in a rematch of Game 1.
The Tornadoes again rallied in the ninth, with singles by Juan Pierre and
Jeremy Giambi. Schilling was lifted for Joel Pineiro, and in a move that had
to have statheads everywhere cringing, cleanup hitter Jermaine Dye was yanked
for pinch hitter Wilton Guerrero. Guerrero battled Pineiro, but took a 2-2
pitch down the center of the plate for strike three. For the second straight
day, Mariano Rivera was summoned from the Posse bullpen, and he retired Ryan
Klesko on a deep fly to center to end the game.

Game 5
PPP 000 000 002 2 3 0
KCT 000 200 003 5 7 2

WP: Zimmerman (1-0) LP: Adams (0-1) HR: Klesko (1), Brown (1), Thome (2)

Ismael Valdes and Jon Lieber locked horns in Game 5 in Kansas City.
Valdes was strong, allowing only one blemish, a two run homer to Ryan Klesko,
in 5 and two thirds innings of work. Lieber was better, shutting the Posse
out for six and a third on two hits. The Tornadoes took their 2-0 lead into
the ninth, and turned it over to co-closer Jeff Zimmerman. Zimmerman walked
Gary Sheffield to lead off the ninth, and then yielded a two run game tying
home to Jim Thome. In the bottom of the the ninth, with one out, Terry Adams
yielded a single to Jermaine Dye, who promptly stole second. Joel Pineiro
emerged from the Posse bullpen, and induced Shane Halter to pop to short.
With two outs, Stan Javier was intentionally walked, and the Tornadoes sent
pinch hitter Rosie Brown to the plate to face Pineiro. On a 2-1 pitch,
Pineiro hung a slider, and Brown banged it deep over the right field wall to
secure the 5-2 victory for Kansas City, sending the series back to Prospect

Game 6
KCT 000 010 000 00 1 10 0
PPP 000 000 010 01 2 6 0

WP: Rivera (1-0) LP: Nen (0-1) HR: Sheffield 2 (2)

Pedro Martinez and Roy Oswalt hooked up for Game 6 at Prospect Park.
While Oswalt cruised relatively quietly through the early innings, Martinez
had to pitch out of multiple jams, escaping a leadoff triple by Frank
Catalanotto in the first, and a no-out bases load jam in the fourth. The
Tornadoes finally broke through in the fifth, when Brian Hunter singled,
stole second, and scored on a single by Juan Pierre. The score remained 1-0
until the eighth, when with two outs, Martinez made his only major mistake of
the night, hanging a curve to Gary Sheffield, who crushed the ball into the
left field stands to tie the game. The game continued into the tenth, as
Mariano Rivera and Martinez continued to battle. With two outs in the tenth,
Pedro had to be removed due to IP limitations. Robb Nen emerged to pitch for
the Tornadoes, and was unscathed in the 10th. In the 11th, however, Nen
attempted to challenge Sheffield with a chest high fastball, and Gary clubbed
the ball some 450 feet into straightaway centerfield to win the game and
series for the Posse.

Several starting pitchers, including Greg Maddux (1-1, 0.56 ERA), Curt
Schilling (1-1, 2.51 ERA) and Roy Oswalt (1-0, 1.50 ERA) were deserving of
honors, but given the close nature of each game, the MVP was awarded to Posse
reliever Mariano Rivera, who recorded saves with the winning runs on base in
Games 3 and 4, and he received the win in Game 6, pitching 2 shutout innings
to allow the Posse to win the game in the 11th.


Series score: Wichita 4, Brussels 2
Game 1: The Spourts showed no respect for 21-game winner Randy Johnson, scoring 5 runs in the 1st, 5 more runs in the 2nd, and tacked on yet another 5-spot in the 4th.

The Unit's line: 5 IP, 17 H, 15 R, 14 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, and a -21 Game Score.

Undeterred by the 15-2 deficit, the Whiffers launched a spirited comeback with a 7-run fifth that chased Darryl Kile. The Whiffers' bullpen held the Sprouts in check, and a Bonds homer in the 8th brought the score to 15-12, but that's where it ended.

Game 2: This time the Whiffers got off to the early lead, riding a three-run homer by Dean Palmer in the 2nd and tacking on another run on an RBI double by Vlad Guerrero in the 3rd. The Sprouts tied the score with a 4-run fourth, but Palmer led off the bottom of the inning with another bomb off of Al Leiter. The Whiffers tacked on two more in the fifth and Mike Piazza hit a two-run shot off Leiter in the 6th to cap their scoring. Down 9-4 in the 9th, the Spouts got three hits in a row to start the inning and eventually got the tying run to the plate, but Matt Ginter retired Joe McEwing to even the series at 1 apiece.

Game 3: The Sprouts were up 4-0 off Jeff Weaver after three, but the Whiffers started pecking away with a run in the 6th. Bonds hit a two-run homer in the 7th to bring them within a run, where the score stayed until the 9th.

And then came the Mastercard Memorable Moment of the series. Olerud singled to start the Whiffer 9th, but outs by Beltran and Alomar brought the Whiffers to their last hope: Barry Bonds.

Walk him? Pitch to him? Bob Sprout went to his big gun in the bullpen, lefty Steve Kline, who has no hits on his card against left-handed hitters.

Bonds rolls the 1-5. The Whiffers take the lead. In the bottom of the inning, Devon White hits a pinch-hit homer of Josias Manzanillo to tie the game. The Whiffers get a 2-out homer by Mike Piazza in the 10th, and in the bottom of the inning, after McEwing hits a one-out triple, Ginter gets Tino Martinez to ground out with the runner holding. Smoltz comes in to face Paul LoDuca, who hits a routine ground ball to Carlos Guillen.

Who boots it. McEwing scores, and we go to the 11th. Beltran singles, and with one out Bonds is again at the plate. This time he's walked intentionally, but Edgar Martinez foils the move with an RBI single, and three straight walks plate two more runs. The Sprouts are spent in the bottom of the inning. 9-6 Wichita, and a bullet is dodged.

Game 4: It's Randy Johnson on the hill for the Whiffers again, which means it's time for another flogging. Amazingly, his ERA *rose* after he gave up 6 runs in 1.2 innings. The bullpen surrenders another four runs in the 5th; the Whiffers start their comeback too late with 3 runs in the 8th (thanks to another Bonds blast) and two in the 9th. Final score is 10-6 Brussels, and once again the series is tied.

Game 5: The Whiffers get four runs before Sprouts fans have a chance to take their seat, and Roger Clemens is perfect through four innings and has a shutout through six. He gives up a homer to Joe McEwing in the 7th (immediately after Shannon Stewart was caught stealing), and a pair of doubles in the 8th chases him. Smoltz induces Stewart to ground out to end the threat, the Whiffers tack on another run on a pinch-hit single by Conine in the 9th, and the Sprouts go meekly in the bottom of the inning. 6-2 Wichita.

Game 6: Wichita again comes out ripping; Mueller singles, Bonds doubles, and Piazza singles home both runners before the first out is made. Jeff Weaver pitches shutout ball into the fifth, when LoDuca hits a two-run jack to tie the score and send Weaver to the showers. In the bottom of the inning, Piazza walks and Vlad Guerrero hits a one-out homer to give Wichita the 4-2 lead. In the 7th, the Whiffers play pinball against Mike Stanton, roping a double, triple, and double in succession, and put up three runs to ice the contest (the last on a bases-loaded walk to The Great One). Boone hits an RBI triple in the 8th to bring the score to within 7-3, but is stranded there.

In the ninth, Smoltz gives up singles to LoDuca and Jacque Jones, and after a one-out sac fly he walks Chris Richard to bring the tying run to the plate. Once again, though, Shannon Stewart loses the matchup, flying out to end the game and send the Whiffers to the semifinals for the 10th time in 11 seasons.

Kudos to Jim S. for a tight series which turned on the Bonds-Kline matchup in Game 3. MVP is Bonds, easily; he went 9-for-22 with 3 doubles, 4 homers, 10 runs and 10 RBIs (and 8 walks). Clemens deserves credit for winning both his starts, especially as Johnson had the worst playoff performance I have ever seen: 0-2, 27.00 ERA, 6.2 IP, 25 H, 21 R, 20 ER, 6 BB, 10 K, 3 HR. His AVG on balls-in-play was .688, so there must have been some luck involved :^).


Series score: Casco Bay 4, Traverse City 3
Casco took Game #1 easily, winning 9-2 at Traverse City. Mike Mussina was untouchable as he totally shut down the Cherry Pickers, tossing seven shutout innings.

Game #2 went to Traverse City, 7-0. Woody Williams was brilliant, pitching eight shutout innings. The series shifted to Casco Bay for the next three games. Game #3 went to Traverse City 6-2. Needing to tie the series, Casco Bay turned to Mike Mussina, and he didn't fail, shutting out the Cherry Pickers over 8 innings en route to a 3-1 series-tying win. Game #5 was a rout in Traverse City's favor, 14-2. The two teams went back to Traverse City with the Cherry Pickers leading 3 games to 2.

Game #6 was close all the way. Traverse City led 2-0 after seven, but Casco Bay chipped away with one run in the 8th to make it 2-1. The SeaDogs had two runners on and two outs in the 9th. Traverse City needed only one more out for the series clinching win. But Craig Biggio stepped up and hit a 3-run HR off Kyle Farnsworth to lead the SeaDogs to a 4-2 win. Game #7 pitted Mike Mussina vs. Bartolo Colon. Mussina was finally scored upon when Luis Gonzalez cracked a solo HR in the 4th to give the Cherry Pickers a 1-0 lead. But Casco Bay tied the game at 1 in the 6th and scored two runs off Kyle Farnsworth to take the lead at 3-1. Traverse City threatened in the 9th with the potential tying run at the plate but Casco Bay held on for the win and the right to advance to the second round of the playoffs.


Series score: Yellowknife 4, Los Angeles 2
Game 1: Sheehans 5 - Moose 1
Sheehans........ 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 5 13 0
Moose............. 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1 7 0
The Sheehans rode the strong pitching of Roy Halladay who went 5 1/3 innings while giving up only 1 run on three hits. The offense jumped on Javier Vazquez for 5 runs on 12 hits in 6 1/3 innings and that was all the Sheehans needed as the bullpen shut the Moose down for the rest of the game. Mark McGwire and Robin Ventura went deep for the visitors.

Game 2: Sheehans 10 - Moose 3
Sheehans........ 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 - 10 10 1
Moose............. 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 - 3 8 1
This game was much closer than the final score indicates. The Sheehans jumped on Kevin Brown for four runs in the first and Tom Glavine made it through five innings unscathed. After putting a couple of guys on base in the sixth he exited and the bullpen gave up singel runs in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings to make it a 4-3 game. But the Sheehans exploded for 6 runs in the 9th to put this game away. Mark McGwire and Robin Ventura hit home runs for the Sheehans while Alex Rodriguez broke the homer drought for the Moose.

Game 3:
Moose............. 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 - 4 12 1
Sheehans........ 2 0 1 1 0 1 4 2 - 11 15 1
The series shifted to The Joe and the Sheehans continued their hot hitting. David Coggin was the victim giving up 10 hits and five runs in six innings. Joe Mays went the distance for the home team scattering 12 hits over nine innings and had a season-high 10 strikeouts. Mark McGwire hit his third home run of the series. Mike Sweeney hit one out and Alfonso Soriano hit two home runs. The Moose also got a bad break when Edgardo Alfonso was injured (4 games reduced to 1) and missed the rest of game three and would be forced to miss a possible elimination game in game 4.

Game 4:
Moose............. 0 0 2 0 1 0 1 4 2 - 10 11 0
Sheehans........ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 - 4 5 4
This was a redemption game for Javier Vazquez who shut down the Sheehans in a big way pitching eight scoreless innings and striking out four while only allowing three hits. The Moose did not miss Edgardo Alfonzo who sat out with an inflamed bunion on his deriere as Mark Grace, Larry Walker, Alex Rodriguez, Ray Lankford and Charles Johnson all went deep at The Joe. Mike Sweeney hit a meaningless grand-slam in the 9th to avoid the shutout.

Game 5:
Moose............ 1 3 0 2 0 0 2 1 0 - 9 14 0
Sheehans........ 0 0 2 0 0 5 1 0 0 - 8 8 0
There is nothing more dangerous than a cornered Moose. At least that's what I have been told. And with the Moose facing another win or go home game they pulled out all the stops and extended the series. The Moose held an early 4-0 lead as they jumped on starter Corey Lidle but the Sheehans used a five run sixth that was powered by a pinch-hit grand slam by Matt LeCroy to take a short-lived lead 7-6, then Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Mike Remlinger wound up giving back two runs in the top of the 7th putting the Moose up 8-7. The Sheehans were able to tie it and hoped to take the lead while their bullpen anchor Troy Percival shut the Moose down. But Percy gave up a run in top of the 8th and Jeff Nelson came in for the Moose to shut the door and give the visitor's a sorely needed one-run win. Mark Grace, Alex Rodriguez and Troy Glaus go deep for the Moose, while Derek Jeter and LeCroy go deep for the home team.

Facing their third straight elimination game, the defending
NASA Champions sent Kevin Brown and his remaining 5.1 IP to
the mound to face Tom Glavine. Brown gave up 0 hits, 2 BB
and fanned 11 Sheehans in that time before giving way to
Jack Cressend. The Moose put up a 5 spot in the bottom
of the 6th as leadoff walks to Bernie Williams and Larry
Walker chased Tom Glavine in favor of Mike Remlinger.
Derek Jeter booted an ARod grounder to load the bases
and Mark Grace, in the best interests of Strat-ball, PH
for Frank Thomas and stroked a 2-run single. After Troy
Glaus fanned and Jose Hernandez walked to reload the bases,
Chad Kreuter singled home Rodriguez to make it a 3-0 game.
Edgardo Alfonzo popped out and Remlinger was lifted for
Rudy Seanez who promptly walked Ron Gant to make it 4-0.
Hernandez then scored as Ben Petrick let one get by him
for a 5-0 lead.

The Sheehans put up 2 in the 7th as Griffey homered and
Matt LeCroy singled home Mike Sweeney, but that was all
the scoring as Matt Anderson and Scott Sullivan pitched
a perfect 8th and Jeff Nelson allowed only a leadoff
walk in the 9th to notch the save.

Javier Vazquez who pitched brilliantly in game 4 and Joe Mays
who shut the Moose down in game 3 matched up in game 7 without
Mark McGwire who injured himself shoving french fries up his nose in game 6.

The Sheehans struck in the 1st as back to back singles from
Jeter and Rondell White allowed Mike Sweeney to plate a run with
an RBI groundout. After the Moose squandered a scoring chance
in their half, the pitchers settled down until the home 4th
when the Moose got to Joe Mays. Mays drilled Walker to lead
off the inning. After getting ARod to fly out to right, a walk
to Bernie Williams and a single from Ben Grieve brought Charles
Johnson to the plate. With one slam already this series, Johnson
made it a 4-0 game.

With Joe Mays shutting the Moose down, the Sheehans inched closer in the 7th
as doubles from Mike Sweeney and ben Petrick made it a 4-2 game. Jeff
Nelson came on for the Moose in the 9th and got
Griffey and Sweeney before surrendering a single to Ellis Burks
and a run scoring double to Richard Hidalgo. Alien PH Matt LeCroy
stepped to the plate and Kevin Romine chose to pitch to him. Three
strikes later, Jeff Nelson had his 3rd save of the series.

Javier Vazquez was named the series MVP. 2-1 record, 2.82 ERA.

Other notables:
Bernie Williams - .391
Mark Grace - .321, 4 R, 6 RBI
ARod - 3 HR, 6 R, 6 RBI
Charles Johnson - .150, 2 GS, 8 RBI

Los Angeles
Mike Sweeney - .379, 9 R, 9 RBI
Mark McGwire - 3 HR, 5R, 6 RBI