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1998 Playoffs

Wildcard: Yellowknife 4, Kansas City 3
Wildcard: Virginia 4, Mayne 3
Semifinal: Virginia 4, Prospect Park 0
Semifinal: Wichita def. Yellowknife
World Series: Wichita 4, Virginia 2

World Series

The final score read Wichita 8, Virginia 5, but it might as well have read Wichita 4, NASA 3.

As Jeremy Giambi's flyball landed harmlessly in Dave Justice's glove, four years of anticipation finally came to its fruition, as the Wichita Whiffers won game 6 of the NASA World Series, and the series, 4 games to 2, to be annointed as the 1998 NASA World Champions, their 4th championship in the league's 7 years, but their first since 1994.

Game 1, in Wichita Roger Clemens fanned 12 Squires, and only made two mistakes. Unfortunately, those mistakes were a two-run shot off the bat of Darrin Fletcher and a three-run blast from Rusty Greer, and Pedro Martinez once again struck out half the opposition, recording 13 Ks. Wichita scored in the third on a Mike Stanley double and a Matt Stairs single, and in the sixth on a solo homer by Stanley, but that was all Pedro was giving up as the Squires won 5-2.

VSQ 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 5 7 2
WWF 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 4 0
W - P. Martinez  L - Clemens
HR - Fletcher (1), Greer (1), Justice (1)
Game 2, in Wichita: The Whiffers got all they needed off Brad Radke in the first, as Robby Alomar led off with a walk and moved up on a Jeff Blauser single. David Justice doubled them in, and after two men were retired, John Olerud singled in Justice. Gary Gaetti booted a Greg Zaun grounder, and Stairs singled to score Olerud to make it 4-0 Whiffers.

The Squires managed to scrape up single runs off Randy Johnson in the third and fourth innings, but in the fifth, the Whiffers struck again. Alomar doubled, and Blauser was hit by a pitch. Justice grounded out to second, moving the runners up, before Radke walked Jim Thome to load the bases. After getting Edgardo Alfonzo to pop out ot second, Olerud singled, driving in Alomar, and Gregg Zaun - of all people - tripled. 8-2 Whiffers.

Puckett went to the pen early, giving Johnson rest for game five, and four Whiffers pitchers shut down the Squires. Radke was effective for the rest of the game, but it was over, and Virginia's eight-game playoff winning streak was snapped. More importantly for the Whiffers, it mean Virginia would have to win three in a row to avoid coming back to Kansas...

VSQ 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2  7 1
WWF 4 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 x 8 10 1
W - Johnson  L - Radke
HR - none
Game 3, in Dulles, VA On any other day, Jeff Blauser would have been a hero. On any other day, Tom Glavine would be hanging his head in the clubhouse. The loser of this game would be faced with defeating the other team's ace in game four, or be down 3-1.

Jack Voigt homered off Glavine in the top of the second to give the Whiffers a 1-0 lead. Undaunted, Jason Giambi retaliated leading off the second. In the third, Matt Stairs walked, moving to third two batters later on Blauser's single. Mike Stanley flew to center, and, insulting Tom Goodwin's arm, Stairs came home... and won the race. 2-1 Wichita.

Goodwin struck back leading off the third, however. After stroking a single, he offered his own insult, swiping second. Joey Cora reached on an infield single, and after Jay Bell was called out on strikes, Tony Gwynn stepped in and ripped a double to right. Cora held up at third... and scored three pitches later, along with Gwynn, when Giambi singled to center. The Squires were up, 4-2.

Tripp Cromer led off the Wichita fifth with a single, and it looked harmless two batters later as Stairs struck out and Rondell White hit a limp liner to third. Then Blauser came to the plate and jacked Glavine's first pitch into the seats to tie the game at four.

All was quiet until the eighth, when Blauser stepped in again. And in one swing, the Whiffers had the lead, as Blauser hit his second shot of the night. After Stanley struck out, David Justice deposited Glavine's fourth homer of the night into the bleachers, and things looked grim for the Squires. Hipolito Pichardo came in to quell the riot, and the score held at 6-4.

The managers got busy. After a one-out walk to Greer, Chris Sabo sent Doug Strange in to hit for Gaetti. Doug Jones, coming on in relief, promptly plunked him with what passed for a Doug Jones fastball. Sabo then sent Wally Joyner in for Jeff Conine... and Joyner regained the lead for Virginia with a three-run blast. Jones got out of the inning with no further damage, however, setting up the top of the ninth.

Troy Percival came on for the save. In probable retaliation for Strange's beaning, he nailed John Olerud. Kirby Puckett sent Johnny Damon in to run, and he moved to second on Alomar's grounder to second. Matt Stairs struck out, and the Squires were one out away... but Puckett sent Dave Nilsson in for White, and he singled to right. Damon didn't have enough of a jump to challenge Gwynn's arm, however, leaving the Whiffers with men on the corners and two out... and Blauser coming to the plate.

Puckett then pulled his hero, batting Gregg Zaun in his place. Percival maintained vigilance over Damon at third, as Sabo was concerned that Puckett might try to steal the tie; his distraction likely cost him, as Zaun drew a walk to load the bases. Then Puckett sent in Wichita's answer to Tony Gwynn - Ryne Sandberg.

The crowd was tense as Sandberg drew two balls, then fouled a pitch into the third-base seats. Another ball. Then Sandberg watched a Percival fastball nick the corner. Two outs. Ninth inning. Bases packed. One-run lead. Percival wound... and busted one right down the middle. Sandberg swung... ...and caught air. The Squires had scrapped back into the series lead, two games to one, with the strikeout machine set to take the hill the next night...

VSQ 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 3 x 7 8 0
WWF 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 2 0 6 8 0
W - Pichardo  L - Jones  S - Percival
HR - Voigt (1), Giambi (1), Blauser 2 (2), Justice (2), Joyner (1)
In Game 4, as Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez hooked up once again, the tide turned.

Virginia went up first, as Gary Gaetti's one-out double in the second plated Wally Joyner, and Pedro Martinez was masterful through 3 innings, striking out five while facing just one over the minimum. And after hitting Edgardo Alfonzo in the 2nd, Alfonzo would be out and not return until game 6, with Jack Voigt seeing his first action of the season at third base. In the fourth, however, Blauser and Thome singled to put men on first and third with one out, and Johnny Damon, pinch-hitting for Voigt, hit a deep fly ball to tie the game. John Olerud, whose history of clutch postseason hits for the Whiffers goes back to 1992, then followed with a 2-run homer to stun Pedro and silence the Squire crowd.

In the fifth, Jeff Blauser's single through a drawn-in infield brought home 2 more runs, and Pedro did not answer the bell to start the sixth, as Brian Moehler was brought in and cuffed for 5 runs over the next four innings. Clemens, meanwhile, was masterful after the 2nd, finishing with a 4-hit, 2-walk, 8-strikeout gem. Final score: Wichita 10, Virginia 1, and the series was tied.

Game 5 was over almost before it began; the Whiffers' first four hitters reached base against Brad Radke, and Stairs' 2-run homer gave Wichita a 5-run lead in the first. The Squires got one back on a one-out homer by Lenny Webster off Randy Johnson in the 3rd, but in the top of the fourth, Rondell White hit a 2-run homer, and then after Radke was mercifully pulled for Omar Olivares, Jim Thome greeted his ex-teammate with a 2-run double to cap a 5-run inning.

The Whiffers would add 2 more runs in the 6th on a Thome home run, but the story was Johnson, who had not allowed a baserunner before Webster's homer, and after the hit he got really mad: 8 of the next 9 batters struck out, and no one reached base until Rusty Greer and Gaetti led off the 8th inning with walks. But Johnson got out of the inning with a pair of strikeouts, then retired the order in the 9th to finish with one of the truly dominant pitching performances in NASA World Series history: a complete-game one-hitter with 2 walks and 14 strikeouts, for a Game Score of 93.

The Squires, dazed and confused, were now headed back to Wichita needing a pair of wins. Tom Glavine faced off against Denny Neagle, and in the 2nd inning Greer singled and Gaetti was plunked and had to leave the game, but with 2 on Webster doubled in a run, Tom Goodwin hit a sacrifice fly, and Joey Cora hit an RBI triple, giving Virginia a 3-0 lead. Glavine made it stand up until the fourth, when Justice doubled and Olerud walked, and Jack Voigt, rewarded Kirby Puckett's faith in starting him against a left-hander, hit a dramatic 3-run homer to tie the game. In the bottom of the fifth, Ryne Sandberg, staring only because Tripp Cromer had run out of at-bats subbing for Alfonzo, surprised everyone with a leadoff go-ahead homer. The Squires would respond, as Jeff Conine's two-out homer in the 6th tied things up.

But the Whiffers did not let up. Mike Stanley led off the bottom of the 6th with a double, and Olerud, once again making his presence known, hit a 2-run homer that gave the Whiffers a lead they would not relinquish. Jay Bell lined into a double play in the top of the 7th to quell a rally, and Voigt's 2-out RBI double in the bottom of the 7th added an insurance run and chased Glavine. The Squires had men on first and third in the 8th, but Arthur Rhodes struck out Conine and Webster to end the threat, and in the bottom of the 8th, Damon, who had entered the game as a defensive replacement, put an exclamation point on the Whiffers' resurgent play with a leadoff homer off Hipolito Pichardo, the first homer of his 3-year career. Doug Jones was summoned to protect the 8-4 lead in the ninth, and while Tom Goodwin led off with a walk, Joey Cora grounded out and Bell was called out on strikes. Tony Gwynn was not moved, driving in Goodwin with a single, but with the tying run still on deck, Jones calmly induced Giambi to swing ahead of his patented changeup, lofting that lazy flyball to right, where David Justice stood...

...and the celebration is in full force in Wichita, where loyal Whiffer fans have waited for the World Championship to return since Mayne cruelly dispossessed them of it 3 years ago.

Thanks to all for a fabulous season, and good luck to everyone next year. In the three years since I last won, the league has metamorphosized into one of the strongest PBM leagues in the country, and to win now, with such strong competition and after tasting progressively more bitter defeats three straight years, is tremendously more satisfying than any championship I had ever won before.

Virginia 4, Prospect Park 0

When baseball came back to Washington, nobody expected this.

Behind 27 strikeouts in 18 innings from their ace, Pedro Martinez, the Virginia Squires swept the defending champion Prospect Park Posse to earn their first-ever berth in the NASA Finals against a familiar nemesis, the Wichita Whiffers.

Game 1:

Virginia struck first off Posse ace Kevin Brown. Lead-off walks to Tom Goodwin and Joey Cora in the top of the third were followed by an RBI single by Jay Bell. After Brown sat Tony Gwynn down, Rusty Greer followed with another single to drive in Cora. Jason Giambi grounded into a force, then back-to-back singles by Wally Joyner and Darrin Fletcher made it 4-0 Squires.

Meanwhile, Martinez was cruising. Through five, he had a no-hitter, only one batter had reached second, and he had fanned ten. In the sixth, however, the Posse rode. Mark McGwire led off with a walk. Jon Nunnally flew out to deep right, and Juan Gonzalez bounced into a force. It looked as if Martinez would get out of the jam, but Chili Davis slined an 0-2 pitch into right to put runners on the corners. Brian Johnson then crushed Pedro's first offering into the seats, and it was 4-3 Squires.

With two gone in the seventh, Ray Lankford tied the game on a solo shot sandwiched between Pedro's 11th and 12th strikeouts. In the eighth, Martinez made it 14. Going into the ninth, it was tied at four.

At this point, Ugueth Urbina took the mound for Prospect Park, and walked leadoff hitter Gary Gaetti. He was immediately lifted for Mariano Rivera. Goodwin laid down a perfect sacrifice, and Joey Cora popped out to short. The Posse needed one more out to hold the tie... but Bell followed with a triple down the line to score Gaetti. Martinez retired the side in the bottom of the frame, with no strikeouts, and the Squires had taken game one in enemy territory.

VSQ 0 0 4  0 0 0  0 0 1 5  8  1
PPK 0 0 0  0 0 3  1 0 0 4  3  0
W - P. Martinez  L - Brown
HR - Johnson (1), Lankford (1)
Game 2:

The Posse jumped out fast. Matt Cirillo led off with a single, moving up on Lankford's walk, and going to third on a McGwire double-play grounder. Jon Nunnally singled him in, then moved to third when Juan Gonzalez doubled.

Chili Davis stroked a clean single to score them both, giving the Posse a 3-0 lead. The Squires got one back on an odd play in the second, when Giambi stroked a shot into right which Gonzalez misplayed off the carom. Giambi came around to score on what was ruled a double and two-base error.

Wally Joyner led off the fourth with a double, and scored on Darrin Fletcher's single. Gaetti walked, and after Goodwin flew out, Joey Cora singled to tie the game. In the fifth, however, the Squires opened fire. Giambi again hit one to Gonzalez, who this time misplayed the hop. Giambi ended up at third on a single and error. Joyner singled him home. Fletcher popped out, then Gaetti and Goodwin walked to load the bases... and Cora stepped in, and laced a clean double to the gap, clearing them. After Bell struck out, Gwynn also doubled, and the Squires were up 8-3.

The Posse weren't done, however. In the bottom of the inning, Jay Buhner, pinch-hitting for Nunally, stroked a one-out triple, and scored on a Gonzalez sacrifice fly. In the sixth, the Posse again eked out a run on Damion Easley's leadoff single. He stole second, and then scored on a single from Barry Larkin to make it 8-5.

The Squires got one back in the seventh. Cora led off with a single, and after Bell flew out, moved to third as Gwynn singled as well. Rusty Greer flew out to right, deep enough to being Cora home. In the bottom half, things looked under control. Rusty Greer stole a homer from Mark McGwire, the top of the fence stole one from Buhner (who settled for two), and Gonzalez was robbed by Greer as well. Chili Davis stepped in and cut the Virginia lead in half, however, planting Radke's pitch in the seats. Easley followed with a solo shot, and the Squires were forced to the bullpen, clinging tenuously to a 9-8 lead. Hipolito Pichardo was up to the task, however, retiring four of the five batters he faced, leaving the game in Troy Percival's hands. Unwilling to accept his failures in the Mayne series, he struck out Buhner and Gonzalez to open the ninth, and, after walking Davis, retired Easley on a fly to center.

The Squires had not only escaped Prosepct Park alive, but with both games in their pockets.

VSQ 0 1 0  2 5 0  1 0 0 9 13  0
PPK 3 0 0  0 1 1  3 0 0 8 14  2
W - Radke  L - Hermanson  S - Percival
HR - Davis (1), Easley (1)
Game 3:

The series came to Virginia. The Squires plated two in the second, as after Greer walked and Giambi doubled, Gaetti also doubled. Lenny Webster was hit by a pitch and had to leave the game. The following inning, Tony Gwynn saw his last action of the series, as Butch Henry nailed him as well. Mark McLemore, running for him, got revenge when Giambi again stroked a single in Gonzalez' direction which he booted. The Squires led 3-0.

The only rough spot for Tom Glavine was in the fifth, when with two outs, he allowed a single to Ron Coomer, then walked Larkin and McGwire. Gonzalez, attempting to repair the damage caused by his pathetic performance in the field, responded with a grand slam to give the Posse the lead.

It lasted two batters into the bottom of the inning. Greer doubled, and Giambi decided rather than embarrassing Gonzalez any further, he'd just hit it where Juan couldn't get to it... and the Squires again led, 5-4. Giambi homered again in the seventh, a solo shot, and Glavine didn't allow another hit. After walking Chris Hioles and Coomer in the ninth, Percival came on for his second save, and Washington was rocking.

PPK 0 0 0  0 4 0  0 0 0 4  5  1
VSQ 0 2 1  0 2 0  1 0 x 6 12  0
W - Glavine  L - Henry  S - Percival
HR - Gonzalez (1), Giambi 2 (2)
Game 4:

The crowd was pumped. Martinez and Brown were facing one another again. All was good.

Fletcher tagged a Brown curveball for a solo homer in the second, but the Posse ralled to take the lead in the third. Buhner singled. Larkin walked, and Buhner scored on Cirillo's single. Pedro then sat Lankford and McGwire down on strikes. Nunnally hit one back through the box which Bell got enough of a glove on to prevent a run, but everyone was safe. When Gonzalez stroked a grounder to Bell on the next pitch, however, it got away from him, and the Posse had the lead, 2-0.

In the fifth, Virginia took control. Goodwin and Vina singled. Brown threw a pitch to the backstop, scoring Goodwin to tie it, and Bell turned Brown's next pitch into the outfield, putting runners at the corners. After fanning Greer, Brown faced Giambi... who cracked one deep into the corner, legging out a triple and giving Virginia a 4-2 lead. Martinez went to work, mowing down the Posse in the sixth and seventh. After a double play in the bottom of the seventh, Joyner doubled. For the second time in the game, Darrin Fletcher was walked intentionally. This time, however, it backfired, as Gaetti singled Joyner home with the Squires' fifth run.

Ray Lankford led off the eighth with a homer to make it 5-3, and McGwire followed with a single, but Martinez had had enough nonsense. Other than a walk in the ninth, the Posse were finished... and the Squires had advanced to the championship.

PPK 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 7 0 VSQ 0 1 0 0 3 0 1 0 x 5 13 1 W - Martinez L - Brown HR - Fletcher (1), Lankford (2) Pedro Martinez and Jason Giambi shared series MVP honors. (Sheehan cast his vote - quite properly - for the Bot...) My thanks to Kenny - a good guy and great competitor - for a series which was close despite the sweep. The Squires will travel to Wichita when Rany and I work out the when... Ray Lankford led off the eighth with a homer to make it 5-3, and McGwire followed with a single, but Martinez had had enough nonsense. Other than a walk in the ninth, the Posse were finished... and the Squires had advanced to the championship.When baseball came back to Washington, nobody expected this.

PPK 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 7 0 VSQ 0 1 0 0 3 0 1 0 x 5 13 1 W - Martinez L - Brown HR - Fletcher (1), Lankford (2) Pedro Martinez and Jason Giambi shared series MVP honors. (Sheehan cast his vote - quite properly - for the Bot...)

My thanks to Kenny - a good guy and great competitor - for a series which was close despite the sweep. The Squires will travel to Wichita when Rany and I work out the when...

Virginia 4, Mayne 3

Game 1:

The Squires jumped out to an early lead, tallying two on three singles and a Jason Giambi double. Mussina shut them down from that point, while the Islanders scratched their way back. In the fourth, Gary Sheffield led off with a walk, and moved to third on Dave Magadan's double. A grounder to second by Raul Mondesi scored Sheffield. Mondesi struck again in the sixth with a two-out solo shot, and in the seventh, Frank Thomas singled and moved to third on Alex Rodriguez's double. Ray Durham bounced to second, and Thomas was gunned down at the plate in a vicious collision with Darrin Fletcher. Tyler Houston then singled, driving A-Rod home with the go-ahead run.

Mussina walked Wally Joyner to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and after retiring Giambi on a deep fly to left, Tom Gordon stepped in - and immediately gave up back-to-back singles to Gaetti and Fletcher, scoring Joyner to tie it up. Paul Spoljaric came on after Gordon fanned Joey Cora, to send it into extra innings.

Hipolito Pichardo dispatched the Islanders without incident, only walking Dean Palmer. In the bottom of the frame, Jay Bell led off with a single. Tony Gwynn bounced one to second, which Durham booted. Rusty Greer knocked one down the first-base line; J. T. Snow snagged it and retired Gwynn at second, with Bell moving to third. Joyner weakly dribbled one back to the mound, advancing Greer to second, and Giambi stepped to the plate.

He never took a swing. Paul Spoljaric was called for a BALK, driving in the winning run...

MIS	0 0 0  1 0 1  1 0 0  0   3  5  1
VSQ	2 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 1  1   4 10  1
W-Pichardo (1-0)  L-Spoljaric (0-1)
HR - Mondesi (1)
Game 2:

It looked like the Squires were on their way to an easy series. In the first, Fernando Vina singled, and Jay Bell deposited Ismael Valdes' first pitch in the seats for another 2-0 lead. In the top of the third, the Isles cut the lead in half as Durham reached on a fielder's choise, and moved up when Terry Steinbach reached on catcher's interference. He was retired at second on another fielder's choice, moving Durham to third, and Dave Martinez singled him home.

A Joyner double, a wild pitch, and an RBI single from Doug Strange made it 3-1 Squires in the fourth. The next frame, Vina reached on a Durham error, and moved up on a grounder by Bell. Gwynn was walked intentionally, and Rusty Greer made the most of it, delivering an RBI single. Heading into the eighth, it was still 4-1 Squires, and Brad Radke had retired 10 in a row.

It immediately went down the tubes.

Dave Magadan led off the eighth with a homer. Dave Martinez singled, and after Mondesi struck out, Snow also stroked a base hit. Chris Sabo had had enough; Troy Percival came in from the pen. He failed to retire anyone, as Gary Gaetti booted Ryan Klesko's grounder, A-Rod doubled, Steve Finley was walked intentionally, and then Gary Sheffield, pinch-hitting for Durham, drew a bases-loaded walk. Sabo turned to Brian Bohanon, who promptly surrendered an RBI single to pinch-hitter Frank Thomas, another run scored when Dean Palmer grounded out to short, and finally, Dave Martinez singled in the inning's seventh run. After another walk, Sabo finally brought in the much- maligned Kent Bottenfield... who retired the final four Islanders batters.

Virginia managed a run in the bottom of the eighth, as Greer doubled and Joyner singled him home, but it wan't enough.

MIS	0 0 1  0 0 0  0 7 0	8  9  0
VSQ	2 0 0  1 1 0  0 1 0	5  7  2
W-Valdes (1-0)  L-Percival (0-1)
HR-Bell (1), Magadan (1)
Game 3:

The linescore says it all.

VSQ	0 0 1  0 0 0  1 0 0	 2  6  1
MIS	0 1 2  0 5 0  5 8 x	21 20 0
W-Perez (1-0)  L-Glavine (0-1)
HR-Dye (1), Thomas (1), Mondesi 2 (3), Webster (1), Snow (1)
Mondesi: 5-6, 12 TB, 4 BI
Thomas: 4-6, 8 BI
Snow 1-1, BB, 4 BI
Bottenfield: shelled in mop-up.
Game 4:

Brian Moehler got shelled early, and Sabo - refusing to subject his bullpen to further misery - let Moehler hang. It looked like all was lost for Virginia...

VSQ	0 0 1  0 1 1  0 0 0	 3  7  0
MIS	4 0 1  0 3 1  2 0 x	11 15  0
W-Mussina (1-0)  L-Moehler (0-1)
HR- Klesko (1), Gaetti (1), Durham (1)
Game 5:

It finally got interesting again. Both teams scored in the first; the Squires by playing typical Squire-ball and scraping one out, the Islanders on Raul Mondesi's fourth homer of the series. Mayne takced another one on in the fifth, as A-Rod tripled and came home on a Finley sacrifice fly. In the sixth...

Joyner led off with a double. Giambi walked, and after Gaetti skied the first out of the inning to center, Darrin Fletcher hit one just a bit further... and the Squires had the lead, 4-2. A flyout, three walks, and a double later, Virginia had added another.

Frank Thomas homered in the seventh to make it 5-3. But Armando Benitez surrendered a single to Tom Goodwin, then plunked Joey Cora in the back. Cora would remember this. After a groundout by Bell, Tony Gwynn - in a funk the whole series - singled, and two more runs came across. Pedro Martinez had finally won a game with meaning, and the series was headed back to Virginia.

VSQ	1 0 0  0 0 4  0 2 0	7 10  0
MIS	1 0 0  0 1 0  1 0 0	3  7  0
W - P. Martinez (1-0)  L - Gordon (0-1)
HR- Mondesi (4), Fletcher (1), Thomas (2)
Game 6:

Mayne struck first, temporarily silencing the Loudon Field faithful.Dave Martinez doubled and scored on Durham's single; Durham, in turn, crossed the plate after Mondesi singled and SNow walked, on A-Rod's groundout. Radke settled, however, and struck out Magadan to end the inning.

Joey Cora, however, was still not pleased with the ball Benitez had planted in his back, and led off the bottom half of the first by rocketing a blast over the fence. Bell walked, and, following Gwynn's fly out, back-to-back doubles by Giambi and Greer gave the Squires the lead. one out later, Jeff Conine made it 4-2 by tripling Greer home.

The Isles went down silently in the second. Tom Goodwin led off the Virginia half by fanning, bringing Cora to the plate again - and, again, he expressed his opinion by sending another blast out of the park. Jay Bell followed by demonstrating his manhood as well, and the Squires were rolling, 6-2.

Mayne scratched out a run in the third, and all was silent until the Virgnia fifth. Walks to Giambi and Greer turned costly as Jeff Conine ripped the Squires' fourth homer of the night, staking Radke to a 9-3 lead.

Mayne rallied, however, unwilling to let the issue go to a seventh game. In the eighth, they managed one on two singles and a walk, but in the ninth, the Squires were tested. Troy Percival came out to close the deal, but after retiring Tyler Houston, again fell apart. Finley doubled, and then consecutive singles by Martinez, Durham, and Mondesi chased the Squires' closer. Hipolito Pichardo came on with the bases packed, and promptly walked Snow to make it 9-6. Frank Thomas flew out, and the seventh run crossed... but A-Rod was induced to, also, fly out, and the series moved on to game seven...

MIS	2 0 1  0 0 0  0 1 3	7 13  0
VSQ	4 2 0  0 3 0  0 0 x	9 10  0
W-Radke (1-0)  L-Perez (1-1)  S-Pichardo (1)
HR-Cora 2 (2), Bell (1), Conine (1)
Game Seven.

Gary Sheffield sent Tom Glavine's first offerign into the seats, and Rey Sanchez doubled. Things looked bleak. Glavine settled down and got out of it, however, although walking the bases loaded before all was said and done.

Jay Bell scored in the bottom half, after singling and moving to third on Gwynn's single, on Greer's grounder. Mayne struck right back in the second, though. Another pair of walks, and an RBI single by Sheffield, had the Squires faithful nervous. Glavine then settled again, even striking out the side in the fourth. In the fifth, however, one got away from him, and Raul Mondesi left the game with a bruised elbow.

In the bottom of the fifth, Conine tied the game with a solo shot. Again, Mayne struck back. Martinez walked, and with two outs, Sheffield walked as well. A pitch got away from Glavine, and when he surrendered a two-run double to Sanchez, Olivares took the hill.

Bell led off the sixth with a single, bringing the mostly-ineffectual Hall-of- Famer Tony Gwynn to the plate... at which point he justified his presence in the Virginia lineup by blasting Mussina's third pitch into the right-field seats. Game tied again. After Greer struck out, Giambi singled, Joyner walked, and Fletcher - who had brought the series home with his game five homer - doubled in the go-ahead run. The crowd became frantc.

In the bottom of the seventh, it was Greer's turn. McLemore led off with a double, and bell walked. They moved up on Gwynn's grounder, and Greer ripped a liner into right that scored them both, giving the Squires a 7-4 lead.

Mayne threatened in the eighth. Dave Martinez led off with a single, and Isles manager Warren Cromartie sent Dave Magadan in to pinch-hit for Terry Steinbach. Sabo immediately called for lefty Brian Bohanon... and Cromartie countered with Mike DeFelice. Bohanon induced a double-play ball, then popped Dean Palmer up to end the threat.

Virginia succumbed silently in their half, and Sheffield led off the ninth for Mayne. He crushed a Bohanon pitch into center and out, and the lead was cut to two.

Sabo exhibited faith. He once again called for Troy Percival.

The crowd immediately felt a sense of deja vu. Ray DUrham swung, and once again Gary Gaetti struck, firing his throw to first into the seats. Frank Thomas lofted a shot to center, which Greer flagged down; Durham moved to third. Them Percival struck Steve Finley out, and the crowd rose as the Squires' closer faced Alex Rodriguez with the season on the line.

Three pitches later, it was over, as McLemore flipped to Joyner to end Mayne's season... and Percival went from goat to hero.

MIS	1 1 0  0 0 2  0 0 1	5  7  0
VSQ	1 0 0  0 1 3  2 0 x	7 11  1
W-Olivares (1-0)  L-Mussina (1-1)  S-Percival (1)
HR- Sheffield 2 (2), Conine (2), Gwynn (1)
Despite being on the wrong end of a losing cause, Raul Mondesi earned series MVP honors, going 13-26 with 8 RBI and 4 HR.

Yellowknife 4, Kansas City 3

Game 1:

With Tornado ace Greg Maddux all burned out in trying to get to the playoffs, Kansas City turned to Jason Schmidt while hired gun John Smoltz took the mound at the Tundra Dome.

Things looked bad early for Smoltz as the Tornadoes loaded the bases with 1 out in the 1st, but Javy Lopez hit a sharp grounder to Garciaparra for an inning ender. The Moose got on the board first as Larry Walker took Schmidt out of the yard to open the 2nd. But, Royce Clayton(!!) gave the Tornadoes the lead in the 4th as he homersed with a man on to make it 2-1. Unfortunately for the Tornadoes, that would be their only runs. Dave Hansen hit a game tying double to score Delino Deshields in the 5th and Garciaprra singled home Sandy Alomar in the 6th to make it 3-2 Moose. Mark Grace added a solo shot in the 7th off Xavier Hernandez for a 4-2 final.

Bobby Bonilla was lost for the season for KC in the 3rd inning.

Kansas City  0  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  0   2  9  0
Yellowknife  0  1  0  0  1  1  1  0  x   4 10  0

W: Smoltz(1-0), L: Schmidt(0-1)
HR: Walker(1), Grace(1), Clayton(1)
Player of the Game: Moose infield defense which turned 3 double plays.

Game 2:

Mark Clark took to the mound for a short while against Rick Reed in game 2 while KC fans wished he had never come to the park. Sandy Alomar led off the bottom of the 2nd with a single and quickly scored as Garciaparra homered for a 2-0 lead. Wade Boggs singled on the next pitch, but Clark looked like he was going to get out of it as Rob Ducey lined out and Deshields flew out. Clark then walked Mark Grace and gave up a double to Hansen. Bernie Williams singled home a pair to make it 5-0. That was enough for Clark as Tim Wakefield came on.

Walker laced a single and a knuckler didn't as Alomar put it into the grazing area in leftfield to make it 8-0 Moose.

KC tried to fight back as Shawon DUnston hit a 2-run shot and Clayton homered, but an RBI single from Alomar and a solo shot from Alomar were enough for a 10-4 final.

Kansas City  0  0  0  2  1  1  0  0  0   4  8  0
Yellowknife  0  8  0  1  0  0  1  0  x  10 14  0

W: Reed(1-0), L: Clark(0-1)
HR: Garciaparra(1), Alomar 2(2), Dunston(1), Clayton(2)
Player of the Game: Sandy Alomar with a 4-5 day, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI Game 3:

With the scene shifting to Kansas City, Greg Maddux was ready for the Tornadoes while Kirk Rueter took the mound for the visitors. Apparenlty Kevin Romine made the wrong choice on pitchers as the Tornadoes strung a series of hits and walks together for a 3-0 lead after 1. The Moose came back in the 2nd as a Kevin Young single scored Garciaparra and Lance Johnson misplayed FP Santangelo's single to allow Young to score to make it 3-2. In fact, the score stayed that way until the 6th when Eduardo Perez homered off Rueter for a 4-2 lead. This turned out to be enough for Maddux as the home team then socred 5 more in the 7th and 8th off Rueter and Jeff Nelson thanks to a pair of Scott Sullivan wild pitches in the 9th and a Robin Ventura homer in the 8th Sandy Alomar closed the scoring in the 9th with a homer for the 9-3 final.

Yellowknife  0  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  1   3  8  0
Kansas City  3  0  0  0  0  1  3  2  x   9  9  1

W: Maddux(1-0), L: Rueter(0-1)
HR: Perez(1), Ventura(1), Alomar(3)
Player of the Game: Robin Ventura with a 2-3, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR

Game 4:

Whip-lash Alex Fernandez loves pitching in KC. John Smoltz has decided he doesn't. The Tornadoes only needed Javy Lopez's 2-run shot in the first which make it 2-1. KC added 3 more in the 4th off Smoltz as 4 consecutive 2 out singles gave KC a 5-1 lead. A balk in the 7th closed out the scoring.

Moose 3rd baseman Wade Boggs was lost for the series in the 4th inning.

Yellowknife  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0   1  6  0
Kansas City  2  0  0  3  0  0  1  0  x   6  8  0

W: Fernandez(1-0), L: Smoltz(2-1), S: Orosco(1)
HR: Lopez(1)
Player of the Game: Alex Fernandez who scatterd 6 hits and 1 BB over 6.2 IP.

Game 5:

With the series knotted at 2, Kevin Romine took a chance and held Rick Reed back until the series retuerned to the north and sent Moose veteran lefty Chuck Finley to the mound. Mark Clark made a return appearance for the Tornadoes. The Moose ran Clark even quicker this game as a 2 spot in the first was followed by 6 in the 2nd for an 8-0 lead. The Tornadoes got one in the 2nd a the Moose committed thier first error of the series when Garciaparra threw an inning ender in the dogout to let Lopez score. But the Moose got the run back when Roger Cedeno homered off Wakefield in the 3rd. A Mike Kelly homer in the 4th made it a 7 run game, but the Moose put 2 more up in the 5th on a sac fly and an RBI double from Santangelo. With an 11-2 lead, a solo shot from Lofton and a 3-run shot from Perez chased Finley. Lance Johnson hit a solo shot off Scott Sullivan in the 9th with the game over to make it 11-7.

Mike Timlin beaned Alomar in the 9th. Alomar is expected to miss game 6.

Yellowknife  2  6  1  0  2  0  0  0  0   11 13  3
Kansas City  0  1  0  1  0  0  4  0  1    7  8  1

W: Finley(1-0), L: Clark(0-2)
HR: Kelly(1), Lofton (1), Perez(2), Johnson(1), Cedeno(1)
Player of the Game: Roger Cedeno 2-4, HR, BB, 3 R Game 6:

On the brink of elimination, Greg Maddux took the ball for KC against Rick Reed as the series moved back to Yellowknife. Staring down a 2-0 KC lead on a Lopez homer, it looked like the Moose might have figured Maddux out. Three singles to open the 1st and a sac fly made it 2-2. After a grounder to Clayton, Kevin Young singled and Santangelo doubled to make it 3-2 Moose. A single from Carlos Hernandez scored Young, but Santangelo was thrown out at the plate trying to score to keep it at 4-2.

It stayed that way until a sac fly from Paul O'Neill and a 2-run homer from Magglio Ordonez made it 5-4 Tornadoes. Four Moose relievers shut the Tornadoes down over the 3.1 innings, but Maddux was too tough.

Kansas City   2  0  0  0  0  3  0  0  0   5  8  0
Yellowknife   4  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0   4  8  0

W: Maddux(2-0), L: Reed(1-1)
HR: Lopez(2), Ordonez(1) 
Player of the Game: Greg Maddux who allowed 2 hits after the 1st inning.

Game 7:

John Smoltz and Jason Schmidt locked up again in the deciding game. The Moose got on the board first as Bernie Williams lifted a sac fly to score Mark Grace in the 1st. But the Tornadoes answered in the 2nd as Magglio Ordonez hit a 2-run shot. KC added another in the 3rd as 3 straight singles plated Bret Boone to make it 3-1. A leadoff double to Make Grace and a Santangelo grounder closed it to 3-2 after 3. The Moose tied it in the 4th as Deshields led off with a single, moved up on a passed ball, and scored on a Rob Ducey single. Not to be outdone, a pair of 2 out walks and an rbi single from Lopez made it 4-3 after the top of the 5th. Santangelo led off the 5th with triple and scored as Larry Walker singled. A pair of fielder's choices put Garciaprra on 1st with 2 down.

Alomar doubled scoring Nomar as Alomar drew the throw to 3rd to make it a 5-4 Moose lead.

The Moose put the game away in the 6th as Xavier Hernandez came on to start the inning. He promply gave up a single to Deshields and a double to Kevin Young. Rob Ducey ripped his next pitch for a double sending Hernandez to the showers. Mike Timlin came on and wasn't much better. A Grace double scored Ducey to make it 8-4. After a lineup to Clayton, Walker doubled. Joe Randa couldn't handle a Williams dribbler putting Walker across home to make it 10-4. Garciaparra and Alomar singled to make it 11-4 before Deshields and Young made outs to end the inning. With Smoltz cruising, an Alomar homer in the 8th closed the scoring at 12-4.

Kansas City   0  2  1  0  1  0  0  0  0   4  9  1
Yellowknife   1  0  1  1  2  6  0  1  x  12 18  0

W: Smoltz(2-1), L: Schmidt(0-2)
HR: Alomar(4), Ordonez(2)
Player of the Game: Sandy Alomar 4-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI

Series MVP: Sandy Alomar
13-24, 4 2B, 4 HR, 2 BB, HBP, 7 R, 9 RBI .542/.592/1.208