What a tournament. So much happened, that it would be impossible to get to it all in one article… Here’s the quick version of how it all went down (the JAL will release a tournament recap video Monday that breaks down JAL XII more in depth).
Shortly after the Bay Area Fog were honored in the Plate Ceremony they got smacked back down to reality. In the Opening Game the Toutle Lynx defeated the Fog 9-5. In the next game, the two new franchises, the Missouri Express and Cowlitz Bambinos duked it out. The Express started slow and trailed 0-1 going into the 4th. In the final two innings, however the Express flipped the switch offensively and came out on top 4-1.
As the tournament rolled on, the Express and Lynx each clinched a playoff berth before their last games as they were both 2-0. In their final regular season games both teams rested their starting pitchers (Taite Kleine started for the Express in their last game, and Anthony Nusbaum for the Lynx). The Fog came into JAL XII with a championship hangover and never recovered from their Opening Game loss. They went on to finish 0-3 and 4th in the American Conference. The Bambinos finished 1-2 and in 3rd in the conference.
In the National Conference things were more competitive, other than the Bison, who finished 0-3 and 4th in the conference. The Rapids, Cobras and u-dogs all finished 2-1 and in a three-way tie. Because of that, the standings shakeout came down to point differential. In the end the u-dogs got unlucky as they always do and were the odd team out, finishing 3rd in the conference. The Rapids finished 1st and Cobras 2nd.
The best part of the tournament was the conference finals. In the American Conference Finals the Lynx had the Express on the ropes with a 3-1 lead going into the 4th inning. A clutch 2 shot homer from Taite Kleine tied the game though, and Lynx star Jordan Halverson ended up walking in the game’s winning run in the final half inning to seal a trip to the cup for the Express 4-3.
In the National Conference Finals the Rapids jumped on the Cobras early 8-0 in the 2nd inning and held that lead until the 4th. It looked as though they would cruise to the WWCD Cup. The Cobras however, stormed back to win 11-10 in what will probably go down as one of the best games in JAL history.
The WWCD Cup was less than spectacular. The Express jumped on the Cobras early 3-0. The Cobras hung around until a big 4th inning from the Express which blew the game open to a 10-0 lead, and ended up being the final score.
Thanks to everybody for another great chapter in JAL history.