Border Baseball League 2018 Playoff Preview
An editorial preview of the upcoming best of 5 Semi-Final series
(1) Morden Mohawks vs (4) Pilot Mound Pilots
Arguably the two most successful teams over the past three years will go head to head in the Border League Semi-Finals. The Pilots have been crowned regular season champions twice while also taking home the WG Coulthard Trophy as playoff champions in 2016, ending Morden's 3 year run as league champs. The Mohawks recaptured the league championship last season and claimed the regular season crown for the first time in 2018. The Mohawks did sweep the season series, but by the slimmest of margins, posting two victories by a combined 3 runs, but these two teams have not faced off since May 31. A lot of things can change over the course of two months, but you can bet that the games will continue to be extremely close.
Morden – The Mohawks went off in the Quarter-Finals putting up 39 runs in a three game sweep of the Killarney Lakers. After failing to hit a long ball over the entire regular season, they launched 5 round trippers in the 3 games proving their offence can come from anywhere. They were however tagged for 13 runs against, including 6 in the first innings.
Pilot Mound – While Anthony Friesen was the go to guy on the mound in the regular season and grabbed the series clinching win, Brad McLeod posted 2 of the 3 victories for the Pilots as they contained the high powered Winkler offence. The team went as the pitching went, allowing only 2 runs against in the final 2 wins of the series, while allowing 20 runs in their 2 losses.
Keys to Series Victory
Morden - 'Look out for Number 1'. Be ready to start playing in the first inning. The offence can put up numbers, but don't force it to overcome multi-run deficits.
Pilot Mound – ‘Keep coming up clutch’. Every time the Pilots needed someone to step up, whether it's at the plate or on the mound, they have. They'll be ready to battle after a 5 game war with Winkler.
(2) Cartwright Twins vs (3) Baldur Regals
They met in the Quarter-Finals last year and Baldur will be looking to flip the script on the Twins in the semi-finals this season. The Regals entered the then Border West Baseball League in 2007 and it took until 2017 for the Twins to post a playoff series victory over their neighbours to the north, posting a victory in a do or die game 3 in Baldur. 2018 will mark only the second tiime the Regals will open a semi-final series on the road. The two teams split the season series with each team winning on the road, which is rather unique as the teams combined to go 11-3 at home this season. A series win for the Regals will put them back in the Championship series for the first time since 2015 while the Twins will be looking to make their first Championship series appearance since losing to the Regals in the big dance nearly a decade ago.
Cartwright – The Twins continued to keep things interesting in the playoffs, scoring 7 runs over the final 2 innings in a narrow game 2 victory over Carman and allowing 6 runs against in the final two innings in a clinching game 3 nail biter. But don't read too much into that, they've had a flare for the dramatic all season long.
Baldur – Outside of a lopsided game 3 victory, the Regals got all they could handle from a feisty Clearwater ball club before finishing things off in 4 games. They did not have to rely on their triple crown winner to do it either. Clearwater held Jones to a single hit in the series....yes, it was a home run.
Keys to Series Victory
Cartwright – 'Cardiac Kids'. Do it your way Cartwright. When it comes to playoff victories they don't ask how, they ask how many. If anxiety is your thing, hang on and enjoy the ride.
Baldur – 'Lock it down'. They scored first in 3 of 4 games against Clearwater and used pitching and defence to make those leads hold up. That was their recipe for success and will try to use that to avoid the Cartwright dramatics.