Expos repeat as champions
DDO (AP) - Expos Nation were packed in on Friday night, to watch their Expos clinch their second consecutive championship. And the Expos and Indians did not disappoint, as they slugged it out, back and forth through seven innings of exciting baseball. "Really" explained captain Glen Norman, "We couldn't have done it without the fans. People say Seahawks fans are the loudest. And Canadiens fans are the most passionate. But I wouldn't trade Expos Nation for anything!"
The Expos got on the board early, capitalizing on a first inning error and walk by Verdun, cashing in Liam Twomey and Glen Norman. Marc Cusson took the mound for the Expos, and did what he does best, mowing through the Indians batters. In the second inning, the Expos looked to be on the verge of padding their lead and potentially putting the game away, but weren't able to capitalize with the bases loaded and only one out.
The Indians, as they have always been known to do, would make the Expos pay for that failure, and clawed their way back into the game. In the third inning, with the score tied 2-2 and the bases loaded with 1 out, Cusson caught a liner off the Indians bat, and fired to third for the inning-ending double play. After allowing the Indians to take the lead 3-2, the Expos defence would shine again, in the bottom of the fourth inning, after a wild throw to third base, the Indians runner would try to score, only to have third baseman Steve Aikens field the ball off the dugout fence, and fire to catcher Pierre-Yves Rajotte for the out at the plate. Later that same inning, after a pitching change would bring in Liam Twomey from the bullpen with the bases loaded, on the very first pitch he threw, Stephane Dorval of the Indians blasted what looked to be a 3-run double into centre field, only to have Robert Andrej make what would turn out to be a game-saving catch.
In the top of the fifth inning, with one down and nobody on, Aikens laid down a picture perfect bunt down the third base line and capitalized on an errant throw by scooting around the bases and ending up at third base. After an Andrej sacrifice fly cashed in Aikens from third, Pat McCarthy took a 1-1 pitch and laced it into left field for a single with two outs. On the very next pitch, Dan Bleho, uncharacteristically swung at the first pitch he saw, slamming the ball all of 16 feet down the third base line. Again, the ordinarily solid Indians' defence couldn't execute, as again, for the second time in the inning, the throw to first went wide, allowing McCarthy to score first-to-third - settling once and for all that McCarthy is three times faster than Bleho (270 feet vs 90 feet on the same play).
In the top of the seventh, after allowing the Indians to tie the game at 4, Rajotte, recently voted "most likely to make friends with the other team", hit a lazy fly to centre field which dropped easily in front of the Indians centre fielder. Rajotte, always attentive to the slightest defensive miscues, capitalized on the centerfielder over running the ball, and advanced to second base. A few pitches later, on a past ball, Rajotte advanced to third, and would be cashed in by a Robert Gartshore sacrifice fly.
The rest, as they say, was history, as Twomey easily closed out the seventh inning, inducing a slow rolling grounder to Cusson, who had moved to second base, for the final out. The collective breaths of Expos Nation paused as Cusson fielded the ball, and threw it to Doug Fletcher for the final out. Kim (Norman), Nonie (McCarthy), Emily (Twomey), Sam (Fletcher), Lindsay (Largan), Joanne (Cusson), and Lauren (Bleho) let out a collective sigh of relief, as they saw the final out. "Finally its over!", one of of them was quoted as saying anonymously. "Maybe finally he'll get around to doing all those things at the house he's been putting off all summer."
With the win, the Expos closed the season 27-8, and 46-18 over the last 2 years. The year started on a hard note, as the Expos not only dropped their first game, but lost a valuable piece of their 2014 championship team when Kevin Stuckey broke his ankle walking up the stairs. "Did he really break it walking up the stairs?" a confused Matt Fijal asked. "How does that happen exactly?" "Losing Kevin was a big blow to the team," added captain Glen Norman. "Whenever we have needed a big hit, or for someone to fire us up in the dugout, Kevin has been there. Losing him early was a big blow, but that just goes to show you the strength of this team - both on and off the field. We took the news, made adjustments, moved forward and won."
"This is the best group of people I have ever played with", an ecstatic and slightly inebriated Robert Gartshore proclaimed after the game. "Even McCarthy... I mean he's a weird dude... weird in a good way, you know."
A very pale and dehydrated Doug Largan, suffering from a bout of gastro was equally excited about the victory. When asked whether his doctors had given him clearance to play, he responded, "Doctor Schmoctor. I love these guys, and I wanted to leave them with something special... something that they would remember with me. Believe me, when what I have kicks in for them, they'll be remembering the name Doug Largan for a few days."
"Look, I want to thank the Expos, the Expos' fans and especially the lord almighty himself for blessing me with the wicked good skills I have. This was a great night for the the Liam brand", a humble Liam Twomey told reporters. "I don't want to speculate about next season. I mean, I'd love to be back, but business is business, and after my 'Billy Chapel-esque' performance tonight, the Expos are going to have to put up mad dollars if they want to keep me. Its really between the management and Scott Boras at this point."
In other news, Expos players celebrated into the early hours of Saturday morning. Some longer than others, as Twitter lit up with reported sightings of Chris Kelly-Farrar partying in Dorval Mike Napoli style. (Reference: http://www.boston.com/sports/blogs/obnoxiousboston...).