Well, it's here. For the first time in Second City History (I think - too lazy to look), all 4 wild-card series are headed to game 5. A brief re-cap of how we got there.
Baltimore jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the road, bombing 2 Fightin Friar starters including Chico Molina (gm 1 8-3, gm 2 18-1). By the Friars came back on the road behind 8 innings of one-hit ball from Dude Wheeler in Game 3 and a 4-HR attack in Game 4. The road team in 4-0 in this series, which returns to SF for it's thrilling conclusion.
Scranton got 3 in the 9th on a Joe Clarke HR and stranded the potential tie run at 3B in Game 1 against Monterrey. 3 of the first 4 hitters homered in the 2nd as Monterrey cruised to a game 2 win over Neil Henderson. Game 3 dragged on for a grueling 13 innings with only 3 extra inning base runners until Jorge Torres got his first hit of the night, a 2-run, walk-off HR allowed by the creatively named Brad Bradley. Game 4 saw Monterrey escape elimination in a thrilling come-from-behind win with PR Andrew Boyd just beating a throw home to score the go-ahead run on PH Tito Kwon's double. Kudos to manager Brandon Taylor for those two substitutions.
In the NL, San Juan peppered Cheyenne with 19 hits to win gm 1 8-4. Then backup C Willard Hitchcock homered 3 times to secure 7-5 victory in game 2. But, Cheyenne battled back at home winning game 3 8-7 with the despite the potential tie run reaching first with nobody out in the 9th. Game 4 was a Seminole game all the way with Gergie Regan and Adam Henry combing to allow just 1 run on 8 hits.
Perhaps the wildest series has been between Helena and Sioux Falls. The exhausted Dakota sent 36-year old Bartolo Gonzalez to the mind in Game 1 and he rewarded them with shut out innings in a 5-0 win over 3-time Cy Young Rafael Aguilera. The Dakota took a 4-3 lead to the bottom of the 9th in Helena in game 2 before D'Angelo Castillo's 2-run, walkoff HR. Sioux Falls trailed 5-1 in game 3 before a furious comeback, topped off by a 4-run 8th to win 5-4. CF Alex Bennett made consecutive errors in the 9th to bring the tie run to the plate before Victor Chavez redeemed himself by escaping the jam (he had blown game 2). Game 4 once again saw Aguilera on the hill, but he left with the Dakota leading 4-3. However, back-to-back HR's in the 8th and a 3-run 9th salted away the win for the Hound Dogs. Sioux Falls ace, Paul Rhodes takes the hill for the first time in a win-or-go-home game 5 in Helena.