(Photo Credit: Mick Lite)
In the crisp 55 degree weather of O’Fallon, Missouri Thursday night, River City Rascals fans witnessed history. Over the past six seasons, no Frontier League team has worked the playoffs better than the Rascals.
For the fourth time in that span, the ‘Dogs’ are headed to the Finals with a semi-final victory over the Washington Wild Things last night at T.R. Hughes Ballpark. Only one time has the organization not made it past the first round of playoffs if the team qualified for playoff contention. The organization has been in the playoffs seven times now, so the odds were in their favor to advance.
Last night’s 4-1 victory over the Wild Things proved the Rascals were primed for a run at the 2014 title. Recapping the two game sweep of Washington, River City dominated in the pitching department allowing just two runs over a 21-inning span winning the opening game in extras 2-1.
The biggest story had to be how 6’9″ Kyle Brady was dealing in his 6 innings of work striking out seven and surrendering four hits and an earned run. His strikeouts had Washington hitters swinging and missing at a lot. His breaking ball was on with a myriad of strikeouts keeping hitters off balance swinging at balls in the dirt.
At the plate on hitter keeps standing out for the Rascals and that’s the gritty 5’10” second baseman Hector Crespo. Out of his 10 plate appearances in the semis, he reached base six times going 5-for-9 with two RBI.
In last night’s clincher, Crespo went 3-for-4 swinging at the first pitch in every at bat. His only out was a flyout to left field so his eyes were wide last night getting contact with everything.
A 2014 Frontier League Championship is within grasp for the Rascals, but the defending League Champion Schaumburg Boomers stand in their way. The Boomers won a 3-game series over the Southern Illinois Miners last night in true comeback fashion. Down a game, the Boomers had to win the next two to advance to the finals and in the third game down 1-0 after four, Schaumburg advanced with a run in the fifth and sixth.
The first game of the 2014 Frontier League Championship will be held here in O’Fallon, Missouri Saturday, September 13th at 7:05 p.m. This is a best of five series and the first two games will be held at T.R. Hughes Ballpark. The third game will be in Schaumburg and so will a fourth game if necessary. If a fifth game is needed, the Rascals will come back home for the clincher.
Both teams have won two games in a row, but Schaumburg’s playoff loss came on the road. That’s great news for the Rascals who have a stellar home record this year and play the first two games on home turf.