The Raleigh Red Sox won their 4th 35+ championship in the last 5 years this year. The best group of guys you’d ever meet, the team overcame injuries, added new players, and kept playing good baseball.
The Red Sox were able to avoid an upset in the semi-finals against the Orioles, winning the game 7-6 behind the steady, complete game pitching of David Garner, and offensive heroics from long-time Sox players Allan Nowak, Quincy Marshall and Chris Budnick. Q had a huge two-run double in the second inning, Budnick was on base all day, scoring twice and driving in one – and Nowak changed the Sox’ situation from the outhouse to the penthouse with a clutch 2-out, 2-run double in the bottom of the 8th inning to put the Red Sox up 7-6. Garner struck out 2 batters in the 9th to put the game away.
The Red Sox would then meet the season champion, the hard-hitting Alamance Giants, in the best of 3 Championship Series.
Game 1: Red Sox 10 – Giants 2
Mike McCreery led the way for the Red Sox in Game 1, throwing a complete game. It was clear as day that he had his good stuff on that afternoon, as he held the Giants scoreless for 6 innings while the Sox built up a 10-0 lead. Chris ‘Meat’ O’Connor got things going in the first with a double to plate the first run. Two more runs were added in the second on a big 2-run double off the bat of Quincy Marshall. Five more runs come across in the 4th, the last two driven in by another long-time Red Sox veteran, Chip Haver. McCreery’s only blemish was a 2-run homer in the 7th off the bat of Barclay Ballard. He walked only one batter and struck out 4.
Game 2: Red Sox 7 – Giants 4
The Red Sox swept the series behind the pitching of David Garner and McCreery. Garner got the start, and while he put up zeros the first 3 innings, the Sox grabbed a lead they would not relinquish with 5 runs in the 3rd inning. Haver once again came through with a 2-run single, and after an RBI from Chris ‘Choppy’ Wright (who had 2 hits, 2 runs and this RBI), Chris Budnick delivered a 2-out, 2-run double to finish off the inning.
The Red Sox would need every one of those runs, as the Giants chipped away to get back into the game, damage coming from home runs by Jamie Coner and Danny Pugh. By the 7th, clinging to a 1 run lead, McCreery came in to relieve the very competitive Mr. Garner, and all he did was allow the first batter to reach on an error, then set down 9 straight to end the game. The Sox added a couple insurance runs, one coming from the bat of newcomer Damian ‘Skillz’ McFadden.
The Giants and the Red Sox are two good teams, who know each other well and play good baseball, pretty much what MSBL is all about. What ultimately carried the Red Sox was that their pitchers only walked 2 batters in 18 innings, and their defense only committed 2 errors during the two games – Pitching and defense wins championships.