The Raleigh Expos were back in the CNCMSBL 18+ division championship series or the third consecutive season chasing their 2nd championship.
After eliminating the Carolina Marlins in the semifinal behind a complete game effort by Joshua Joseph, the Expos turned to Joseph in game 1 against the Cubs. The Cubs, entering the playoffs as the 6th seed were as hot as any team facing the #1 seeded Expos. From the first pitch, the Cubs came out swinging, working deep counts, and constantly putting the pressure on the Expos defense, which throughout the regular season had been rock solid. Unforced errors, free passes, and timely hitting helped the Cubs build a 9-run lead early. The Expos spent the entire game playing catchup. While the Expos offence eventually showed signs of life late drilling three long balls (two by Nathan Ginsberg and one by Christian Tardieu), they ultimately fell 9-5. Full credit to the Cubs pitchers who kept the league’s top offense relatively quiet.
Trailing by a game the Expos had a week off to regroup and make the necessary adjustments. In game 2, the Expos again turned to Joseph on the mound to level the series at a game apiece. In this game it was the Expos who came out swinging. Boosted by the return of leadoff hitter Jerome Henley, the Expos scored first and built a 4-0 lead early. Through 6 innings, Joseph was almost unhittable allowing only 3 hits. In the 7th, the Expos gave the ball to their most dominant reliever of late, Jerome Henley who didn’t give the Cubs a sniff through the final 3 frames. Perennial league leader in home runs, Mike Deveaux aided in the offensive turnaround in game 2 by drilling a 2-run HR in the 6th. Nathan Ginsberg put the game out of reach with a 3-run home run in the 9th, his 3rd long ball of the series. The Expos would a force a deciding game 3 but defeating the Cubs 7-1.
In the finale, the Expos turned to Nathan Ginsberg on the mound while the Cubs put their faith in their ga
me 1 winning pitcher Wallot. A single by leadoff man Henley followed by an RBI double by Brett Cant had the Expos on the board first. Ginsberg was brilliant early, recording quick outs and racking up the strikeouts. Through 4 innings the Expos had built a 4-0 lead before the Cubs got back in to the game scoring 2 runs off Ginsberg in the top of the 4th, which would be all he would give up the rest of the way. The Cubs loaded the bases in the top of the 8th, but came up empty. The Expos then extended the lead in the bottom of the 8th with another long ball, this time by third baseman Steve Rayter.
Throughout the series, Will Whitaker, the Expos catcher, was at his usual best, calling a great game and putting the brakes on the Cubs base stealers.
Ginsberg’s complete game, 6 hit performance, coupled with his 3 home runs and 7 RBIs surely earned him MVP honors of the championship series. In the end, it was the depth of the Expos pitching and powerful offense which made the difference.
Final Game 3 score 6-2. Cubs left 7 on base and had 6 hits with just two RBIs. Expos left 4 on base and had 4 hits.