Cincinnati KnightsFort_Worth_Cats

Cincinnati Knights @ Fort Worth Cats
Series Preview: Cincinnati and Ft. Worth battled all year in the wild wild West in the American League as the Cats won the division by only two games over the Knights and the Salmonbellies. Ft. Worth and Cincinnati were the top two home teams in the AL and the Knights were the 2nd best road team.

The two teams were ranked one-two for team batting average and team ERA with the Cats having a slight advantage on the pitching side and the Knights having a large advantage in home runs (232-100)

The two teams split the season series 7 games to 7 games.

Game #1: Back and forth game. The Cats go up 2-0 behind RBI doubles by Pete Runnels and Keith Hernandez, but then Monte Irvin tied the game with a 2-run blast in the top of the 5th. Ft. Worth went back in front when Moises Alou singled home Hernandez in the bottom of the 6th, but the Knights Ted Williams tied the game again with an RBI double in the 7th. The two teams stayed tied into extra innings where Lee May walked it off for the Cats with a pinch-hit home run.

Final Score: Cats 4, Knights 3

Game #2: Scoreless game until one out in the top of the 4th when Ival Goodman tripled home Sal Bando for Cincinnati. However, the Knights couldn’t get Goodman home as he was thrown out on a fielder’s choice for the 2nd out of the inning. One inning later the Knights were able to get to Ft. Worth starter Justin Verlander on an RBI single by Joe Sewell followed by a two-run homer by Ted Williams. Verlander left after giving up a lead-off walk to Ray Grimes, who later came around to score and Cincinnati was in control 5-0. Ft. Worth made it a game in the bottom of the 6th. Peewee Butts singled home two to give the hometown crowd some hope and they got really excited after an RBI double by Willie Keeler made it a one-run game. Insurance runs in the 8th and 9th off a homerun by Grimes and an RBI triple by Sewell preserved the victory.

Final Score: Knights 7, Cats 4

Game #3: Home run Baker hammered a two-run shot with one out in the top of the 2nd and Cincinnati quickly tied the game with single runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings on an RBI single by Lou Whitaker and Grimes. Ken Singleton put Ft. Worth in front for good with a 2 run homer of his own in the 6th a couple of insurance runs and a strong bullpen put the Cats up two games to one in the ALCS.

Final Score: Cats 6, Knights 2

Game #4: The Cats won game four easily behind 14 hits including 5 doubles thanks in part to another strong pitching performance by Jim Kaat and two relievers.

Final Score: Cats 7, Knights 1

Game #5: With their backs against the wall, Cincinnati struck first in the bottom of the first with RBI hits by Bill Freehand and Sal Bando to go up 2-0. A run-scoring error and a single by Keeler tied the game in the 6th for the Cats, but a double by Ted Williams in the bottom of 6th gave back the lead to Cincinnati for good and the Knight’s bullpen shut the door on the Ft. Worth bats to stay alive going back to Cowtown for game 6.

Final Score: Knights 3, Cats 2

Game #6: The Cats scored first on a triple by Keeler in the first and the Knights tied the game in the 4th off a hit by Ray Grimes, “The runners take their lead … he cranks and fires … line drive base hit … right field WILLIAMS ’41 scores … tie game … PENCE ’11 fields the ball … FREEHAN ’67’s around third they’re waving FREEHAN ’67 in here comes the throw home … here’s the play at the plate … and he’s … out!…just missed getting in … go to town, CATS! they cut off the go-ahead run!” Both starting pitchers battled keeping the game tied at 1 as they both pitch 9 and a third. We went to extra innings again and hometown Cats provided more theatrics in the 10th. Butts lead off with a double and one out later Keith Hernandez walked the game and the series off with a pinch-hit single.

Final Score: Cats 2, Knights 1

Series Summary: The Cats go to the LEG World Series courtesy of two walk-off wins by Lee May and Keith Hernandez and two strong starts by ALCS MVP, Greg Maddux, who went 1-0 with a 1.76 ERA in 15.1 innings pitched.