HOUSEofDAVID CHAMPION: 3 YEARS IN THE MAKING
Lake Road Park - September 27, 2018 - 10:52pm
It took the House two games to finally get past the power hitters that carried the Rockies (4-1) through to the 2018 finals. After losing game 1 by the narrow score of 4-3 in favour of the visiting team, the House (4-1) was looking for payback in this do-or-die double elimination final game.
"Failure is not an option guys… GO HOUSE!" catcher Francis Normandeau screamed at the start of the game to motivate his troops. It ended up being his motto throughout the game, keeping the Rockies' fast legs on their heels throughout the game. "This guy is like a pimped-up blue collar, he comes in to work early, does the job 110% and is the last guy to leave… it's amazing" jokingly said left-fielder Josh Jagodnick.
The House plated 3 runs in their first at bat to give their star pitcher, Charles Dusseault, an early lead. The Rockies retaliated in the bottom of the second frame, tying the game up at three-a-piece. But the Southpaw - who ended the game with 16 strikeouts - was in full control of his breaking pitches as the game progressed. It proved too much to handle for the Rockies lineup. The Black and Red added to their lead and never looked back with two, big, 5-run innings; in the 4th and 6th. En route to a 15-7 victory. "When Skippy told me i was hittin' clean-up instead o' ma regular 3-spot, it caught me by surprise at first, I'll be honest. But lemme tell ya something, the job don't change... you gotta hit that round ball square" said Ohio-native John Nezri.
With this win, the 3 year-old franchise captured its first ever Classic Championship. We had a chance to speak with House of David Manager Mica B. Simon: "When this journey began in 2016, we had a purpose and that was to have fun and ALWAYS ALWAYS remain a student of the game, that was important for us. By the start of our sophomore season, our goal slowly shifted towards something more competitive: reaching the finals and nothing less. This season, we've allowed ourselves to dream to win it all… And we did!… It's a great feeling!"
Not usually known for its offensive prowess, the Black & Red manufactured 15 runs in the win. Combining their trademark, aggressive base-running with long quality at bats, from the 1 to 9 spot; it proved to be the solution for run production. "Communication between the dugout, base-coaches and the runners was on point from beginning to end" added first baseman Patrick Keating who scored 4 runs and stole 2 bags in the contest.
A total of 9 players were left on base in both games. The House addressed the situation from game 1 and made major adjustments in their lineup in preparation for game 2. "Because we were home on Sunday and the crowd was on our side, we opted for a top-heavy lineup but it didn't produce the flow we expected. For game 2 we stretched and balanced the batting order; moving Justin Abrams to the leadoff spot and Mica B. Simon filling the 7-spot, we also split-up our power hitters Francis Normandeau and Julien Deschamps who combined for 22 strikeouts during the regular season… These two adjustments were a big factor in keeping innings alive, we nearly doubled the amount of baserunners in game 2." swiftly analyzed team Co-Cap Bern.s Cohen.
Mica B. Simon added: "A major adjustment was made to our roster in the final tier. Towards the end of the season,we really thought we had a shot at reaching the finals. We decided to prematurely call-up our top 3 prospects: Max Dayan Justin Abrams and Josh Jagodnick from our AAA club in Mont Tremblant." They ended up being the missing piece to this gigantic puzzle. This move added speed in the outfield which resulted in 11 defensive runs saved in the postseason according to Statcast. This trio made key outs, most of them, inning-ending, defensive plays.
Season MVP: Catcher - Francis Normandeau
Playoffs MVP: Pitcher - Charles Dusseault
Finals MVP: Secondaseman - John Nezri