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Bulls take home Masters' Title in Inaugural Season

Posted: November 14, 2019 by Dan Field | Leave Comment

2019 MSBL Masters Champions - Bistro 781 Bulls

The Metro Red Sox would fall one game short in their quest for the franchise's second three-peat and 11th overall title as the Bistro 781 Bulls go on to defeat the defending champions 2-1 in the best of three championship series, becoming the first team to win the MSBL Masters' Title in their inaugural season. The Bulls would take home the 2019 championship hardware after producing a nearly unbeaten 6-1 record in the playoffs, where they would bat .318 as a team, average 9.6 hits per game and belt a pair of home runs. Their postseason triumph would be due in no small part to the Bulls' 3-4-5 hitters made up of Johnny Hayes, Tim Hart and Steve Busby, as the trio would combine to hit .428 (27 for 63) with 19 RBIs; and pitcher Jon Tenney, who would assemble a 4-0 record on the hill with a 1.42 ERA.

In their inaugural regular-season campaign, the Bulls would put together a record of 13-7, joining the Gigantes, Milton Breakers and Metro Red Sox in a 4-way tie for second place. Sitting at 5-7 with a month left in the regular season, the Red Sox would actually find themselves at risk of missing the postseason for the first time in their 17-year history, however, the 10-time champions would pull off an eight-game win streak to close out the season, forcing the first 4-way tie in Masters' division history. Mike Powers, the division's commissioner, would have to break open the rule book and run through all of the tie-breaker scenarios in order to determine the playoff seedings between the four teams. Before long, the final seedings would be set and the 2019 postseason in the Masters' division would begin.

In the opening round of the 2019 postseason, the Bulls, recipients of the No. 4 seed, would edge the No. 5 seeded Gigantes in two games (7-4, 5-4), quickly moving on to do battle with the top-seeded Somerville Alibrandis in the semi-finals. Somerville would own a 19-3 overall record heading into their semi-finals' matchup with the Bulls, after earning a bye in the first round and then sweeping the No. 8 seeded Saugus Sea Dogs (2-1, 19-6) in round two. The Bulls would meet Somerville twice in the regular season and end up on the losing side in both of those contests, however, the underdogs would flip the script in the postseason, defeating Somerville in both games of their series by scores of 9-3 and 3-1. Robert Austin and Jon Tenney would hold Somerville to a .225 batting average in the series, helping the Bulls punch their ticket to the Masters' Finals where they would eagerly await their opponent.

Meanwhile, the No. 3 seeded Red Sox would extend their winning streak to ten games after shutting out the No. 6 seeded Avi Nelson Rockies in both games (5-0, 3-0) of their opening round series. They would quickly advance to the semi-finals to face the No. 2 seeded Milton Breakers in a 2018 Finals rematch, and for the second straight series, the Red Sox would shut out their opponent in both games (7-0, 3-0). The two-man pitching crew, consisting of Sam Steed and Andres Conde, would combine to go 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA in the first two rounds, helping the Red Sox extend their winning streak to fourteen games and more importantly, reach the Finals for the third consecutive season.

The 2019 Masters' Championship Series would come down to the No. 4 seeded Bistro 781 Bulls and the No. 3 seeded Metro Red Sox. The Red Sox would look to become the first Masters' franchise to pull off the 3-peat twice, while the Bulls would look to become the first expansion team to win the title in their first season. The two teams would share some familiarity with one another, not only because the two squads would cross paths twice in the regular season, but more so because the Bulls' roster would include several members of the 2018 Red Sox championship team. Another familiarity would be the 6-0 postseason record each team would carry into the 2019 Championship series and the apparent fact that neither team would be ready to give up their first postseason loss.

Game 1 would get off to a quick start with three different lead changes taking place in the first five innings, although the game would end up tied 4-4 after five full innings. For the next two innings, the scoring would come to a halt and the game would enter extra innings, however due to the field curfew, the game would have to be suspended after 9 innings with the score remaining 4-4. The two teams would have to wait an entire week to resume the suspended game, with Game 2 scheduled to begin immediately following the conclusion of Game 1. One week later, they would finally resume play and in the top of the 10th inning, the Bulls would push across what would turn out to be the game winning run, giving them the Game 1 victory by a score of 5-4. This would be the Red Sox' first loss in nearly two months, putting an end to their 14-game winning streak. In a do-or-die Game 2, the Red Sox would put up four runs right out of the gate, taking an early 4-0 lead in the 1st inning. The pesky Bulls' team would not go away easily and after five innings, the Red Sox' lead would be cut to just one run. However, an insurance run in the 6th would end up being the winning run for the Red Sox in the 6-5 victory, despite a valiant effort by the Bulls to pull off the comeback. Doug Spofford and Mark Moise would combine to go 6-7 (.857) for the Red Sox in Game 2. With the series tied 1-1, it would all come down to the deciding Game 3 and in this game, it would be the Bulls jumping out to the early lead, scoring three runs in the 1st off the Red Sox' ace Sam Steed. This would turn out to be all the Bulls would need as Jon Tenney (6 IP, 4H, 3 K's, 0.00 ERA) would not allow a run in his six innings of work. The Bulls would tack on an insurance run in the 7th and pitcher Tim Troup would close out the game, helping his team secure the 2019 Masters Championship in their inaugural season.

Congratulations to the Bistro 781 Bulls on winning the 2019 Masters' Championship and to the runner-up Metro Red Sox on a fine season!