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Cards walk off with MetroWest Title in extras

Posted: September 20, 2019 by Dan Field | Leave Comment

2019 MSBL MetroWest Champions - Northborough Cardinals

In one of the most evenly matched championship series in recent history, it would only be fitting for the deciding game of the MSBL MetroWest Finals to come down to extra innings. The Framingham Orioles and Northborough Cardinals would leave it all on the field and battle until the very last out in what the Cardinals' manager Kevin Donfield described as an "epic series" between the two top seeded teams. While both teams were equally deserving of winning the series, ultimately it would be the Northborough Cardinals coming out on top, winning the deciding game in walk-off fashion and earning their first MetroWest title.

After both teams faced an early exit in the 2018 semi-finals, the Orioles and Cardinals would come into the 2019 season with a little chip on their shoulders. They would use this as a driving force behind their success as both teams would find themselves atop the MetroWest standings with matching 16-2 records at the end of the 2019 regular season. Each would be responsible for one of their opponent's two losses after splitting the regular season series.

Offensively, both teams would put up nearly identical numbers during the regular season, with at least one of the two teams sitting at the top of nearly every offensive category, most notably the Orioles' .379 team Batting Average and Cardinals' .373 team Batting Average. Both teams would have six players hit over .400 on the season. The Cardinals' offense would be led by MVP and Cy Young candidate Andrew Quinn who would take home the 2019 batting title with his .632 Batting Average. He would also go 7-0 on the hill with a league leading 0.81 ERA. The Orioles' pitching staff, led by 2018 Cy Young award winner Brian Lindsay (8-2, 2.05 ERA), would finish with a league best 1.50 ERA.

In the 2019 postseason, both the Orioles and Cardinals would sweep their opponent in the first and second round, setting up a championship series between the two top seeded teams. Both teams would enter the best of three series with a 20-2 overall record. After each team would hand the other their first loss of the 2019 postseason by splitting the first two games of the series, it would all come down to Game 3. The Orioles would jump out to an early 3-0 lead in the 1st but the Cardinals would crawl right back with three runs of their own to tie the game 3-3. In the 3rd, the Orioles would take advantage of three straight walks and load the bases for Steve Paddock who would follow with a laser beam single. The Orioles would put up four runs in the inning and take a 7-3 lead, but the resilient Cardinals would refuse to give up, slowly chipping away and eventually tying the game 8-8 in the 8th inning. The score would remain tied and the game would enter extra innings. With two outs in the bottom of the 11th, Kevin Donfield would be the hero, knocking in long-time BMBL veteran AJ Bucciarelli all the way from 1B with a line drive double over the center fielder's head, giving the Cardinals the walk off victory and their first MetroWest title.

Congratulations to the Northborough Cardinals, the 2019 MetroWest champions and to the runner-up Framingham Orioles on a great season. Kudos to the Orioles for the tremendous class and respect they showed in defeat.