World Series S24: Burlington Bison face off against the New Britain Bombers

The New Britain Bombers, who finished the season with 104 wins, looked to set the world record with 5 World Series titles in a face off against the Burlington Bison. The Bison, who only won 91 games in the regular season, appeared in the series for the first time in franchise history.

Game 1: O.T. Ferrara vs George Crandall, at New Britain
A game that looked like a pitching duel through the first six innings would quickly shift into a high scoring affair from which the Bombers would emerge with the win. In a 3-3 game, Burlington would bring in their regular closer, All-star pitcher Fernando Baez, in the 7th inning to try to stop the Bomber's offense. However, the move backfired and Baez would give up back to back homers to Vin Mondesi and Trent Erickson, the first one a 3 run blast.  The Bison's shortstop Bronson Murata provided the bulk of the offense for the losing team with a 2 run homerun.

Notable Performances:
Vin Mondesi, DH, 2-4, 2 R, 2HR, 4 RBI (Player of the Game)
Trent Erickson, RF, 2-4, 1 R, 1HR, 1 RBI
Rob Cox, CF, 2-3, 1 R, 1 BB
John Yashian, 3B, 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1BB, 1 RBI

Final Score: Burlington Bison 4, New Britain Bombers 8
New Britain leads the series 1-0

Game 2: Scott Hellickson vs Ezdra Ramirez, at New Britain
New Britain jumped to an early lead on a leadoff homerun by CF Rob Cox. After Brian Ramirez tied it with a solo shot in the 2nd, a 2 Run HR by John Yashian  and an RBI single by Cox made it 4-1 New Britain. The Bison once again tied it, this time on a 2-R inside the park homerun by SS Bronson Murata. The game entered the 9th inning with the Bison leading 6-4. A homerun by Cesar Rincon chased  Brent Duncan , who had entered the game in relief. Closer Fernando Baez once again faltered, and was unable to hold the 1 run lead, giving up a walk to  Rob Cox  and a 2 Run walk-off homerun to Chris Tobin . For the Bison,  Brian Ramirez  hit 2 home runs.

Notable Performances:
Chris Tobin, 1-3, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 RBI ; walkoff game winning 2 R HR (Player of the Game)
Rob Cox, CF, 2-3, 2 R, 2H, 1BB, 1HR, 2 RBI
John Yashian,  3B, 1-4, 1R, 2 RBI

Final Score: Burlington Bison 6, New Britain Bombers 7
New Britain leads the series 2-0

Game 3: Tom Snelling vs Mike Sexton, at Burlington
New Britain assertively showed their offensive superiority, bombing their way throughout the game and starting with a first inning pummeling of Burlington starting pitcher Mike Sexton. Sexton gave up 6 earned runs and did not record a single out. New Britain's Snelling pitched effectively to earn the win.

The Bison's Brent Duncan, making his second consecutive relief appearance, pitched 9 innings in the blowout game, David Lee and Tyrone Fasano got 2 hits each and Fasano stole a base.

Notable Performances:
Rob Bailes, SS, 2-4, 1 R, 3 RBI (Player of the Game)
John Yashian, 3B, 1-4, 1R, 3 RBI
Trent Erickson, RF, 2-4, 1R, 1 RBI

Final Score: New Britain Bombers 10, Burlington Bison 2
New Britain leads the series 3-0

Game 4: George Crandall vs Fernando Baez, at Burlington
In a controversial move after a depleted pitching staff that got pummeled by the Bombers, Burlington started Fernando Baez.  Baez had made three spot starts early in the season, but was the team's primary closer and the only All-Star pitcher for the Bison. Despite blowing the save on a 2-run homerun in game 2 and pitching horribly in game 1 (4 runs, 2 homeruns in 1 1/3 innings), the move to start worked out well for the Bison. Baez pitched 6 shutout innings before handing it over to the bullpen for the 1-0 win. Burlington's only run came in an unusual way. Catcher  Matty Sosa, who has 2 career stolen bases in 5 ML seasons, stole second base and scored from second on a single by shortstop Bronson Murata. The game was an old fashion pitching duel to the end, with only 3 hits by each team.

New Britain's biggest threat came in the 6th inning, but silver slugger RF Trent Erickson hit into a double play to end the inning. Lefty Carlos Tavarez earned the save for Burlington.

Notable Performances:
Fernando Baez, SP, 6IP, (W), 0R, 0ER, 2H, 4BB (Player of the Game)

Final Score: New Britain Bombers 0, Burlington Bison 1
New Britain leads the series 3-1

Game 5: Ezdra Ramirez vs Scott Hellickson, at Burlington
Still playing for their lives with the series trailing 3-1 and facing All-Star Ezdra Ramirez, the Bison took an early 2-0 lead behind Scott Hellickson's 5 scoreless innings. However, the Bison bullpen gave up the lead. Burlington veteran starter OT Ferrara appeared in relief in a 3-3 game and gave up a run on a single by Don Hasegawa, and the game entered the bottom of the 9th with the Bison trailing 4-3.

Following a walk, an infield hit by Tyrone Fasano and a short bloop single by David Lee, New Britain's Julian Almanza got two quick outs against the heart of the lineup. Pete DeJean struck out swinging and Brian Ramirez popped out to left without allowing the runner to advance. With two outs,  Ivan Pescado hit a bloop single to center field, and Fasano  scored from second on a close play at the plate for the walk-off win at home.  Don Hasegawa got two hits and homered for the Bombers.

Notable Performances:
Ivan Pescado, 1B, 4-5, 2 RBI, 1R walkoff game winning RBI (Player of the Game)
Brian Ramirez, 2B, 2-5, 2RBI, 1 R, 1HR
Tyrone Fasano, CF, 1-3, 2R, 2BB, 2SB
Scott Hellickson, SP, 5IP, (ND), 0R, 0ER, 2H, 1BB, 7K

Final Score: New Britain Bombers 4, Burlington Bison 5
New Britain leads the series 3-2

Game 6: Mike Sexton vs Tom Snelling, at New Britain
Trying to ride the momentum of the Game 5 win at home, the Burlington Bison started off strong with consecutive doubles by  David Lee and  Pete DeJean  to get the 1-0 lead.

After a shelling in the previous start, Mike Sexton gave up the lead on a Don Hasegawa  home run in the first inning, but settled down and allowed no more runs over six innings. Matty Sosa, serving as the Bison's DH, hit a solo homerun in the 4th and a double by DeJean in the 5th drove in Rodrigo Vargas  to give the Bison a 3-1 lead. New Britain scored again in the 7th, but the Burlington bullpen held off to win the game 3-2. John Yashian got two hits for the Bombers and Hasegawa homered.

Notable performances:
Mike Sexton, SP, 6 IP, (W), 1 R, 1ER, 3 H, 2BB, 5K (Player of the Game)
Pete DeJean, LF, 2-4, 2 RBI
Rodrigo Vargas, RF, 2-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SB

Final Score: Burlington Bison 3, New Britain 2
Burlington ties the series at 3-3.

Game 7: O.T. Ferrara vs George Crandall, at New Britain
Rookie speedster CF Tyrone Fasano led off the game with a single, stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundball to third in a close play at the plate for Burlington's first run. Brian Ramirez hit a solo homerun to give the Bison a 2-0 lead, but New Britain tied it in the 7th with a homerun by Chris Tobin. In the 8th, with one out and runners on first and third, Tyrone Fasano hit a groundball to first. 1B Chris Tobin turned to short for the doubleplay, getting the first out, but Fasano beat the throw and allowed the runner at third to score on the fielder's choice, which would prove to be the winning run of the game.  Brent Duncan pitched two scoreless innings in relief to give the Bison their first World Series title.
Trent Erickson and Chris Tobin had two hits each for the Bombers.

Notable performances:
OT Ferrara, SP, 7 IP, (W), 2 R, 2ER, 6H, 1BB, 8K (Player of the Game)
Tyrone Fasano, CF, 2-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 RBI, 1 SB
Brian Ramirez, 2B, 1-3,1 R, 2BB, 1 RBI, 1 HR

Final Score: Burlington Bison 3, New Britain 2
Burlington wins the World Series.

After the series win, Burlington manager made a few comments. "We knew that the Bombers were the superior team. After the 3-0 series lead, we didn't put much hope in winning, but Baez' start was a turning point for us. He struggled in the first two appearances in relief, but we knew he has the stuff to pitch. David Lee had a tough series against his former team, but he contributed in key spots. We also knew that the performance of our left handed pitching - Ferrara, Duncan, Tavarez and Webb - would be key to the outcome of the series after losing Reames and Velazquez to injuries".

Injuries to the top winning starter pitchers for the Bison (Brooks Reames, 13-3, 2.98 ERA and Yovani Velazquez, 12-7, 3.36 ERA) kept them both off the roster for the World Series, and rookie pitchers Anthony Narveson and Rick Giles took their spots but did not appear in the World Series. "The off days gave us some flexibility in who we threw out there, but after the shellacking in Game 3 and the high scoring first two games, it was looking pretty ugly and the bullpen just looked... tired. Brent Duncan ate a lot of innings to spare the short relief guys and do the matchups in key situations."

"Fasano was a key addition late in the season. He was doing really well in AAA, and it was only when Gant went down with an injury that we called him up, stuck him as our leadoff man and immediately improved our offense, defense and sped up our game. The whole team contributed to win this series - Matty stealing second, Ramirez had a big bat, Fasano brought the energy, and few of our guys gave us some quality starts. Brent (Duncan) was sort of the glue that kept us in games, coming out of the bullpen every time we needed him. This was a team effort".

"I tip my hat to the Bombers for a great series as they are a great, classy organization".

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