Rock League Baseball (Milwaukee) 18+ Division
Beavers 7, Mudhens 2
‘Milwaukee Beavers’ 24-4 Season Ends with Repeat Title at The Rock’
Submitted by Justin Barkhurst, Beavers co-manager
Last season the Milwaukee Beavers, managed by Rob Tschimperle, snapped a three-year second place streak by winning their first championship in franchise history with a 14-6 win in game three. It turned out that winning the last game of the season is more fun than not doing so, and a repeat was on the minds of the players all year.
The Beavers ran roughshod through the first half of their 2015 schedule. After a 6-5 pre-Rock League season win over the Kewaskum A’s of the Rock River League, Milwaukee won their first seven RLB games by an average of 6.7 runs. Two 11th inning wins in a row happened versus the Warriors and Snappers, and with a few more victories the Beavs rolled into July with a 14-0 record. The bid for a perfect season was lost after a 10-6 loss to the NL-leading Tigers, but we rebounded with a 10-6 victory versus the Irish the following night.
The only other goal the Beavers had this season was winning the Wisconsin Amateur Baseball Classic in West Bend, a 24-team tournament featuring some of the best teams in the Midwest. Milwaukee led off pool play with two convincing wins over the Rubicon Red Sox and Monches Irish. One more victory over the talented West Allis Nationals (also 2-0) was needed to advance into the championship round. The Nationals slipped by the Beavers 3-2 in one of the better ballgames played all year, and went on to lose to Pewaukee in the finals.
The Beavers went on to win their American League Division for the third straight time with a 16-2 regular season record and clinched the #1 playoff seed and a 1st & 2nd round bye. After beating the Muskies 4-1 in round three, the Beavers advanced to the best-of-three ALCS vs. the #2 seed Irish, for the third straight year. Beaver pitching held the long-time rivals to four runs in a two-game sweep by scores of 9-0 and 6-4. Over in the NLCS, the #2 seed Mudhens outlasted the #1 Tigers 9-8 in game three of their tight series.
The Mudhens were 16-6 in the RLB coming into the series and hadn’t faced the Beavers since last season. In game one the Hens scored first but the Beavers starter Alex Rejniak didn’t allow a run over the next seven innings. The Beavers took a 2-1 lead into the top of the ninth when an error loaded the bases for the Mudhens with no outs. Rejniak struck out the next two hitters, but a 2-out/2-strike double cleared the bases and the Hens took the first one 4-2. In game two Milwaukee starter Joey Hodkiewicz pitched a shutout and the offense batted around in the sixth to break up a scoreless tie and put up a seven spot. The Beavers forced game three with a 9-0 win.
The Hens scored one in the first inning in the title game while the Beavs responded with a 4-run rally in the third. The Hens cut the lead in half in the sixth and had runners on second and third with one out. Rejniak came in from the pen to relieve starter Josh Smith and struck out the next two batters to escape with a 4-2 lead. Milwaukee ran with that momentum and scored three runs of their own to extend the lead to 7-2. Three more scoreless innings from Rejniak sealed the deal and for the second straight year, a pile-up on the mound is the way it ends – two consecutive Rock League Baseball titles!