Chicago Midwest Suburban MABL, Central League
Chicago River Bandits 9, Lake Zurich Knights 7
’20 Win Season Best in Team History’
Submitted by Tristan Hunt
The Chicago River Bandits finished its 2018 Chicago Midwest Suburban League Central League regular season with a 20-2 season record, which is the best record recorded in their franchise history dating back since 1996. The River Bandits entered the MSL playoffs as a #1 Seed. The Bandits got a first round bye and faced the 16-6 Elgin Dirtbags in the semi-finials. That series ended with the Bandits winning two games to one, which ended in a dramatic ninth inning come from behind victory by scoring seven runs to win the series. The River Bandits then faced the 20-2 Lake Zurich Knights in the MSL central league finals.
In game one, MSL Central league Cy Young Winner Brannan Baker pitched all nine innings, striking out 12 batters, allowing only six hits and giving up only two earned runs in the River Bandit’s victory over the Knights. Tristan Hunt, Matt Enright and Eric Solis all each had two hits, which help win game one 7 to 3.
In game two, the River Bandits took an early four run lead, but the Knights came back to tie it up in fourth inning. Matt Bronstein and Jerome Merritt both had three hits apiece but the Bandits left 14 base runners on base and could only tac on one more run, ending the game 7-5 in favor of the Knights.
The final game in the best of three series became an epic pitching showdown once again between River Bandits CY Young winner Brannan Baker and Knights ace starter Chris Barth, who hasn’t lost a game all season. Brannan Baker notched a complete game victory, striking out eight and allowing only five earned runs over the Knights. Rookie Mike Kallay had three hits and Matt Enright tagged three hits as well, as Matt’s RBI double in the bottom of the eighth gave the Bandits the lead and victory over the Knights 9 to 7. That victory marks the sixth league Championship in Bandits history.