In what was the most competitive OAPBA World Series in the league’s 33-year history, Jonathan Stilwell’s Otters won their third league title in seven games, topping Craig Dolan’s Tsunamis with the most unlikely World Series finish in OAPBA history.
The entire Series was closely contested. Six of the seven games were determined in the final at bat, with three walk-off wins in the first four games. Home runs, which dominated play throughout OAPBA’s regular season, were plentiful, but not necessarily the determining factor in the games, with the Otters going long 10 times to the Tsunami’s eight home runs.
The Tsunamis, down three games to two in Game Six, battled back to tie the Series with a 7-1 win, the only game of the series that did not go down to the wire.
And, in the finale, with Game Seven deadlocked at three runs apiece, a costly eighth-inning error by Tsunami Byron Buxton, led to an Otter run that proved the game-winner in a tight 4-3 win.
Game 1 Otters 6, Tsunamis 3 Otter Jose Abreu hits 3R walk-off homer to win opener
The home team Otters jumped out to an early lead when Christian Yelich homered with Trea Turner on board in the first inning. The Otters added another run in the 4th on a Freddie Freeman double. The Tsunamis came back to tie the game, however, with solo home runs by Corey Dickerson, Nolan Arenado and Anthony Rizzo in the sixth and seventh innings.
With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Mike Trout and Ketel Marte reached base and Jose Abreu, in for Freeman, homered off Tsunami reliever Will Harris to give the Otters a 6-3 walk off win and a 1-0 lead in the Series.
Tsu 3-9-0 L- Will Harris 0-1. HR Corey Dickerson #1, Nolan Arenado #1, Anthony Rizzo #1.
Otters 6-7-0 W Tyler Duffey 1-0. HR Jose Abreu #1. Christian Yelich #1.
Game 2 Otters 2, Tsunamis 1 Otters take 2-0 Series lead behind deGrom, Yates two-hitter
Game Two was dominated by Jacob deGrom, who threw eight strong innings with closer Kirby Yates finish the game to earn a save for a combined two-hitter. It was also Otter SS Trea Turner’s moment to shine, using his speed and power to record both Otter runs
The Otters struck right off the bat when Turner walked to lead off the game, stole second and third and then scored on a sacrifice fly. The Asians answered in the second when Mark Canha doubled and scored on an RBI single by Nolan Arenado.
Tsunami starter Marco Gonzales and deGrom then settled down, but in the fifth, Turner got hold of a Gonzalez fastball and homered to give the Otters a 2-1 lead, which turned out to be all that deGrom needed, as he bore down to keep the Tsunamis off the board through the eighth, before giving way to Yates to finish the game.
Tsu 1-2-0 L- Marco Gonzales. 0-1.
Otters 2-4-1 W- Jacob deGrom 1-0. Sv Kirby Yates #1. HR Trea Turner #1.
Game 3 Tsunamis 6, Otters 5 (12) Asians come from behind for extra-inning win
The action shifted to the Tsunamis home field with the Otters sending Lance Lynn to face Michael Pineda.
The Otters drew first blood when Mike Trout homered to lead off the fourth. Trout’s blast was followed by walk and three single, scoring two more runs and giving the Otters a 3-0 lead.
The Tsunamis immediately answered in the bottom of the inning when Dickerson hit his second home run of the series, with two men on base, to tie the game at three apiece.
In the seventh, with two out, the Otters strung together three walks and a single to score twice and grab a 5-2 lead. However, a clutch ninth-inning, two-out single from Tsunami CF Byron Buxton brought in two runs to tie up the game at five and force extra innings.
In the bottom of the 12th, the Tsunamis put together two doubles to win the game 6-5 and cut the Otters lead in the series to 2-1.
Byron Buxton and Corey Dickerson were the hitting stars for the Tsunamis – Buxton was 4-6 with three extra base hits while Dickerson had a crucial three run home run and an RBI double.
Otters 5-7-0 L- Tyler Duffey 1-1. HR Mike Trout #1.
Tsu 6-10-0 W- Ken Giles 1-0. HR Corey Dickerson #2.
Game 4 Tsunamis 3, Otters 2 Tsu’s tie Series at two apiece on Dickerson RBI double in ninth
The Otters took an lead on solo homers from Ketel Marte and Yasmani Grandal. In the fifth, the Asians answered with a two-run rally keyed by a double from C Mitch Garver.
The score remained deadlocked at two apiece into the bottom of the 9th, with the Asians bullpen holding the Otters hitless over the final five frames.
In the bottom of the ninth, Trevor Story For the second straight game the Asians scored in the bottom of the final inning, Trevor Story tripled and then came home on a double by Corey Dickerson to give the Tsunamis a hard-fought 3-2 win and even up the Series at two games each.
Otters 2-4-2 L- Scott Oberg 0-1. HR Ketel Marte #1, Yasmani Grandal #1.
Tsu 3-6-0 W- Ken Giles 2-0.
Game 5 Otters 3, Tsunamis 2 Otters win in ninth on Trout’s RBI triple; take 3-2 Series lead
The Tsunamis scored first in Game Five, taking a 1-0 lead when Buxton led off the game with a single and came home on a Tim Anderson double. The lead changed hands in the fourth, however, when Freddie Freeman put the Otters ahead 2-1 with a two-run HR, but Tsunami 1b Anthony Rizzo homered in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 2-2
Both bullpens held firm through the eighth, with the Otters advancing runners into scoring position in the fifth, sixth, and seventh, but failing to score.
In the ninth, Otter Ronald Acuña led off with a single and, after the next two hitters were retired, Mike Trout tripled, scoring Acuña to put the Otters in front 3-2. Otters closer Kirby Yates then finished off the Tsunamis with a three and out bottom of the ninth to earn the save and put the Otters to within a game of the 2020 OAPBA championship
Otters 3-7-0 W- Nick Wittgren 1-0. SV Kirby Yates #2. HR Freddie Freeman #!.
Tsu 2-5-2 L- Hunter Wood 0-1. HR Anthony Rizzo #2.
Game 6 Tsunamis 7, Otters 1 Otters win in ninth on Trout’s RBI triple; take 3-2 Series lead
Play now returned to the Otter’s Frank Selee Field in Oshkosh with the Tsunamis Marco Gonzales and Otters Jacob deGrom matching up for the second time in the Series.
Otter Trea Turner led off the home first with a solo HR, but the Otter lead proved short-lived.
In top of the third the Asians began a strong assault. With two runners on base, Buxton homered to give the visiting Tsunamis a 3-1 lead. Mitch Garver increased the lead to 4-1 with a homer in the fourth and Trevor Story doubled home a run in the sixth to make it 5-1 Nolan Arenado launched a bomb in the eighth putting the game out of reach in what was the first one-sided game of the Series.
The Otters left 12 on base including eight runners in scoring position. The Tsunami win set the stage for a Game Seven, to decide the 2020 OAPBA championship.
Tsu 7-11-1 W- Will Harris 1-1. HR Byron Buxton #1, Mitch Garver #1, Nolan Arenado #2.
Otters 1-6-0 L Jacob deGrom 1-1. HR Trea Turner #2.
Game 7 Otters 4, Tsunamis 3 Buxton misplay in eighth gives Otters 2020 OAPBA championship
With the Series tied at three game apiece, the Tsunamis Micheal Pineda and the Otters Lance Lynn matched up for the second time.
The Asians drew first blood, scoring a pair of runs in the third on three singles and a sac fly. Otter Ronald Acuña quickly got a run back with a homer in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to 2-1.
In the fifth Tsunami CF Byron Buxton singled, stole second and scored on a single by Luis Arraez to build the Tsunami lead to 3-1, where it remained until the seventh, when longtime Otter reliable Freddie Freeman got hold of a Will Harris offering to make it 3-2 in favor of the Asians.
In the next bottom of the eighth the Otters Yasmani Grandal doubled and Ketel Marte singled home Manny Machado, running for Grandal, to tie the game at 3-3.
What then followed is a play that will live in OAPBA all-time lore. With two-out and Marte aboard, Mike Trout lifted a fly ball to center field….and Buxton misplayed it, enabling Marte to come around and score, putting the Otters in front 4-3.
The Otter then once again trotted out their ace closer Kirby Yates, who retired the Tsunamis to give the Otters the win and 2020 championship.
Tsu 3-9-1 L- Ryan Pressly 0-1.
Otters 4-8-0 W- Aaron Bummer 1-0. Sv Kirby Yates #3. HR Ronald Acuña, Freddie Freeman #2.