Goats Knock off Shore

The Garden State Galactic Goats, appearing in the playoffs for the first time, advanced to the GABL Championship after a 4-1 series win over in-state rival Jersey Shore. After splitting in North Jersey, the Goats took three straight in South Jersey, including a dramatic come-from-behind win in the clinching game 5.

As I am sure Chris will attest, Garden State got all the dice rolls this series, especially in the improbable 9th inning of game 5. Details are below. Chris has all the stats on his machine and he will send them off later tonight.

GAME 1 GOATS 7, SHORE 3 W - Lowe, L - Ortiz HR - none The Goats scored four times in the first inning to give a cushion to Derek Lowe, who pitched 8 innings, allowing 5 hits, no walks and 8 strikeouts. Garret Anderson had 4 RBI. The Shore got RBI hits from Catalonotto, Criag Wilson and Richard Hidalgo.

GAME 2 SHORE 7, GOATS 2 W - Garland, L - Glavine HR - Burrell-2, Wilson, Guillen, Edmonds Tom Glavine game up two solo homers to Pat Burrell. Garland gave up a solo shot to Edmonds. With Jersey up 2-1, Tony Soprano pulled Glavine from the game with the Shore's lefty-killers coming up. The move back-fired as Jersey went wild against Darren Holmes, scoring 5 runs in the 6th inning to put the game out of reach with a two-run homer by Wilson and a three-run blast by Carlos Guillen.

GAME 3 GOATS 11, SHORE 6 W - Pineiro, L - Karsay, S - Witasick HR - Edmonds, Anderson, Boone The Goats scored 6 in the 3rd inning, but the Shore battled back to 6-5 on Boone's 2-run homer in the 5th. Edmonds added a two-run shot in the 6th and Anderson delivered the knockout punch with a 3-run homer in the 8th. The Shore rallied to load the bases in the 9th, but Witasick got the last two outs for the save.

GAME 4 GOATS 5, SHORE 3 W - Lowe, L - Ortiz, S - Groom HR - Edmonds, Thome, Anderson Lowe had a no-hitter going and a 1-0 lead in the 4th inning when Chris Thomas jinxed him. Beltran singled and stole second, bringing up Thome. I ignored Dave O's advice and pitched to Thome with first base open and he made me pay with a 2-run homer. The Goats came back, though, with two runs in the 6th inning and single scores in the 7th and 8th. The 9th inning got a little hairy as the Shore loaded the bases, but Buddy Groom pitched out of the jam to earn a two-inning save.

GAME 5 GOATS 7, SHORE 5 W - Holmes, L - Kim, S - Groom HR - none The Shore was sitting pretty with a 4-1 lead through seven innings. The Goats managed a single run in the 8th inning, but B.H. Kim recorded two strikeouts to get out of a 2-on, 1-out jam -- preserving a 4-2 lead. The 9th started off ominously for the Shore as Bret Boone uncharacteristically booted an Alex Ochoa grounder. Ochoa moved to second on a passed ball, bringing up Shore nemesis Jim Edmonds, who walked.

I don't have the play by play here, but I believe Bellhorn walked to load the bases and a run scored on a Garret Anderson ground out, to make it 4-3. Then it all fell apart for Kim. Matt Franco blasted a 2-run double to make it 5-4 Goats. Mike Redmond added a two-run single to make it 7-4. The series looked to be in the bag.

In the bottom of the 9th, though, the Shore loaded the bases off Chris Hammond with no one out. Good bye, Hammond. Hello, Groom. A Carlos Beltran sac fly made it 7-5, runners on the corners and one out. Groom then forced a double play ball off the bat of Bret Boone to end the game and send the Goats to the Championship Series to face the winner of Independence and Texas.

Congrats to Chris Thomas and the Shore on a fine season. His lineup was enough to scare the bejesus out of me. I was lucky enough to face Thome in a lot of bases-empty situations and, like I said, the dice managed to find the empty spots on the Jersey hitters' cards.