In a World Series that was so close that it took seven games and then three extra innings to decide, the Bushwood Gophers won a Game 7 for the ages by a 4-3 score over the Margaritaville Volcanoes to claim the club’s second I-75 Mail League championship in four years and sixth overall in the 34-year franchise history.
After splitting the first six games that featured multiple lead changes, momentum swings and excitement galore, the two evenly matched clubs embarked on a Game 7 that will certainly go down as the most excruciating ever played in the long SOM careers of opposing managers Dave Renbarger and John McMillan.
For the visiting Gophers, Game 7 ended in elation, when franchise player Albert Pujols doubled home Alex Rios from first base in the 12th inning with the winning run after Bushwood had executed several Houdini-like escapes throughout the late going.
From innings 9 through 12, Margaritaville was one roll away from the title on nine different occasions with a runner in scoring position, but failed to bring him home all nine times.
For the Volcanoes, playing in their third World Series in club history, it was the most bitter of all pills to swallow. In both of his previous Series trips, Doc Grid’s team lost in seven games (in 2007 vs. SGP and in 2011 vs. Hickory). This Game 7 loss, however, featured 16 runners left on base overall, including seven in the last four innings. From innings 9 through 12, Margaritaville was one roll away from the title on nine different occasions with a runner in scoring position, but failed to bring him home all nine times. One of those runners was cut down at the plate by an eyelash in the 11th.
“I know it’s a cliché, but neither team deserved to lose that Series,” said Renbarger in the champagne-soaked Gophers clubhouse. “That seventh game was a real meat-grinder, and I have to admit that the Gophers were lucky to it. But we’ll take it.”
“We certainly had more than enough chances,” said McMillan. “Stranding all those runners in Game 7 was bizarre and frustrating, to say the least.”