Playoff pairings set after wild finish to 2014 season

It took a 161-game season and several days into November, but we’ve finally locked down the five teams that will challenge postseason favorite Chatfield for the 2014 I-75 League crown.

Margaritaville defeated Michigan 10-1 in a Game 161 blowout to secure the third wild-card position, spoiling the Moneyballers’ bid for a postseason berth in just their third season.

West Division champions Chatfield (106-54) and North Division champion South Grand Prairie (87-73) earned the top two seeds and first-round byes. The Warriors had to take 3 out of 5 from Destin in their final series to clinch the division title outright, and that’s exactly what they did.

South Grand Prairie will await the winner of an unusual first-round series that has the sixth-seeded Volcanoes with the better regular-season record (85-76) than the third-seeded team they play, Savannah (83-77). As South Division champion, Savannah gets the home-field advantage.

Chatfield will watch while fourth-seeded Bismarck (86-74) tangles with playoff newcomer and fifth-seeded Iowa (85-75), which makes the playoffs in its third season in the league.

Final records and playoff matchups are tentative, pending a review of final statistics by the Rules Enforcement Committee. That review is under way.

In addition to Michigan’s heartbreak, Springfield is the other club bemoaning its fate, missing the playoffs despite an 82-win season and second-place finish in the South. The Isotopes went into the month tied with Savannah with 71 wins, but an 0-5 mark in a head-to-head showdown with the Scorpions proved fatal to their playoff chances.

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