Epic comeback nets World Series title for Warriors

Down 3-0 to heavy favorite and top-seeded Chatfield, the South Grand Prairie Warriors pulled off a comeback for the ages, storming back to win four consecutive games, including a Game 7 thriller, to win the 2014 I-75 League World Series.

Surrounded by division and world championship plaques and the league trophy, Garth Lewis celebrates his third World Series in Warrior franchise history.

Three-time World Series champion Garth Lewis.

Three-time World Series champion Garth Lewis.

After emerging from a season-long dogfight just to win the Northern Division, the Warriors hit their stride in the postseason and notched their third I-75 League World Championship, following similar conquests in 2006 (over Littleton) and 2007 (Margaritaville).

“Winning three World Series titles in 10 years is an honor,” said South Grand Prairie skipper Garth Lewis. “All three series were down to the wire against two of the top Strat minds in the country (John McMillan and Phil Roselli). Having the opportunity to be in this league has been a blast and something I’m really happy I’ve been able to do.”

Roselli’s Chatfield Choo-Choos had entered the postseason as a heavy favorite after a 106-win season that saw them capture the South Division by 21 games. So jumping out to a 3-0 lead was no surprise.

The turning point game in the third inning of Game Four, with SGP trailing 4-1. Suddenly the Warriors reeled off eight runs and marched on to an 11-6 victory. That was followed by 7-3 and 8-3 victories that set up a Game 7 in Chatfield.

Down 3-0 in the third, Ian Desmond smacked a grand slam on a HR 1-3, flyout the rest chance that put SGP in front. Chatfield tied it 4-4 in the sixth with the aid of a two-base outfield error by Carlos Gomez, but Gomez atoned with an RBI single in the eighth for the Warriors that put them in front 5-4.

South Grand Prairie then survived a bases-loaded opportunity for Chatfield in the eighth, and a second-and-third opportunity in the ninth, with Darren O’Day retiring Troy Tulowitzki on a popup to end the game, series and season.

“This was one of the easier teams to manage in all my years of Strat,” Garth said. “I had very few lineup alterations to make through the season and we never went into a deep enough slump to shake things up.”

Meanwhile, it was a disappointing finish for Chatfield in a season that saw the Choo-Choos dominate the regular season, leading the league in hits, runs, batting average and wins. They had swept Iowa 4-0 in their semifinal series.

Chatfield met a similar fate in 2012, losing in the World Series after a 123-win regular season, but the ever-gracious Roselli vowed to dismantle his franchise and come back stronger than ever. “It was an epic and well-played series,” Phil wrote. “Congratulations Garth on your third championship! For the Choo-Choos it’s back to the drawing board to try to figure out how to turn regular-season success into WS titles.”

South Grand Prairie had earned its way into the finals after beating division rival Margaritaville in an equally-epic seven-game thriller. SGP notched a one-run victory in the rubber game in that series as well. Max Scherzer started and won Games 1, 4 and 7 for the Warriors.

In first-round series, Margaritaville had beaten Savannah in seven games and Iowa had knocked out Bismarck in five games.

3 Responses

  1. […] The David Wright-led 2013 Volcanoes rolled to a division title and the league’s best record at 109-51, only to fall to the Bushwood Gophers in extra innings of Game Seven, leaving the Volcanoes in search of their first World Series crown. It wouldn’t come in 2014, as an 84-76 mark was good enough to make the playoffs but not enough to make the finals, when South Grand Prairie infamously came back from a 3-0 series deficit to defeat Chatfield for the crown. […]

  2. […] It was a bittersweet outcome for Chatfield, which lost a 3-1 series lead one year after watching a 3-0 series lead go down the drain to South Grand Prairie. […]

  3. […] celebrated his third World Series crown in 10 years in 2014. He’s shown here surrounded by the trophy and 2014 plaques for his North Division […]

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