There will be a new American Association champion
The Milkmen fall short in their repeat bid after losing 5-0 to the RedHawks in a one game wild card playoff.
Fargo-Moorhead had been playing inspired baseball over the past month to put themselves into postseason position. In this game, they played a great game all around from the offense, defense, and their left handed pitcher Matt Tomshaw was dominate.
What once was a promising season for the local cream city nine ends in sudden fashion.
Milkmen vs RedHawks recap
Things began on a promising note for Milwaukee. After two outs in the top of the first, the Milkmen saw runners on first and second via the walk. But the threat would end as Mikey Reynolds grounded out stranding the runners.
David Holmberg was given the nod in the elimination game, even though in a previous start in July against Fargo-Moorhead he was roughed for seven runs on seven hits. The hope was that after a dominate 2020 postseason he be able to repeat a quality performance.
The RedHawks offense was ready. FM strung together three consecutive hits to make it 1-0. The first out came on a fielders choice but that also scored a run to make it 2-0. Two more hits, another run, and manager Anthony Barone had no choice but to turn to Myles Smith out of the bullpen. While it most likely was the plan to piggy back the pitcher of the year Smith off of Holmberg in the elimination game, the scheme most likely did not involve it happening before the end of the first inning.
A couple of more hits by the RedHawks, and the Milwaukee was down by five runs before the third out was recorded.
Smith was valiant for his part pitching 4.2 innings and striking out 7. The rest of the Milwaukee bullpen also strung together three shutout innings.
Nothing doing against Tomshaw
In the end, the game came down to that dubious first inning as the RedHawks ace was at another level of pitching. The Milkmen offense for 7.2 innings was left frustrated as they struck out five times and could only muster three hits. The defense also played a key role as any hope to get the ball in play and rally often found a RedHawk defensive player.
Pitcher Ryan Flores came in to hold the lead, and the game ended with a Reynolds groundout from short to first, sealing the win and ending Milwaukee’s repeat bid.
Tough end, great season
In the end, the story is about how good the RedHawks were. They led the league in offense production as a team and were in the top two of pitching and defense. They certainly are a team that can win the title. First, they will need to advance past Chicago in the division series.
For the Milkmen, their season is done. As disappointing as the finish was, there is much to take pride in.
Repeating as champions is difficult to do, and their is a reason why it does not happen often. The champions came into the season with a target on their back. The Milkmen responded with 59 victories, two-all stars, and several gutsy come from behind wins.
Thanks for some great baseball, Milkmen!
While we do not know what this core will look like in the season to come, it is good to take a moment to appreciate what this group as accomplished in three season. In 2019, the teams first season, they only won 38 times. In the following season, they built a strong team that had the best record and took the title in five games.
While this past season fell short of the ultimate goal, Adam Brett Walker, Myles Smith, and company gave us a lot of reasons to cheer. While the staff at Franklin Field have created a great family friendly culture for fun baseball, a winning culture is here as well.
We can look forward to some more great independent baseball starting next spring!
Heads up Boys. Hell of a run.
— Bo Vine (@BoVineMKE) September 9, 2021
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Numbers courtesy of Pointstreak.com & the American Association.