The Freeport University Rum Runners, based in the Bahamas, has won the inaugural season of the Can-Am College league’s World Series.
The Rum Runners, winners of the International Schools Conference title, were squared against the Independent Schools Conference champions, the Assiniboine University Rivermen, from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The two best Can-Am college teams had their championship showdown in a best-of-three series, which Freeport U immediately took commanding control of in game 1, this past Monday, May 8, by winning in a lopsided 7-0 shutout. The Rum Runners were on the board early with a 2-out solo banger by Roy Phillips, who would end the day 2-for-5.
Righty Albert Hernandez was stellar, as he threw 86 pitches – 44 for strikes – and gave very little to Assiniboine batters to hit with, completing 6.0 shutout innings and only giving up 3 hits and 4 walks on the day. Hernandez got bullpen help from lefties James Delman, and John Kerry, who held the shutout to the end, combining to allow just one more hit and walk.
Rivermen pitcher Mike Benson was also in fine form, only stumbling once to give up the first inning home run to Phillips, but otherwise pitching a gem of a game for 6.0 innings, striking out 9 and walking just one. The Rivermen bullpen failed to keep the game close, and their bats never got going and could offer no support.
The Rivermen fought back in game 2, first tying the game 1-1 in the 5th inning, then teeing up 4 runs in the 8th, a 3-run shot by Franklin Gonzales, after Steve Banks singled Martin Gillespie home from second. Rivermen would win 5-4, after reliever Larry Beals nearly blew the save after giving up a no-out three-run shot to Willie Lara. Rghty Russ Geldart was then called in to cool down the Rum Runners rally and finish the game.
With the series tied at 1-1, the table was set for a big showdown yesterday in game 3. Once again, it looked like Assiniboine’s game to lose, as they pulled ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th, with Gerardo Rivera blowing the save for Freeport U’s Jim Rollin. Then, in the top of the 9th, Russ Geldart blew his second save of the playoffs, giving up a game-tying RBI double to Jorge Magdaleno.
The game went into extras, and Assiniboine blinked first, as Nick Williamson gave up two runs on 3 hits in the top of the 11th. The Rivermen tried to fight back, but could only muster one run in answer. Rum Runners took the game 4-3, winning the series 2-1.