The Montreal Metros have swept the Boston Brawlers in the LL Elimination Round, advancing to the Lake League Championship Series in a stunning reversal of a similar match-up between the two rivals last season.
Metros hurler Lou Bricknell, the star of a Game 2 shutout, earned the Series MVP honors, his second career playoff MVP award.
Bricknell, who had pitched 6.2 innings of a no-decision loss to Boston on the second last day of the regular season, was in fine form last Saturday as he put in 8 innings, allowing just a trio of hits and a pair of walks while he dismissed five Boston hitters on strikeouts, as Montreal won 2-0.
The 29-year-old from Sydney, Australia, was stellar in retiring all but five of the 29 batters he faced. Joe Niceley earned a save in the effort, and would follow that up with a win in Game 3 after coming in to pitch a hit-less five innings of relief in a 4-2 extra-innings win to seal the series with a sweep.
Compared to the pitcher battles of Games 2 and 3, the opening game was a scorefest, with Montreal on the better end of the 10-6 match. Danny Tirado had the win for the Metros, despite giving up all six runs, including 3 Boston home runs. But the Brawlers big hits weren’t enough as the Metros outscored them without resorting to more than one long ball. The bottom of the Metros order -Blair Caldwell, Dan Jackman and Damiam Auty – combined for 4 hits, 2 walks, 3 runs and 6 RBIs, including Auty’s 2-out double with two runners on base, in the 2nd inning, which helped cut Boston’s 4-0 lead to 4-3.
The Brawlers, who had the better of a far stronger Montreal in last year’s LL Elimination Round, with Judson Martel in the rotation at that time, had a slight edge according to pundits going into this year’s series. Martel, who now plays for Montreal, was not even a factor this year as he was injured back in early August. Boston’s DH/C, Bill Ross, went yard twice in Game 1, and was joined by C Nick Charles who batted a third homer, but for the rest of the series the Brawlers were unable to find the fences.
Montreal will now play the winner of the Rimouski-Ohio series, which the Fighting Moose currently lead 2-1.