(GAME DATE — Oct. 7, 2020) — Two stunning upsets have marked the LL Elimination Round, the first series of the 2020 Bull League postseason. The wildcard Toronto Nomads have pulled off an unlikely sweep of the Minneapolis Ravens, who were the LL West division champs, while the Chicago Pit Bulls have muscled the Boston Brawlers who had held sway over the LL East since the beginning of the year.
The Ravens had been a favorite for a repeat Bull Cup championship appearance going into this year’s playoffs. They were second in the LL in run scoring, hitting the 1000 runs mark, beating their record-setting 2019 number by 51 more runs.
Ravens pitching had been equally excellent. Besides having the third-lowest runs against, they shutout opponents in 12 games to top the league, and allowed the fewest bases on balls among LL opponents.
Amazingly, Toronto found just enough offense to keep ahead of the stronger Ravens bats. Catcher Kurt Kopitzke, a mid-season fill in after the injury to Trey Sarazin, hit a timely 2-run shot in the top of the 9th in game 1, breaking a 2-2 deadlock. Bronson Jamieson homered early in game 2, and Rich Dillon hit a bases clearing triple as part of a 4-run top of the 9th that saw the Nomds come back from a 7-4 deficit, and win 8-3. In game 3, Dillon came up big again with a 2-run shot in the 6th, combining with a solo shot by Adam Russillo, as the Nomads pieced 6 runs together and allowed just 1, claiming the series. Dillon was named series MVP.
The Chicago series was also exciting, as these two rivals from 1991 (the teams had faced each other in the inaugural Bull Cup championship then) battled it out. Boston handily took game 1 with an Angel Payan home run swinging the game in Boston’s favor in the 3rd inning. The the Pit Bulls bats broke out in game 2, as Chicago outscored Boston 7-1 on homes from Mike Strang and John Rambo to even the series. Rambo had been hit twice by pitches earlier in the game. In game 3, Rambo homered again, together with Jon Guillot and Justin Kelly. The coup de grace was a 12-6 blow-out win for Chicago in game 4, featuring a 3rd Rambo home run, sealing his series MVP nod.
Wild cards Toronto and Chicago will now face each other for the LLCS which starts soon.