09/17/2007 8:45 AM -
Gary, IN — Willie Glen allowed just three hits and one run in a complete game performance as the Gary SouthShore RailCats defeated the Calgary Vipers 5-1 to win the 2007 Northern League Championship on Sunday afternoon at U. S. Steel Yard in Gary. A crowd of 1,747 attended the contest, which was the fifth and deciding game of the best-of-five league championship series.
Glen struck out 10 and walked six while improving his record in the 2007 post-season to 4-0 and his RailCats career playoff record to 8-0.
The RailCats built a 3-0 lead in the third inning. With one out, Nate Price singled to center, stole second, and went to third on an error. Eric McNamee walked. Dave Detienne followed with a single to center to drive in Price and make it 1-0. Three batters later, Steve Haake singled to center to drive in both McNamee and Detienne to give Glen all the runs he would need.
Calgary scored its lone run in the fifth when Buddy Morales singled, went to second on a sacrifice, to third on a base hit to center by Manubu Kuramochi, and scored on the same play when Jermaine Allensworth mishandled the base hit to make it 3-1. But with the tying runs on base, Glen struck out Carlos Duncan to end the inning.
Gary added two more runs in the eighth on a pair of RBI singles by Allensworth and Tanner Townsend to make it 5-1.
In the ninth, Glen walked the first two hitters in the inning but then struck out Morales, got Jorge Tang to fly to left on a nice running catch by Nate Price, and got Kuramochi to ground to the mound to end the game.
It was the second championship in three years for the RailCats, who became just the second team in independent Northern League history to go to the league championship series in three straight years and win the title twice during that period.
Amazingly, the RailCats are 15-1 in elimination games under manager Greg Tagert over the 2005-’07 season (games when a loss would either end their season or mathematically eliminate them from post-season play). All 15 wins are at home with the only loss on the road (at Fargo-Moorhead in game four of the 2006 Northern League Championship Series. The RailCats came back from two-games-to-one deficits in both the South Division playoffs against Winnipeg and the Championship Series vs. Calgary.
Glen allowed just three earned runs in 33 innings over his four playoffs starts this season after throwing 17 scoreless innings in the post-season in 2006.
It was a tough loss for a solid Calgary ballclub that pulled to within one win of a title on Friday night with a 14 inning 4-3 win, but the RailCats allowed only three runs combined over games four and five of the series.