The Morden Mohawks and Winkler Whips will meet in the semi finals, if they make it through Killarney and Pilot Mound, respectively. (THOMAS FRIESEN, Winkler Times)
The records for the 2018 Border Baseball League regular season have been written.
Now, it’s time to throw them out the window.
The playoffs start Friday, June 13, with all eight teams opening best-of-five series.
“It’s been a really good year,” said league president Darren Russell. “The competitiveness of our league has been really good overall.”
Russell says the atmosphere at games will change come Friday.
“Everything is intensified,” he said. “Four teams are going to have their seasons end in the next two weeks.”
“When the playoffs come around, there’s a do-or-die nature to the games.”
Regular season records tell a story, but certainly not a complete one.
The Morden Mohawks took the top spot, and face the last-place Killarney Lakers.
“Killarney struggled throughout the season... but (Morden) lost two of their last five games,” said Russell.
“Killarney has Andrew Lochhead who throws for them. He’s probably going to throw three of the five games for them, and he throws tough.”
Lochhead pitched 43 innings this season, more than anyone in the league. He only gave up 19 earned runs, and struck out 29, tied for second-most in the league.
The Mohawks are still a clear favourite to take the series.
“Morden’s just an extremely deep lineup.,” said Russell. “There’s no such things as an easy out with Morden.”
“Morden is one team in our league that just does not beat themselves. They’re so structurally sound.”
The Winkler Whips and Pilot Mound Pilots met in the final game of the season. Already set to face each other in the first round, the game was for home-field advantage in the series.
Pilot Mound edged Winkler 4-2, and will host games one and three, as well as game five if necessary. Each series will shift ballparks for every game.
The matchup features the league’s highest-scoring offence in the Whips, who plated 120 in 14 games. They face the stingiest defence in the Pilots, who only allowed 72 runs.
After tying their first meeting, and separated by only half a game on the year, there’s not much to go on by way of prediction.
It’s a good thing the games aren’t played on paper.
Russell says game one is very important in a playoff series.
“If you lose the first game of the series, you’ve got to win three of four games.”
The Carman Cardinals fell to the seventh seed after dropping their last six games. Their last win, however, came against the Cartwright Twins.
The Twins have been rolling, winning their last six in a row.
Carman might have found just the matchup they need entering their first playoff series.
“If you look at the season series, Carman won both games,” said Russell. “They know they can beat them. That’s going to be a heck of a series.”
The Mohawks will host Killarney on Friday, while the Cardinals heads to Cartwright, and the Whips head back to Pilot Mound.
Carman and Winkler will return home for game two, with dates and times to be announced.
“Enjoy it,” said Russell. This is the real fun time of the year.”
“Very rarely do you have series’ like these where there aren’t some upsets.”