Mitch's Sports Report: Spartans Win 4th Straight NAC Baseball Title; Capitals Force Game 7

May 9, 2017

The Castleton Spartans baseball team is celebrating its fourth straight North Atlantic Conference Championship title after defeated New England College twice tat Spartan Field yesterday. The Spartans took the opening game 9-3, and held on 7-6 for the clinching victory in game two behind starter Steven Jurkiewicz and and a save by closer Michael LaBeau.

The Washington Capitals may be on the verge of flipping a script that's never featured a fairy tale ending. A week ago the Caps looked primed for yet another early round playoff exit, down three games to one to the Pittsburgh Penguins, on the brink of another year racking up more points than any team in the regular season only to watch as some other team hoisted the Lord Stanley's Cup in the playoffs.

But the Caps staved off elimination at home in game five, and did so again last night in Pittsburgh, winning 5-2 to set up a winner-take-all game seven back in D.C. for the right to head to the eastern conference finals. Now, this could be just another cruel tease for a fan base that's never experienced the joy of a Stanley Cup championship, but at least the Capitals have given themselves and their long-suffering fans a chance to find out, and re-write a too-familiar ending.

Andre Burakovsky scored twice for the Caps last night and Nicklas Backstrom tallied as well in a game the Caps led wire to wire, and now it's Penguins fans squirming and wondering how their stranglehold lead on this series could be so quickly loosened. Sidney Crosby has been back on the ice for games five and six after suffering a concussion due to a nasty crosscheck from Washington's Matt Niskanen in game three. Oddly enough, the Penguins won game four without Crosby and have lost the next two with the world's best player back on the ice, perhaps an indication that Crosby is not completely recovered from that hit. Either way, this series is going to what could be an epic game seven and history very much favors the Penguins. The two teams have played three game sevens in the playoffs and Pittsburgh has won all of them, but the Capitals have the momentum now and its the Penguins who may be holding their sticks a bit tighter and playing with some trepidation when they take to the ice in Washington Wednesday night.  

To Major League Baseball, and you'd think the NY Yankees might be vulnerable having played a 6-hour, 18-inning game they won against the Cubs Sunday night, a game that didn't end until the wee hours of Monday morning, then having to head out to Cincinnati to face the Reds, but the lack of sleep didn't seem to phase the Yankees. They beat the Reds 10-4 last night behind Masahiro Tanaka, who won his fifth straight start and got plenty of help on offense from Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday home runs.

The Yankees have now won six in a row and sport the best record in baseball at 21-9, and to make matters worse for those of us who like the Yankees about as much as a canker sore, they've got Gary Sanchez back in the line-up. The rookie sensation from last season who almost single handedly kept the Bronx Bombers alive in the A.L. east before they fell just short of the playoffs has been on the disabled list for most of this season, but had a run scoring single last night to add to a one through nine that already features the newest rookie phenom in man-mountain Aaron Judge, who was given the night off, because even 6'7", 280 pound home run machines who lead the league in round trippers get tired after playing 18 innings.

The Boston Red Sox got plenty of rest, being idle last night, so they'll have no excuses when they take on the Milwaukee Brewers in an interleague match up of their own tonight. It's been a few years now since the Brewers made the switch to the National League, but it still seems weird to me. I always think of the Brew Crew as an A.L. squad.

The NY Mets have been dealing with challenges from injuries to stars Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes, to a three-game suspension the team handed out to pitcher Matt Harvey for failing to show up for a game he wasn't scheduled to pitch. But somehow the Mets are managing to win games amid the controversy, and they chalked up another W with a come from behind 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants last night when Neil Walker hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. The Mets fought back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 when Buster Posey took starter Jacob De Grom deep in the 6th. But Curtis Granderson doubled to tie the game to set up Walker's heroics and the Mets have won seven of their last 10 after a six-game losing skid.

The Toronto Blue Jays are still in the basement of the A.L. east after a brutal start to the season, but they've won two in a row now after beating the Cleveland Indians 4-2 last night, and if you get a chance, check out the incredible catch made by Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar in the 6th inning, diving on the warning track to strand runners on second and third. Trust me, you need to see this:

Not a whole lot of drama in the western conference basketball playoffs where the Golden State Warriors are concerned. They completed a four game sweep of the Utah Jazz with a 121-95 win last night, making it back to back sweeps to open the playoffs for Steph Curry and company, who also broomed away the Portland Trail Blazers in round one.

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