SERIES PREVIEW – Both teams are looking to advance to the LCS for the second time in franchise history. Tops in MWBL Fremont struggled against the 3rd best AL team Southbend during the season, losing 8 of 12 against the Lynx. Fremont brings the top offense to bear, but Southbend is no slouch at third on the AL, and recently added superstar Juan Soto atop the lineup. Fremont also tops the AL in pitching, with Southbend finishing 5th; however, a short series comes down to having the best pitchers, not the most good pitchers. Fremont has the edge in starters on the strength the #2s on both staffs; otherwise, #1 and #3 are pretty similar. In the bullpen, Southbend can throw out one of the best relievers this season in Drew Steckenrider, who converted 52 of 53 save chances. Fremont has better bullpen depth, however, if a lot of innings are required. Fremont holds the edge in fielding percentage at .982 compared to .979 for Southbend.

GAME #1 – Freddy Peralta 20-6 (2.79) vs. Walker Buehler 15-1 (2.43)

In a matchup of staff aces, neither starter would figure into the decision. Fremont gets the scoring started in the second inning with a Teoscar Hernandez solo homerun. Eduardo Escobar leads off with a triple in the third, but Southbend is unable to bring him home. In the fourth inning, Kyle Tucker launches a solo HR and toes it up at 1-1.

Carlos Correa breaks the tie in the eighth with a solo HR to put Fremont on top 2-1. Fremont brings on Drew Pomeranz to face the lefties of Southbend in the 9th. With two outs, Jose Altuve doubles, and Abraham Almonte is brought on as a pinch-hitter. After losing the platoon advantage, Ryan Tepera is brought on to get the final out. Almonte grounds it down the line for a run-scoring double to tie it up. After a walk, Tepera is finally able to end the inning. The Cannons go 1-2-3 in the ninth to send it to extra innings.

Neither side is able to do anything in the 10th, but Max Muncy gets a hold of one in the top of the 11th off of Giovanny Gallegos for a homerun and a 3-2 lead. Southbend brings on the dominant Steckenrider, but Shohei Ohtani leads off with a double. Vlad Guerrero Jr. walked, and then a Manuel Margot sacrifice advanced the runners. After an intentional walk to Byron Buxton loads the bases, Steckenrider strikes out the final two batters to steal one in Fremont, 3-2 for the Lynx in 11. Teoscar Hernandez went 3-5 with a double and a homer in the loss.

HR: SBL- Kyle Tucker, Max Muncy; FRE- Teoscar Hernandez, Carlos Correa

SBL 3 – FRE 2 (11 Innings)
Win: Adam Cimber 1-0 (0.00)
Loss: Giovanny Gallegos 0-1 (9.00)
Save: Drew Steckenrider #1

GAME #2 – Carlos E. Hernandez 10-5 (3.68) vs. Carlos Rodon 18-1 (1.84)

Fremont strikes first again, as a single, HBP, and groundout put runners on second and third in the bottom of the first. A Teoscar Hernandez sac fly brings in a run to make it 1-0 Fremont. In the 2nd, Elias Diaz and Mike Yastrzemski hit back-to-back doubles, then Yoan Moncada homers to make it 4-0 for the Cannons. Fremont gets two on with no outs in the 3rd, but fails to score.

Southbend finally gets to Rodon in the fourth, as Max Muncy scores off of a wild pitch to make it 4-1. In the fifth, a Yoan Moncada double and Vladimir Guerrero Jr single gives Fremont a 5-1 cushion. In the seventh, Southbend puts two on and Bo Bichette blasts one deep, but Teoscar Hernandez is able to rob him of the homerun. In the eighth, Max Muncy makes an ill-advised attempt to stretch out a single, and is cut down at second by Teoscar Hernandez.

Garrett Whitlock is brought on in the ninth to finish off the Lynx. Southbend gets runners on second and third, but Whitlock gets Soto to fly out to end the game in a 5-1 Fremont victory.
Fremont evens the series at 1-1. Yoan Moncada went 3-4 with a double and a homer.

HR: SBL- None; FRE- Yoan Moncada

FRE 5 – SBL 1
Win: Carlos Rodon 1-0 (1.50)
Loss: Carlos E. Hernandez 0-1 (10.38)

GAME #3 – Sandy Alcantara 16-4 (3.00) vs. Tanner Houck 7-2 (3.33)

As before, Fremont starts the scoring, this time in the 2nd. A double, walk and wild pitch put runners on second and third, and a Javier Baez groundout brings in one. Elias Diaz follows up with a double, and it is 2-0 Fremont. Alcantara’s control deserts him as he walks the first two Lynx batters in the 3rd, but Southbend is unable to score.

In the 3rd, Max Muncy eats a HBP for the second time in the series, is advanced by a groundout, then moves to third on a wild pitch. Mark Canha walks, so Fremont goes to Danny Duffy in relief. Eduardo Escobar doubles, then Austin Wynns singles to put Southbend on top 3-2. Soto walks, but Giovanny Gallegos is able to strike out Bo Bichette to end the inning.

In the top of the 5th, Fremont ties it with an Elias Diaz double followed by a Carlos Correa double after Houck is pulled. Max Muncy answers in the bottom of the 5th with a solo HR and SBL is back on top 4-3.
Muncy is at it again in the eighth with a leadoff double. Altuve gets out, Fremont goes with a lefty, and again Abraham Almonte pinch-hits for Austin Meadows. This time, he merely walks. A goundout puts runners on second and third with two outs. Fremont calls on Tejay Antone, who is able to strike out Eduardo Escobar to end the threat.

Southbend brings on their man Steckenrider to close out the Cannons. With two outs, pinch-hitter Jason Castro walks. Jace Peterson is brought on to pinch-run, then Austin Hays is brought in to pinch-hit for Manuel Margot. Peterson steals second off of the strong-armed Austin Wynns. Austin Hays then doubles off the wall, tying it up at 4-4 and proving Steckenrider mortal. Drew still gets out Carlos Correa to end the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, Juan Soto walked and stole second, but Kyle Tucker fouled out to end the threat. Going to extras, Southbend brings on Matt Barnes to conserve Steckenrider. Shohei Ohtani greets him with a leadoff double in the 10th. Barnes wants nothing to do with Byron Buxton and walks him intentionally. With two outs, Teoscar Hernandez is able to double them home for a 6-4 Fremont lead. Barnes gets Joshua Rojas to strike out to end the threat.

Ryan Tepera is brought on to close it out for Fremont. Tepera wasn’t able to get it done in the first game of the series, and gives up a leadoff single in the bottom of the tenth. Jose Altuve grounds into a double play, and Abraham Almonte strikes out for the Fremont 6-4 victory in 10.

HR: FRE- None; SBL- Max Muncy

FRE 6 – SBL 4 (10 Innings)
Win: Tejay Antone 1-0 (4.91)
Loss: Matt Barnes 0-1 (7.71)
Save: Ryan Tepera #1

GAME #4 – Walker Buehler 15-1 (2.43) vs. Freddy Peralta 20-6 (2.79)

The teams have split the even matchups, and Fremont won game 2 as expected. Southbend needs to win game 3 to keep it out of Rodon’s hands to close out the series in game 5. Fremont strikes first again, with the speed of Shohei Ohtani and Byron Buxton resulting in infield singles. A Carlos Correa blooper down the line brings them home for a 2-0 Fremont lead. In the bottom of the 1st, Juan Soto singles then Bo Bichette also singles for his first hit of the series. A double play moves Soto to third, but Buehler gets Mighty Max Muncy to ground out.

Teoscar Hernandez leads off the 2nd with a double but doesn’t score. A Jose Altuve double and Austin Meadows walk puts runners on for Southbend in the bottom of the inning, but another double play helps to keep the Lynx scoreless. With two outs in the bottom of the third, Bo Bichette collects his second hit of the series (maybe he’s warming up?) and is brought home by a Kyle Tucker double to make it 2-1. Muncy has another chance to bring in a run but grounds out again. Southbend gets the first two batters on in the 4th but are unable to push anybody across.

In the 5th, Mike Yastrzemski gets aboard on an Eduardo Escobar error. Yoan Moncada advances him to third with a double, then Shohei Ohtani walks, loading the bases for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Guerrero had been scuffling, but lines a three-run triple over third to make it 5-1 Fremont. Byron Buxton doubles, and it’s now 6-1. Freddy Peralta is pulled after 4.2 IP.

A Javier Baez error in the bottom of the fifth helps set up a Kyle Tucker sac fly to make it 6-2. With one out and no one on in the sixth, Mike Yastrzemski smashes one to center field, but is thrown out at third by Juan Soto. Tyler Duffy walks the next two batters but the Cannons are unable to score. Teoscar Hernandez brings home a run in the seventh with a sac fly, then a Max Muncy 2-run HR in the bottom of the inning brings it to make it 7-4.

Two Fremont errors in the bottom of the eighth puts runners on second and third with one out. Cam Gallagher grounds out but brings in a run to make it 7-5. Juan Soto walks, which brings up Bo Bichette to the plate as the tying run. Tejay Antone comes on and gets Bichette out to end the threat. Carlos Correa adds a solo homer for insurance in the ninth to make it 8-5. Muncy gets on base with a walk, but Drew Pomeranz is brought in for the final out and gets Austin Meadows to strike out.

Fremont wins 8-5 and takes a 3-1 series lead. Carlos Correa went 3-4 with a double and a homer.

HR: FRE- Carlos Correa, SBL- Max Muncy

FRE 8 – SBL 5
Win: Walker Buehler 1-0 (2.13)
Loss: Freddy Peralta 0-1(4.91)
Save: Drew Pomeranz #1

GAME #5 – Carlos Rodon 18-1 (1.84) vs. Carlos E. Hernandez 10-5 (3.68)

Southbend faces a tough matchup to try to stave off elimination. As with all games in the series thus far, Fremont struck first. In the top of the 1st, Fremont gets a single and a walk to put two on. However, Yoan Moncada is caught napping and Austin Wynns picks him off. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is then HBP, and Carlos Correa walks, and the Cannons have the bases loaded. Teoscar Hernandez flies out to bring the first run across the plate. Javier Baez then takes a rare walk, and Byron Buxton brings two in with a single to start it off 3-0.

Juan Soto isn’t ready to give up, so he leads off the bottom of the 1st with a homerun to make it 3-1. Austin Meadows then homers in the second to bring it to 3-2 as the two lefties see some success against Rodon. The Lynx get two more on base but don’t bring them home. In the 3rd, Teoscar Hernandez singles then moves to second on a wild pitch. After an intentional walk to Buxton, Elias Diaz rips one down the right field line to score two and make it 5-2 Fremont.

Southbend manager Brian Devine is done with Carlos E. Hernandez after 3.0 IP, bringing in Matt Barnes. It doesn’t get any better, as a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3-run HR makes it 8-2 Cannons. In the sixth, the Lynx try to claw back. A Kyle Tucker walk sets up Max Muncy’s 4th homer of the series to cut it to 8-4.

Three walks in the seventh fill the bases for the Cannons, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s single makes it 10-4 Fremont. Southbend never threatens the Cannons bullpen, and Fremont wins the game 10-4 and the series 4-1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 2-4 with a homer and 5 RBI.

HR: FRE- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.; SBL- Juan Soto, Max Muncy, Austin Meadows

FRE 10 – SBL 4
Win: Carlos Rodon 2-0 (3.75)
Loss: Carlos E. Hernandez 0-2 (12.27)

SERIES SUMMARY – Fremont wins the series four games to one. It’s all about who shows up in the playoffs. Soto did his job for SBL getting on base (.520 OBP, 1.020 OPS), but Bichette (2 for 23) and Kyle Tucker (3 for 20) provided very little following him in the order. If not for Series MVP Max Muncy’s fine series (4 HR, 1.765 OPS), it could have been even worse. Fremont found balance in their hitting, with 5 regular players with an OPS of .900 or greater. Teoscar Hernandez finished with an OPS of 1.212 and had some clutch huts and key defensive plays for Fremont. Byron Buxton was walked intentionally 3 times in 5 games. The triple slash tells the tale here: Fremont .260/.354/.492 for an OPS of .845 compared to Southbend’s .205/.295/.392 for an OPS of .687. Fremont also scored first in every game in the series.

WEDNESDAY 07/26/2023
AT 11:59 PM - ET!