HURRICANES WIN 2003 TITLE
The 2003 Irish baseball season, arguably the most competitive in the League's history, came down to the final day of the schedule.
Trailing by one game, the 2002 champions, the Spartans, needed a victory over the first place Hurricanes to force a one game playoff for the championship title. Jaime Cuevas, last year's MVP, took the hill for the Spartans and helped his team defeat the Hurricanes 6-1 in the first game, striking out 16 and scattering a couple of hits over seven strong innings. Although the Hurricanes took an early 1-0 lead, the Spartans amassed several timely base hits, eventually over-taking their rivals while Cuevas secured their lead with dominant pitching.
The Spartans' victory forced a one-game playoff. The Spartans jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, yet the Hurricanes bounced back in the bottom half of the inning with four runs of their own, lead by Tom Kelley's lead-off home run to left centre. Paced by starter Cormac Eklof's effective pitching, the Hurricanes stretched their lead to 7-1 by the fourth. But the Spartans refused to quit, striking for four runs with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.
Eklof's command settled the Hurricane defence and Chris Foy added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with a base hit to left. In the end, the Hurricanes outlasted the Spartans, winning by a final score of 8-5, becoming Irish National Champions for the first time.