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Mitch's Sports Report: Only The Billy Goat Curse Can Stop The Cubs Now

One of two things is happening right now with the Chicago Cubs. Either the baseball gods are signaling that the team's 108 year exodus into a barren world series-less desert is about to come to an end, or they are setting the stage for yet another epic tale of woe and sorrow marked by defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

I'm willing to bet it's the former instead of the latter, especially after last night's incredible 6-5 win over the San Francisco Giants, courtesy of a four-run 9th inning rally that eliminates the Giants and has the Cubs moving on to play for the National League pennant, a flag they haven't captured since 1945.  

Trailing 5-2 in the ninth, the Cubs exposed what has been the Giants' achilles in the latter stages of the season, a leaky bullpen. Matt Moore had been excellent for San Fran, giving up just the two runs over eight innings of work, but four relievers worked the ninth, and none of them could stanch the bleeding as the Cubs strung together a series of hits that must have felt like death by a thousand cuts to the hometown Giants crowd. A Kris Bryant single, a walk issued to Anthony Rizzo, a double by Ben Zobrist to make it 5-3. Then manager Joe Maddon countered a pitching change to bring up pinch hitter Wilson Contreras who singled and brought in the tying runs to make it a 5-5 game. The Giants still had a chance to get out of the inning and send the game to extras but short stop Brandon Crawford committed his second error of the game, this one far more costly than the first, when he threw wide of first base on a double play relay that kept the inning alive for the Cubs' Javier Baez, who singled home the eventual winning run. Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman had faltered the previous night, but he was not about to let this one get away and set down the Giants 1,2,3 in the bottom of the frame to put the finishing touch on a comeback for the ages, and the Cubs bow await the winner of the L.A. Dodgers-Washington Nationals series and maybe even the curse of a billy goat denied entrance to Wrigley Field in 1945 won't keep the Cubs team from the promised land.

As for the Dodgers and Nats, that series is knotted up at two games apiece after another classic nail biter that was decided in the ninth when Chase Utley singled home the winning run with two outs to break a 5-5 tie and keep the Dodgers from elimination in a 6-5 win. Clayton Kershaw started this one for the Dodgers, called upon by L.A. manager Dave Roberts to save the season on just three days rest and while he wasn't at 100% he still gave the Dodgers six and two thirds strong innings, only running into real trouble in the seventh when he was taken out of the game after loading the bases with the Dodgers leading 5-2. The L.A. bullpen did not inspire confidence after Kershaw left. A hit batsman and a two-run single by Daniel Murphy later tied the game at five, and it looked like Kerhsaw's heroic effort would go for naught until Utley saved the day with his two-out, walk-off single in the ninth. Now it's on to game five, a winner take all contest in Washington tomorrow night that will have fireballer Max Scherzer on the mound for the Nationals against lefty and former Red Sox starter Rich Hill for the Dodgers, as the Cubs wait in the wings, sharpening their claws. Even with my beloved Red Sox out of the picture, this baseball post-season is shaping up to be one of the most dramatic and entertaining in the game's history.

In college field hockey the St. Michael's Purple Knights have been tough as nails in virtually every game they've played this season, evidenced by the six overtime contests the team has played, marking a school record for most games needing extra time to be decided. Unfortunately, OT has not been kind to St. Mike's, and that includes yesterday's 1-0 loss to Southern New Hampshire University, which wasted no time in scoring the game winner, taking just nine seconds into the extra session for SNHU's Laura van der Doorn to put home the game winner. The Knights have lost five or the six overtime games they've played this season, and have a 4-9 overall record as a result, which does not reflect how competitive they've been in the Northeast-10 conference.

Better result for the Castleton Spartans field hockey squad, which defeated Wells College 5-0 yesterday, the team's second consecutive shut out. Sarah Wells scored twice for the Spartans, who also got goals from Mariah Linnett, Emily Lowell, and Cydney Jeffrey. Castleton still has a losing record at 6-9 this season but they've won three of their last four, including the back to back shut outs.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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