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Mitch's Sports Report: A Combined 176-Year Stretch Of Title Futility Will End Tonight In Cleveland

I told you this thing was going seven. Well, initially, I picked the Cubs in five, but once Chicago forced the series back to Cleveland by staving off elimination at Wrigley Field, I had no doubts that the Cubs would win game six and turn this Fall Classic into a single elimination winner take all showdown, and that's what we've got now after Chicago's resounding 9-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians last night.

Look at it this way. These two franchises have a total combined drought of 176 years between world series championships. Of course they're pushing this series to its most extreme length to see which one finally slakes the thirst.

In game six last night, it was all Cubbies, and really the only game in this series so far in which we've seen the Cubs offense come alive and play like they did in the regular season when they won 103 games. The big blow was an Addison Russell grand slam in the third inning off Josh Tomlin, one of three home runs on the night for Chicago. The Indians had a chance to get back in it, down 7-1 in the fourth, when they loaded the bases with two outs but Cubs ace Jake Arrieta struck out Tyler Naquin to end the threat.

So it comes down to tonight's match up between Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, the winner of games one and four in this series, and the pride of Dartmouth College, Kyle Hendricks, who led the league with the lowest earned run average of any starter this season and will probably win the National League Cy Young award. It just doesn't get any better than this in baseball. One of these beleaguered franchises, both of which, by the way, have never won a world series game seven, will have to win this time. The Indians haven't been able to lay claim to world's best baseball team since 1948. You have to go forty years further back than that to find newspaper clippings of the last time the Cubbies could say it. Game seven, tonight in Cleveland. Place your bets. My money's on the team from the North side of Chicago.

To the NHL, and once again goaltender Tuukka Rask stole a game for the Boston Bruins, making 33 saves in Boston's 2-1 win over Panthers in Florida last night. Rask his been in net for all of the Bruins five wins this season, and in their four losses with back-up goalies standing in for Tuukka, the Bruins were out-scored by a 14-4 margin. They still aren't generating much offense, but Rask has been so good that even the two goals they eked out last night, the first on a penalty shot by Brad Marchand, and the second on a short-handed goal from a bad angle by Dominic Moore that just barely crossed the goal line, were enough for a win. The Bruins continue their Florida road trip tomorrow night with a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Elsewhere, the NY Rangers are hitting their stride, now 7-3 on the season after a 5-0 shutout of the St. Louis Blues last night. It was the 60th career shutout for Rangers goalie Henrki Lundqvist and the Rangers spread the offense around, with a goal and two assists by Jimmy Vesey and strikes by Dan Girardi, Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes, whose brother Jimmy plays for the Bruins and has yet to record a single point this season.

Locally in boys' high school soccer division one playoffs, here's an example of a player literally doing it all: Essex goalkeeper Paul Frederico scored the go-ahead goal in the penalty kick shoot-out round against South Burlington, then returned to the net and dove to his right to make a save that gave the Hornets a 4-3 edge in the shooutout round and a ticket to the state championship game against Burlington on Saturday.

The Seahorses had a pretty dramatic win of their own in the division one semis yesterday, topping CVU in overtime on a goal by Arun Karki, who hooked in a shot from about 25 yards out to seal the victory for Burlington. It sets up a compelling final between the top-seeded Hornets and number two Burlington, who went 16-1 this season. Essex only lost once all year as well, with a tie mixed in. The Seahorses will play hosts for the state title game.

In other soccer playoff action, girls' division three, Emma Buonanno scored two goals to lead defending champions Stowe to a 4-0 win over Peoples, booking a return trip to the state finals.

In boys' division three Ben Bristow scored in the second half to break a 1-1 tie and give Williamstown a 2-1 win over Thetford, as Williamstown moves on the state finals for the first time in program history.

In division four Proctor beat Arlington 1-0 on a goal by Joe Valerio, and in division three field hockey semi-finals Bellows Falls routed St. Johnsbury 8-0 with Molly Kelly scoring four goals for Bellows Falls.

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 WBUR...as 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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