FARMINGTON — This year’s Connie Mack World Series was loaded with crazy twists and turns. It became pointless to even project what’d happen next as the tournament gradually reached its end.
Stunning game conclusions and upsets. A red hot start and ice cold end, and vice versa. A first-timer going deep into the tournament. Giant leads blown. Rising from the lowest depths to the absolute pinnacle.
It ran the gamut, and that’s what made it such a memorable CMWS tournament.
Let’s start with the Farmington Fuel.
Historically, the local team would be lucky to even win a game. But this team did, beating the Colton Nighthawks in walk-off fashion on Monday.
Although they eventually lost two nights later, it was a huge moment for the program (and the city) to improve its nationwide perception of where Farmington-area baseball stands compared to other regions.
Next came the Southern California Renegades. After plowing through pool play and the first two games of the championship bracket, SoCal applied constant pressure on opponents and seemingly couldn’t be stopped.
They were well on track to win it all.
Then, all of of sudden, their bats were dead silent. After scoring zero runs in back-to-back games, their departure in Friday’s semifinals came as swiftly as their start to the tournament itself.
It was baffling.
Then there’s Lamorinda, a true underdog story. In its first-ever CMWS appearance, Lamorinda stunned the Midland Redskins to start championship bracket play.
Lamorinda then beat SoCal on Friday to secure a spot in Saturday’s championship series round, defying ridiculously improbable odds.
However, Lamorinda blew an 8-1 lead against D-BAT and lost 11-10.
Dreams of potentially winning a championship quickly spiraled into a nightmarish reality that afternoon. It was difficult to witness Lamorinda unravel like that because they reached something widely viewed as unreachable.
What they accomplished is beyond inspiring.
And of course, there’s the defending champion Midland Redskins repeating as CMWS champions.
When it lost to Lamorinda to start championship bracket play, Midland’s back-to-back title hopes plummeted.
It won its first elimination game, and then the next one. But during each elimination game, they held on for dear life on the cliff looking down below, aware they could fall off at any time.
Then Lane Flamm catapulted Midland upward with a two-run walk-off home run against the Dallas Tigers. From there, Midland crushed D-BAT in Friday’s semifinals and later beat them again in Saturday’s finals.
The way this year’s CMWS turned out was certainly unorthodox.
Better to be wacky than have the same old thing, though.
That’s what made 2018 special in its own right.
Redskins pull ahead after Zade Richardson's 3-run home run Saturday at Ricketts Park, winning 15th title in program history. Matt Hollinshead/The Daily Times
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for The Farmington Daily Tmes. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.