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Superstar Baseball (SSB) WBC 2018 Event Report
Updated November 26, 2018
33 Players Jack Beckman 2018 Status 2019 Status Event History
2017-18 Champion & Laurels

Beckman Repeats As Champion

In the second year of the expanded draft format, the finalist teams saw four champions, two pennant winners, one division winner, and even a wild card. Five finalists from 2017 advanced to this year's playoffs along with two newcomers and another past laurelist. Overall, 33 managers ran over 110 games for a chance to advance to the playoff rounds using the same format that has been in place for over five years: three heat winners and runners-up plus two wild cards based on an overall tournament record.

The quarterfinals demonstrated that even though this is a dice game, there's still more to it than luck, as the more experienced manager of each pairing came out on top. Top seed and Heat 1 winner Doug Galullo returned to the playoffs with the 2016 Champion Cubs. He faced Heat 2 runner-up and overall defending tournament champion Jack Beckman's 1984 Champion Tigers, in a manner of speaking a rematch of last year's semifinal, this time with John Lackey hosting Jack Morris. Galullo gave Lackey the early hook in the 5th inning after showing signs of tiring, only for reliever Mike Montgomery to give up a leadoff walk to Kirk Gibson. Following a stolen base and an error, Chet Lemon squeezed Gibson home to break a 1-1 tie. The Tigers tacked on insurance runs with a pair of two-run homers from Lance Parrish in the 6th and 8th for the 5-1 upset. An elder Lackey fared better for Heat2 winner Harry Flawd's 2013 Champion Red Sox, taking on Mike Flanagan of Heat 3 runner-up Michael Polcen's 1979 AL Pennant Orioles. Lackey settled down following a one-out triple to Eddie Murray in the top of the 1st, and retired the next fifteen batters and 23 of the next 25. Leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury went 2-for-4 scoring two runs while David Ross singled in the final run in the 8th, giving three-time tournament winner Flawd a 3-0 shutout.

In the "James" playoff, Heat 3 winner James Denam's 2004 NL Pennant Cardinals faced second Wild Card and 2014 tournament runner-up James Terry's 2017 AL Wild Card Yankees. Scott Rolen put the home team on the board first with a solo shot in the bottom of the 2nd while starter Chris Carpenter allowed only one base runner in the first five innings. But, when Denam pulled Carpenter for pinch hitter John Mabry in the bottom of the 5th, the visiting Yankees welcomed the change to the bullpen, scoring all five of their runs off the Cardinals bullpen for the 5-1 upset victory. In the final first round match-up, Wild Card winner Roderick Lee managed real-life defending champion 2017 Astros against Heat 1 runner-up and 2017 tournament runner-up Josh Coyle's 2017 Nationals in a pitchers' duel between two former Cy Young winners, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer (and unofficial 2017 tournament MVP). Scherzer was perfect through five while Verlander matched zeros, giving up just two hits. Scherzer leadoff the top of the sixth with an unlikely single, leading to possibly the most creative managerial decision of the playoffs. With three lefties due up after Turner, Lee brought in a southpaw for the left-on-left matchup. Coyle thwarted the match-up by bringing in a relief pitcher to pinch-bunt (!) for a successful squeeze play and a 1-0 lead, a move that looked to be the game winner as Scherzer retired the next 10 of 13 hitters, finally giving up a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth to real-life World Series MVP George Springer. Carlos Correa followed with a double to tie the game, then, following a walk and a strikeout, Marwin Gonzalez hit the game winning double, bringing home Correa for the 2-1 come-from-behind victory.

Curiously, all the even seeds advanced to the semifinals, which saw 2-seed Flawd host 6-seed Terry and 4-seed Lee host 8-seed Beckman, who is no stranger to upset victories, having won last year's tournament also from the 8-seed. Red Sox starter Jake Peavy retired ten of the first eleven batters he faced, only to give up a one-out dinger to Aaron Judge to put the visitors on top 1-0. Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka scattered six hits, walked one, and struck out ten for a scoreless seven before handing the ball to closer Aroldis Chapman. Greg Bird added an insurance run with a solo shot in the sixth. The home team had traffic on the bases almost every inning but was unable to break through until the bottom of the ninth, falling short 2-1.

Last year, Beckman topped the real-life defending champion 2016 Cubs to advance to the tournament finals, and this year, he had to get past the current defending champion 2017 Astros, in a semifinal of GMs.

Astro starter Brad Peacock was wild, walking four in the first four, before giving up a leadoff single to Alan Trammel in the top of the 5th. Following a strikeout, Howard Johnson launched a two-run blast to put the Tigers up for good 2-0. Tigers starter Milt Wilcox did the rest, retiring the first seven batters before giving up a meaningless walk, and holding the home team hitless through the bottom of the 6th. Then, with one out in the bottom of the 9th, Alex Bregman doubled and Marwin Gonzalez walked, giving the hometown crowd hopes that history would repeat itself with another come-from-behind win.

But, Wilcox struck out Jake Marisnick and got Brian McCann to pop up to complete the shutout, and remain undefeated in the playoffs against Lee across multiple tournaments. Thus, the "World Series" would see the 6-seed hosting the 8-seed, and for the second year in a row, the two tournament contenders both advanced to the finals without playing a home game.

In Game 1, the Tigers quieted the Yankee Stadium crowd by sending the first five batters on safely in the top of the 2nd with a leadoff double, two singles, a walk, a hit batsman, and a 2-0 lead. Tiger starter Dan Petry struck out, and leadoff hitter Lou Whitaker squeezed in the third run. Yankee starter CC Sabathia was then forced to leave with an injury, bringing on reliever Michael Pineda to get the final out. Whitaker led off the 5th with a home run and the Tigers would add a fifth and final run off of back-to-back doubles from Larry Herndon and Chet Lemon in the 6th. Petry had a no-hitter through six, giving up a harmless single to leadoff the 7th. The only other hit Petry allowed was a pinch hit home run by Jacoby Ellsbury in the bottom of the 8th, sealing the final score of 5-1.

Game 2 shifted to Tiger Stadium and because of the way the tournament handles starting rotations, it was a matchup between aces, Jack Morris hosting Luis Severino. The Tigers took the early lead again, on a leadoff homer by Tom Brookens in the bottom of the 3rd. Judge added his own homer in the top of the 6th for the 1-1 tie. Detroit would answer back with another solo shot from Lemon and remained ahead 2-1 entering the 9th. Clint Frazier, pinch hitting for Gary Sanchez, lead off with a single, and pinch runner Austin Romine stole 2b and 3b. Morris struck out Bird but allowed Romine to tie the game on a wild pitch to Didi Gregorious whose subsequent single possibly made the wild pitch meaningless. Morris stranded Gregorious at 1b on two ground outs to keep the game tied. The Tigers looked set to win it all when Howard Johnson led off the bottom of the 9th with a triple.

Beckman then called on a squeeze play from power hitter Gibson who popped into a double play instead. Morris pitched a perfect 10th, striking out two, and the Tigers again threatened in the bottom of the 10th. Lemon leadoff with a single, to be replaced by Brookens on a fielder's choice to 2b. Morris struckout and Whitaker walked, putting two on with two out. Yankee reliever Jonathan Holder got Trammel to fly to left for the final out, ending the threat. The Yankees opened the top of the 11th with back-to-back singles from Judge and Romine.

One out later Gregorious scorched one into the bleachers, and the Yanks returned the favor with 5 runs on the road. Holder pitched a perfect bottom of the 11th for the 5-2 victory and a 1-1 Series tie.

So, with the Series tied, neither contender had yet to win a game at home. Would history repeat itself to give Beckman the successful defense of his title? The Tigers jumped ahead early again, with five hits in the top of the 1st, including a grand slam from Gibson off Yankee starter Tanaka. Tiger starter Wilcox would then takeover, striking out ten in seven, and not allowing a hitter to get to 3b.Detroit would add the fifth run again on three singles in the bottom of the 8th. Then, closer Willie Hernandez would pitch a perfect 8th en route to a two-out save. And for the fourth year in a row, a Beckman won the whole thing and pulled another Midwest team off the board.

2018 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 3
James Terry Harry Flawd Roderick Lee Joshua Coyle James Denam
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Bill Beckman tries to return to the top. Bruce Beard shows his true colors, an Orioles fan.
Having fun at the ballpark.
GM  Roderick LeeĀ [2nd Year]  NA
 N/A  714-785-8479