The 2023 Futures League season equaled many first’s for the Norwich Sea Unicorns. First place team in the league, first year manager, and first championship title.
After a slow start to the year, it seemed as if the Corns where doomed for another disappointing season in the Rose City. These feelings of self doubt soon went by the way-side as Norwich would continue to win game after game.
After defeating the Bees in game three of the semi-finals 12-2, focus would shift to the Vermont Lake Monsters, who where making their third straight finals appearance.
Due to mother natures wrath and for the sake of players, the championship would be shortened to a winner-take-all one and done game instead of a best of three.
Vermont would strike early in the second by an RBI double from Kyle Lodise. Norwich would answer back immedietly with a fielders choice hit by Zach Donahue to score Ray Leonzi.
The contest remained a pitchers duel for the next two and a half innings. Yale’s Mark Capell looked stellar going three innings. After allowing two runners on Chris Jenkins would relieve him and escape trouble.
In the fifth, back-t0-back strikeouts on the Sea Unicorns side would sooth the cheers of the home faithful. This was until Johnny Knox would step up to the plate, energizing Dodd Stadium once more.
Knox would reach first on an error and thanks to heads up base running, advance to second putting himself in scoring position as the go-ahead run.
Donahue, who scored the only run of the game up until now would strike again with an RBI single to right field scoring Knox. This hit would be the final blow of the game.
The pitching could not have been more perfect. Daniel Cohen, Wednesday’s semi-final starter secured the three inning one hit save.
As the ninth came around, an exciting atmosphere filled Dodd Stadium. In five pitches, the Lake Monsters where starring at two outs while the Sea Unicorns looked to deliver a championship.
Kyle Lodise stepped to the plate for Vermont, looking to collect his third hit and keep the Monsters season alive.
Ball one energized the small but steady Vermont fans who made the trip. Strike one followed by strike two from Cohen then put everyone on their feet.
A long pause, from the stretch Cohen to catcher Matt Malcom, a swing and a miss, strike three, and for the first time since 2002, a championship was back at Dodd Stadium.