I asked last week if we were having a great world series or not and now that it's over for another year, I believe it may have been one of the best yet.
Why do I say that? I guess I'm not totally sure, but it just seemed the competition was better, or maybe it seemed to be more even.
Looking back though, there were a few things that stick out.
Let's go back to opening night. Hickory's Colton Knoble wins the home-run derby, making it two straight years that the derby winner came from Harford County's host team.
Then, Knoble and his Hickory teammates go out and do what no host team had done before: win the series' first game. That right there should have been a sign to all of us.
Now, jumping to the next day, the first full day of pool play, we were shocked in the afternoon. In none of the previous tournaments had Australia ever beat the juggernaut that is Mexico. Well, it happened.
So, seriously, who would have thought that a week later Mexico could play for a world championship? Not I.
Anyway, as expected, Mexico rebounded and won a couple of games it had to.
Now, I really didn't spell it out in a story, but there was some confusion with the international pool play that I believe left some people scratching their heads. When pool play was over, it was Australia who led the Group D standings with a 3-1 record. Well, because one of the wins was a cross-pool win over Canada, the Aussies record within its own pool was 2-1. As were the records of Mexico and Republic of Korea.
So, even though Australia won its most memorable game to begin play, finished pool play with the best overall record, the boys from down under were not involved in championship bracket play.
It was a matter of runs against. In this order; Mexico, 6; Korea, 14; and Australia 19.
As the series played out, Hickory continued to impress and as we now know, the local team was beyond impressive. Figuring the team's two losses were both at the hands and feet of World Champion, West Raleigh, N.C., I'd say job extremely well done.
When pool play was over, it was no surprise that Japan was the lone international club with a 4-0 mark. The record included wins over Puerto Rico (in pool group) and Mexico.
I said last week that I really thought Japan, in the end, was likely to win again. Well, I'm not totally shocked that West Raleigh won the championship, but was at how Mexico got there.
In Thursday's semifinals, Mexico and Puerto Rico matched up in the last game of the day. For 97 percent of the game, it sure appeared that Mexico was going to lose, 1-0, despite pitcher Andres Medina pitching a no-hitter and striking out a series record 14 batters.
Then, like some cruel joke reversal, Mexico rallies, and of all things, wins 2-1 on an walk-off wild pitch.
The Mexicans follow that with an improbable 10-7 win over Japan in the International Championship.
Uncharacteristically, Mexico made two critical mistakes in both ends of the first inning against West Raleigh. And it cost them.
Well, it's back to school for many. Where did summer go?