The non-alcoholic champagne flowed Sunday night for the Vancouver Canadians who raised and drank from the Freitas Cup as back-to-back Northwest League champions.
In the second year of their affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays, the C's repeated as class-A short season champions, winning the do-or-die Game 3 to defeat the Boise Hawks 12-9 on the road at Memorial Stadium in southwestern Idaho.
"It was amazing," C's general manager Jason Takefman said Monday morning, his voice still hoarse from Sunday night's excitement.
"It was incredibly tense but we were all confidently nervous and nervously confident."
The Canadians lost Game 2 by a one-run margin Saturday night in Boise when the Hawks tied the best-of-three series 1-1 with a 3-2 victory.
But for the second time in the Northwest League championship series, the Canadians exploded in a single inning to put seven runs on the board and steal the lead away from the Hawks.
Game 1 Thursday night at Nat Bailey Stadium in Vancouver saw the rivals slug it out through three hours and 48 minutes of baseball until the C's rallied in the seventh inning to come from six runs down and win 10-7.
Game 3 was a spectacular echo.
"This team is so resilient," said Takefman. "It's a credit to the coaching staff to keep them up and motivated for the whole game. They really know how to press all the right buttons and our players came through when it counted."
A stark headline in the Idaho Statesman newspaper read, "Boise blows another big lead late."
Vancouver opened with two runs in the first inning but Boise answered by knocking a single, then a double and then a three-run homer off C's starting pitcher Taylor Cole to take a 4-2 lead.
The C's won back the lead in the top of the fourth when Tucker Frawley nailed a surprise homerun, his first of the season, to give the team an essential boost.
"He tied the game up, it was really unexpected," said Takefman.
The Hawks would take back a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the inning, but the Vancouver GM said Frawley's hit was the key play of the game.
"The game changed really-and it sounds silly because Boise took the lead after-but it changed on Tucker Frawley's homerun because he doesn't have much power."
Frawley, the C's catcher, had 15 hits and eight RBI in 81 at-bats during the regular season. In four playoff games before Sunday, he was a .500 hitter, said Takefman.
"His real strength was his defense and his leadership ability and for him to be a leader at the plate also, just makes him that much better of a player," he said.
Trailing the Hawks again in the top of the eighth inning, the Canadians pulled out an incredible rally and scored seven runs to take a lead they wouldn't give up this time.
Two Hawks relievers loaded the bases and then another reliever pegged Vancouver shortstop Jorge Flores at the plate to score the C's sixth run. They still trailed Boise by one when Kellen Sweeney singled and brought in two runners to score. Balbino Fuenmayor stepped to the plate and followed with another single. A Boise error allowed Art Charles to turn a triple into an in-the-park homer when the Hawks lost the ball in the dug out.
Boise managed two more runs, one each in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings, but Vancouver held on for the win. C's closer Arik Sikula saved 14 of 15 games this season, winning Game 3 after he'd let Sunday's Game 2 slip away.
With the win, the C's claim their second Northwest League championship in two years, their only pennants since joining the league in 2000.
"It just proves even more that the Blue Jays are the best organization in major league baseball, hands down," said Takefman, noting the attendance records that continue to rise each season for the past five years.
"Their commitment to winning and their commitment to development, it's proof on the field: we've been with them for two years and we have two championships."