The Espoo Expos defeated the Tampere Tigers 17-2 (box score) in Game 3 of the Finnish championship series last Saturday, Sep 10, with the victory giving the Expos a sweep in the best-of-five series and the club’s 18th Finnish championship.
The victory also avenges last year’s sweep of the Expos by the Tigers in the championship series.
The Expos led 5-0 after two innings, with four of the early runs off the bat of first baseman Jukka-Pekka Kurvinen, who brought home two runs with a triple in the first inning and two more with a single in the second.
Kurvinen would drive home a fifth run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly, his eighth RBI of the championship series.
Designated hitter Tommi Toivio contributed a triple and five RBI as well, the triple coming in a six-run fourth inning that put the game out of reach for the Tigers, who managed just five hits in the contest.
Miko Rauhamäki was awarded the W after he allowed two earned runs on four hits in three innings of work. Matti Nylander mopped up the final three innings, allowing just one hit, before the game was called early by mercy rule, setting off the Expos’ championship celebrations.
The Tigers finished atop the six-team SM League regular season standings with a 14-1 record, with the Expos in second with a 12-3 tally. The second place finish required the Expos to face Helsinki Puumat in the lone semifinal, a three-game series that the Expos won 2-1.
After years of domination by the Expos — the club won 16 Finnish championships in a row between 2003 and 2017 — the league has now seen the Helsinki Mets (2018) and Tampere Tigers (2021) rise to challenge the Expos’ hegemony in recent seasons.