Braves clinch World Series, Tech students celebrate

Photo courtesy of Troy Taormina USA Today Sports

In what was almost too easy of a game for Atlanta fans to rationalize as it went on, the Atlanta Braves clinched their first World Series since 1995, winning 7-0 at Minute Maid Park.

Game six began similarly to game one, with Jorge Soler destroying a baseball to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead in the third inning. His homer had an expected batting average of 1.000, and left the bat at 109.6 miles per hour, finally landing 446 feet from home in the Houston sky. It took Houston starter Luis Garcia out of the game, who was the first of four Astro pitchers that would be scored on throughout the game.

Max Fried delivered his best outing of the entire postseason, going six innings after letting the first two hitters he faced reach base. In Michael Brantley’s first at-bat, he stepped on Fried’s right ankle as he missed trying to cover the bag. While it looked dangerous in the moment, Fried had no apparent pain after a couple test pitches. He went on to retire the next six Astros batters, including throwing his quickest fastball strike of his career to strike out Yuli Gurriel swinging to finish the first inning (98.4 mph).

The rest of the game was remarkably quick by the standard set in the first few games of the series. The game lasted three hours and twenty-two minutes, in part because of how efficient Fried was getting through batters in the early innings. Houston could not get solid contact all night long.

In the fifth inning, Albies walked to start the inning and reached second on a Cristian Javier wild pitch. After Travis d’Arnaud struck out, Dansby Swanson got his own no-doubt home run to extend the lead to 5-0. Soler then also walked and was driven in by Freddie Freeman on a long double to the left-center field gap which bounced off the fencing.

Freddie would hit a solo home run to the same part of the park in his next at-bat during the seventh inning to make it 7-0, and that was more than enough for the Braves to put it away. Fried finished after six shutout innings, paving the way for Tyler Matzek and Will Smith to finish the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

Yuli Gurriel hit a ground ball to lifelong Atlantan Dansby Swanson with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on an 0-2 count, who threw a perfect throw to Freddie at first to end the 2021 MLB season as champions.

At the Institute, the celebrations ensued immediately. Crowds of students began forming between Tech Green and Techwood Drive, eventually merging in front of Peters parking deck where a couch was set on fire in the front yard of a fraternity. With a police presence to ensure everyone’s safety, the crowd proceeded in a parade-like fashion down Fowler Street towards McCamish and turned right towards the I-75/85 Connector. At all points, students had speakers blasting the music of the Braves’ tomahawk chop.

After crossing the bridge (and becoming an alert on the Atlanta Police Department scanners), the crowd turned right on Williams St. back towards Tech Square, and were routed back to Techwood Drive where the crowd originally formed.

From there, the mass kept going towards Tech Green, with many going into the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons (CULC) building, going up the main staircase, entering the Price Gilbert Library and exiting at the top of Freshman Hill. Another massive throng of students merged with the library group and proceeded down the hill, banking a right at the closest entrance to Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Students were climbing over the fencing, and those inside managed to open a locked gate to let the crowd into the stadium. The crowd went straight to the football field, at worst removing the foam protection at the base of the north end zone field goal post. Mosh pits came and went before campus police showed up at the gates of the stadium, which naturally prompted the exit of everyone from the stadium.

The crowd then shifted again in front of Peters to witness another couch being burned. Some attempted to get into Russ Chandler Stadium, but the police presence was enough to ward off any real attempts, resulting in a mostly static crowd at the intersection of Ferst and Fowler. One more big mosh pit occurred once there was no traffic at the intersection.

A smaller crowd than before eventually made their way to Tech Tower, but by then most of the people of the original crowd had gone to where they started the evening, where they had watched the Braves end their 26-year drought.