*Results from games played Friday, September 9th 2011
FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
DAYTONA 3, ST. LUCIE 1 (Box)
DAYTONA LEADS 1-0
St. Lucie kicked off the FSL Championship Series with RHP Armando Rodriguez on the mound. He hurled a scoreless 3 and 2/3 before the skies opened up with St. Lucie leading 1-0. It is Flordia after all. After a two and a half hour rain delay, the game resumed, but the St. Lucie bats were now asleep, much like your recapper. Daytona tied it at 1 in the sixth with an RBI single off RHP John Church, then burst ahead for good with two off of LHP Eric Niesen, who had been dominant since his demotion to the Mets. After the delay, St. Lucie only managed to put one runner into scoring position, and they find themselves in an early 1-0 hole in their quest for a ring.
SS Wilmer Flores: 2-4, RBI
SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
SAVANNAH 3, AUGUSTA 2 (Box)
SERIES TIED 1-1
With the Sand Gnats facing elimination after a tough loss Thursday night, they conjured up a little more late inning magic to force a rubber game with the GreenJackets. The Savannah formula was on display, solid pitching mixed with some timely hitting. It also didn't hurt that they had one of the best pitchers of the last ten years toeing the rubber. LHP Johan Santana made another rehab start and was solid, if unspectacular, in his three innings of work. He allowed just a single unearned run following a Luis Nieves throwing error.
Santana gave way to RHP Taylor Whitenton, who was dominant over three plus innings of his own, striking out six. Savannah would take back the lead, scoring unearned runs in the fourth and the fifth. Augusta played a sloppy game, committing three errors on the night, and all of Savannah's runs were unearned.
With one out in the seventh, Whitenton gave up a walk and a pair of singles to knot the game back up at 2. That was the end of his evening, but LHP Adam Kolarek came in and got the net two GreenJackets to limit the damage.
That set the stage for one more comeback at Historic Grayson Stadium. In the bottom of the eighth, C Albert Cordero shot a one out single into left field, and Blake Forsythe was brought out to pinch hit. Forsythe looked like he was going to go down quietly, popping a harmless fly to Augusta 1B Ben Thomas. Thomas dropped the foul pop, though, and Forsythe had new life. He made the most of the chance, lacing an RBI double to score Cordero, and Hamilton Bennett came on and closed out the game for the Gnats with a 1-2-3 ninth.
LHP Johan Santana: 3 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K
RHP Taylor Whitenton: 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K
CF Darrell Ceciliani: 4-4, R
NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
BROOKLYN 12, STATEN ISLAND 5 (Box)
SERIES TIED 1-1
It's not a long trip over the Verrazano Bridge to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark, so there was not much time for the Cyclones to ponder their fate were they to lose the cross-borough rivals. A scant few hours after losing 2-0 to the Yanks in the playoff opener, the Cyclones were back on the field, looking to stave off elimination. The bats which had wilted on the wet field the night before, bloomed in the sun, leading to a barrage of 16 hits against the hapless Staten Island staff.
It didn't always look like it would be a laugher. The first few innings were a sloppy, back and forth affair. The Cyclones struck first, via a two-out double from DH Brian Harrison in the second, but RHP Jeffrey Walters gave the lead away quickly, as Staten Island strung together three straight singles in the bottom half of the frame. Walters was an interesting pick to start an elimination. At 23 he is a grizzled veteran by NYPL standards, and his combination of control and groundballs were unlikely to get the 'clones in too much trouble.
In the third, the Cyclones struck right back, plating four with the help of two errors on the Yankee infield. Brooklyn's defense was no better, a pair of errors on a stolen base attempt plated Staten Island CF Mason Williams in the bottom half of the third, as the 'clones fired the ball everywhich way but towards a man with a glove. The scoring continued in the top of the fourth, as the Cyclones padded their slim 4-3 lead with a two-run homer off the bat of RF Charley Thurber. Thurber has been mostly nondescript this year, but he came up big for the Cylcones yesterday afternoon. Walters managed to get through the fourth with no damage accrued and Brooklyn extended it's league to 7-3 on a second RBI double from Harrison, which finally chased Staten Island starter Bryan Mitchell from the contest.
Walters was not far behind, sadly, as he also would not make it out of the fifth. A pair of singles and a base on balls loaded the sacks for Staten Island, and manager Rich Donnelly called for flamethrowing RHP Rafael Montero. Montero would surrender a two-run single, but got out of the inning without surrendering a now less comfortable 7-5 lead.
With the Brooklyn bullpen in the game, things settled down from there. The pen has been excellent all year, and yesterday was no exception. RHP Tyler Pill and RHP Jeremy Gould would keep the Yankees off the board for the rest of the game, and the Brooklyn bats continued to pour it on.
The Cyclones and Yankees will now face off in a decisive Game Three, with the winners set to face the Auburn Doubledays for the NYPL Championship.
RF Charlie Thurber: 3-6, HR, 2 R, RBI, K
DH Brian Harrison: 4-5, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI, K
3B Richard Lucas: 2-4, HR, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 SB