FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
ST. LUCIE 4, BRADENTON 3 (10) (Box)
ST. LUCIE WINS SERIES 2-1
High drama at Digital Domain Park last night, as the Mets rallied to capture the South Division Championship and move one step closer to the Florida State Legue Championship. After a 10-0 bludgeoning Wednesday Night, the Mets sent 2010 6th round pick RHP Greg Peavey to the hill. Peavey's FSL numbers have been solid, if not overwhelming, but he turned in a near excellent start for the Mets last night. He tossed seven innings of two run ball, striking out six Marauders, and got ten other outs via the groundball.
The Mets struck first in the second, thanks to some shoddy Bradenton defense. With 1B Stefan Welch standing on first base after a leadoff single, CF Cesar Puello hit an easy comebacker to Bradenton starter Nathan Baker, who promptly threw the ball away. That put runners on 1st and 3rd with one out. Puello attempted to steal 2nd to stay out of the double play, and it was Bradenton catcher Carlos Paulino's turn to throw the ball away. Welch trotted on home to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.
Peavey would run into some trouble in the fourth, though. With two outs and men on 1st and 2nd, Bradenton CF Evan Chambers smashed a double to left. That tied the game, but SS Wilmer Flores made a fine relay throw to cut down the go-ahead runner trying to score from first. Bradenton would take the lead in the fifth, though, on a two out single off the bat of Benji Gonzalez.
Bradenton's Nathan Baker settled down after the error-filled second inning and had retired eight in a row going into the bottom of the sixth. He made it nine in a row after 2B Jose Coronado tried to bunt his way on, but the streak ended there as LF Pedro Zapata crushed one over the left field fence to tie the game. Viva Zapata! St. Lucie got the go ahead run into scoring position that inning, as CF Gilbert Gomez walked and stole second, but Stefan Welch popped out to end the inning, leaving Gomez stranded 180 feet away.
Peavey ran into more trouble in the seventh, as a double and a wild pitch put the go ahead run on third with one out. The next batter walked, but that was for the best, as Peavey induced the 5-4-3 to get out of the jam. St. Lucie stranded another runner on 2nd in the bottom half and the game was turned over to the bullpens.
The St. Lucie pen was first to falter, LHP Josh Edgin allowed a single and a walk to start off the top of the eighth. A bunt advanced the runner to 3rd, but 3B Jefry Marte made a nice play to get a force at 2nd. That turned out to be a big play, as Ramon Cabrera singled to put the Marauders back in front 3-2. Edgin struck out the next batter and gave way to the Mets closer, RHP Jeff Kaplan. Kaplan made it interesting, walking Evan Chambers to load the bases, before getting Carlos Paulino to ground out to end the inning.
St. Lucie struck right back in the bottom half, Zapata, who went 3-5 on the day, singled and stole second, eventually coming around to score when SS Wilmer Flores singled up the middle. Welch would single, and Marte walked to load the bases, but Puello couldn't break the game open, grounding into a force at second. The Marauders would get pinch runner Drew Maggi to 3rd base in the top of the ninth, but Kaplan struck out Robbie Grossman to end the threat. St. Lucie went quietly in their half of the ninth, and we were heading to bonus baseball! Check out that Leverage Index!
Bradenton managed a two-out double in the top of the tenth, but nothing came of it, as Kaplan continued to hunker down and hold the fort. In the bottom half a pair of walks set the stage for Jefry Marte. Marte hasn't had a good run with the bat since April, but last night that was all a distant memory as he dropped a single into center, bringing Travis Ozga steaming home with the winning run. Digital Domain Park rejoiced and the Mets punched their ticket to the Florida State League Championship Series.
In the championship, the Mets will face the Daytona Cubs, who used some late inning dramatics of their own to knock off the Dunedin Blue Jays.. The five game series starts tonight in Daytona. St. Lucie hasn't announced a starter as of yet, but I assume RHP Armando Rodriguez will get the nod.
LF-CF Pedro Zapata: 3-5, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB
1B Stefan Welch: 2-4, R, BB
RHP Greg Peavey: 7 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 6 K, WP
RHP Jeff Kaplan: W, 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 K
SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
AUGUSTA LEADS 1-0
Savannah had the day off, but they return to action at Histoiic Grayson Stadium tonight, needing to sweep the next two games to stave off elimination. LHP Johan Santana will make the start tonight, so they do have that going for them
NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
STATEN ISLAND 2, BROOKLYN 0 (Box)
STATEN ISLAND LEADS 1-0
After two days of rainouts, the Cyclones finally took to a soggy MCU Park field to begin their series with the rivals from across the Verrazano. Apparently the Cyclones' bats remained water-logged, as they managed just two hits off Yankee pitching. RHP Marcos Camarena took the hill for the Cyclones, and was brilliant striking out nine over six innings of work, his only blemish a two out RBI single off the bat of Nick McCoy in the 2nd. Staten Island starter Matthew Tracy was just as good, retiring the first ten batters he faced, before RF Charlie Thurber reached on a single. Thurber was doubled off on a liner to short, and Tracy had faced the minimum through four.
Brooklyn would get the tying run to 2nd in both the sixth and seventh innings, but could not break through with a hit. Staten Island added an insurance run in the top of the eighth, and Brooklyn made nary a whimper in the eighth or ninth, and now are staring down elimination at the other end of a ferry ride.
RHP Marcos Camarena: L, 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 9 K