Results from game one of the first round of the FSL Playoffs, played Tuesday, September 6th.
For the Mets: the Florida State League’s Pitcher of the Year, long-limbed lefthander Darin Gorki. For the Maurauders: Brandon Cumpton, a righthanded fastballer, a Georgia boy. The two artists handled their craft with ease and grace, corner-clipping and bastard pitching and, all in all, making the ball look the size of an aspirin in a first round, classic playoff duel.
Take Gorski. In seven innings of work against 28 batters, he allowed six safe hits and a walk, but also whiffed a half-dozen, reducing the damage to just two scores. Trouble brewed early, in the first inning, when a double followed hard upon a free pass, and a sac fly spelled the Marauder’s opening volley. Not until the bottom of the fifth would Gorski again face trouble, serving a trio of singles that scored the second run. Around these blemishes, seven innings of mostly excellent pitches, closed out with seven consecutive batters turned away.
Cumpton mirrored Gorski's performance, allowing a walk and seven hits -- but like Darin matching that tally with strikeouts. Not until their half of the sixth did the Mets damage Cumpton, with a double by the shortstop Wilmer Flores made to count by 1B Stefan Welch's hit. That halved the lead, and a scraped-out run in the seventh made it all square; CF Cesar Puello was HBP, and a double-play-ground-ball eventually returned him home.
It’s the playoffs, though, and the game can’t end in a tie. No shoot outs either. So in the top of the ninth, the Mets sent 3B Jefry Marte to the plate with the thought of shifting pressure to the home town club. A Venezualan righthander named Diego Moreno was on the mound, and the numbers suggested he’s nasty and wild.
Jefry took a hack, rolling one out to the shortstop who scooped it on two big hops; but by that time Jefry had hustled aboard. Puello popped up a first-pitch bunt, and the righfielder Cory Vaughn -- two-for-four on the day -- made another, longer out in the air. Now, maybe you've heard of the catcher Francisco Pena and maybe you haven’t; he’s the son of Tony Pena, and his OPS is .585. Francisco, in the big spot, chose his pitch and lined the ball hard and fast down the left field line. Marte had leaped to a terrific jump and was storming around third for the go-ahead run, when the ball rolled into the bullpen for a ground rule double. Rolled! And runners stood at the corners, 2 outs.
To the plate stepped the ninth batter in the order, 2B Jose Coronado. Coronado has an OPS 50 points south of Tony Pena’s son, and fondly wishes he were
Daniel Murphy Ruben Tejada Justin Turner Reese Havens Jordany Valdespin Robbie Shields. In any case, Crack!... and it's off the center fielder's glove! Both go-ahead runs crossed the plate and Coronado pulled into second with his heroic blast, feeling like the Babe. It remained for Righthander Jeffrey Kaplan to tie the win up in a crocus sack, which he did with an exclamation point, striking out the side.
Hi-A St. Lucie Mets ________________________________________
Game One of a 3-Game Semi-Final Series
ST. LUCIE 4, BRANDENTON 2 (Box)
- CF Cesar Puello: 0-3, R, 2 K, HBP
- RF Cory Vaughn: 2-4, K
- 3B Jefry Marte: 2-4, R, SB
- SS Wilmer Flores: 1-3, R, 2B, BB
- RF Cesar Puello: 0-3, R, 2 K
- 2B Jose Coronado: 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K
- C Francisco Pena: 1-4, R, 2B, K
- LHP Darin Gorski: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K