Twins Minor League Report (9/6): E-Twins Advance, Miracle Ending
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Lewin Diaz)Let’s get to the action, but first, a set of transactions. Alex Robles and Colton Burns have joined the Elizabethton Twins from the GCL to fill out their roster.
As the Lookouts game was starting, the Southern League announced that they were cancelling the championship series due to concerns regarding Hurricane Irma. There was concern for the players, the teams, their families, but they also know that the hotels and other facilities may be needed for those who have left Florida. Also, Jacksonville and Pensacola are in the other half. They will play their games in Pensacola and then in Biloxi if necessary.
Chattanooga 4, Montgomery 3
The game started out with some offense and quieted down quickly but in the ninth things got very interesting.
In the first inning, Zack Littell gave up a leadoff home run to put the Lookouts down a run. But in the bottom of the first, Nick Gordon and Edgar Corcino started things with singles. Following a wild pitch, third-place hitter LaMonte Wade singled in both runs to put the Lookouts out front. Wade later scored the third run of the inning on a single by Andy Wilkins. In the fourth inning, TJ White added a solo home run.
In the sixth inning, Zack Littell had a bout of wildness. He walked the first two batters of the inning. However, he struck out the next two batters. But after a two-out single cut the lead to 4-2, Littell was replaced by Anthony McIver who got out of the inning. Littell gave up two runs on three hits over 5.2 innings. He walked five and struck out six. McIver threw 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit, walking one and striking out one.
The Lookouts had a two-run lead going into the ninth inning. Gabriel Moya came on for them and walked the first two batters. A passed ball meant runners on second and third with nobody out. He got a strikeout for the first out. He then gave up a deep fly ball which allowed one run to score and the other runner to advance to third. Fortunately for the Lookouts, Moya was able to get the third out without the tying run crossing home plate.
Moya gets the save. Littell picks up the win. Obviously only regular season stats will show up on baseball cards and on statistical websites, but that pushes his overall record this season to 20-1.
Nick Gordon and Andy Wilkins each went 2-4. Brian Navarreto added a double, and TJ White homered.
The two teams will play Game 2 of the best of five series on Thursday night. Dereck Rodriguez will take the mound for the Lookouts.
As mentioned yesterday, the Florida State League announced that there would be co-champions in 2017 because of Hurricane Irma. There will not be a championship series. The Miracle lost Game 1 with Palm Beach on Tuesday night, so they had two win twice on Wednesday to become the co-champs. How did it go for the Miracle? Well, keep reading...
Ft. Myers 2, Palm Beach 3
The Palm Beach Cardinals are the 2017 Florida State League co-champions with a 3-2, walk-off, hit by pitch. The Miracle season comes to an end.
The Miracle fell behind 2-0 early. Sean Poppen started and threw well. The right-hander gave up two runs on seven hits and one walk. He struck out two. In the top of the sixth inning, the Miracle got on the board. Chris Paul reached on an error which allowed Tanner English to score from second.
Tom Hackimer worked scoreless seventh and eighth innings, allowing only a single. In the top of the eighth inning, the Miracle still found themselves down 2-1. Nelson Molina came off of the bench, and he launched a game-tying home run.
Hackimer came back out for the ninth inning. He struck out the leadoff man, but he walked the next guy. A single followed, putting runners on first and third with one out. Manager Doug Mientkiewicz decided to intentionally walk the next man, giving his infielders options in the event of a ground ball. Unfortunately, Hackimer hit the next batter, ending the game and the Miracle season.
Cedar Rapids 6, Kane County 5
Having struggled more in the second half than they had in the first half, when they clinched the playoff spot, it felt important for the Kernels to get off to a fast start. They couldn’t have scripted the first inning much better. Tyler Wells made the start, and he struck out two in a 1-2-3 top of the first. The Kernels put up a three-spot in the bottom of the first. Aaron Whitefield walked and advanced to third on a well-executed hit-and-run by Travis Blankenhorn. Caleb Hamilton walked to load the bases, and Lewin Diaz doubled in two runs. Hamilton scored from third on a Jimmy Kerrigan ground out to make the score 3-0.
In the top of the second, Wells got the first two batters out. However, the next two batters reached on errors. That’s never a good thing, and these were followed by a two-run single to push the score to 3-2 Kernels.
Cedar Rapids was able to respond right away. Jordan Gore and Aaron Whitefield led off the bottom of the second with singles. The next two batters got out, but Lewin Diaz picked them up with a second two-run double to give the Kernels a 5-2 lead after two innings.
Wells gave up just one more run in his 5.2 innings. Of the three runs he gave up, just one was earned. He struck out eight without issuing a walk. Ryan Mason got the final out of the sixth inning. He gave up a two-run homer in the seventh inning that tied the score at 5-5.
Lewin Diaz led off the eighth inning with his third double of the game. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single off the bat of Jimmy Kerrigan.
The Kernels thus grabbed the 6-5 lead which meant it was time for Hector Lujan, and he came through again. Lujan gets the save and recorded a strikeout in a 1-2-3 ninth.
Diaz led the way with three doubles and four RBI in four at-bats. Travis Blankenhorn went 2-4 with a double. Jimmy Kerrigan went 2-4 with a double and two RBI. Aaron Whitefield went 1-3 with a walk.
The series shifts to Kane County for Game 2, and potentially Game 3.
Elizabethton 6, Greeneville 0
With a win in Game 3, the Twins would advance to Appalachian League championship series. With a loss, their season would be complete.
The Twins sent Appy League Pitcher of the Year Edwar Colina to the mound to start. The right-hander put together arguably the best start of his career. He threw 6.2 shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked three and struck out eight. Jared Finkel came on and got the final out of the seventh and first out of the eighth, both on strikeouts. Jovani Moran got the final two outs of the eighth frame, both on strikeouts. He struck out another batter in a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save.
The Twins jumped on the scoreboard in the third inning. Jorge Munoz singled in TJ Dixon. Akil Baddoo, who walked his first two times to the plate, scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Jose Miranda. Miranda later scored on a double off the bat of JJ Robinson.
The score remained 3-0 until the bottom of the 8th inning. With the bases loaded, Carson Crites hit a sacrifice fly. Robinson and Kolton Kendrick advanced as well and scored on a Mark Contreras single to make it 6-0.
Robinson led the offense by going 2-3 with a walk and the double.
The E-Twins celebrated their series win and a trip to the Appalachian League championship series.
The Twins will advance to take on the Pulaski Yankees in the finals. Dalton Lehnen, who went to Lakeville North High School, was the Yankees sixth-round draft pick in June out of Augustana (SD).
For Wednesday night, however, the E-Twins were joyous:
TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Edwar Colina, Elizabethton Twins
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Lewin Diaz, Cedar Rapids Kernels
THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Montgomery @ Chattanooga (6:15 CST) - RHP Dereck Rodriguez
Cedar Rapids @ Kane County (6:30 CST) - RHP Clark Beeker
Elizabethton @ Pulaski (6:00 CST) - TBD
Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Wednesday’s playoff games.
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