Pulaski 0 at Elizabethton 7
W: D. Osterbrock (1-0, 0.00); L: B. Mohr (0-1, 40.50)
HR: ELI: J. Waltenbury (1).
Game of Friday, 29 August, 2008
Dan Osterbrock gave up 9 hits, but no runs and struck out 11 over 7 inning to lead the Elizabethton Twins in a blanking of the Pulaski Mariners, 7-0. With the win, the Twins sweep the best of three series, 2-game to none, to repeat as Appalachian League Champions.
A Nick Romero single and a Jon Waltenbury home run gave the E-Twins a lead in the bottom of the first. Waltenbury would crank a fly ball over the right center field wall. It was his first home run of the playoffs, but the former GCL slugger had 10 in regular season play.
Angel Morales and Jeff Lanning both singled to lead off the bottom of the second. Danny Rams took a walk to load the bags. James Beresford would go down on strikes, but Dominic De La Osa sent a grounder out to left, scoring two. Romero would single to drive in Rams. Pulaski would call for a pitching change at that point, bringing in Stephen Benney to replace starter Brooks Mohr. Waltenbury's grounder to center drove in De La Osa before Evan Bigley would ground into a double play, ending the inning.
Pulaski would keep the E-Twins off the board for the next five innings. For Pulaski, their best scoring chance came in the top of the sixth when Juan Fuentes singled with one out on the board. Kris Sanchez would fly out, but Jose Rivero took a double off Osterbrock, putting men at second and third. Osterbrock would take Deybis Benitez down on strikes however, to keep the Mariners off the board.
Thom Wright would work the 8th inning, allowing a single to Mario Martinez, then advancing him on a wild pitch. Fuentes would go down on strikes however, and Sanchez and Rivero both ground out to send the E-Twins up to bat for what would prove to be the final time.
Phillip Roy would be on the mound for the Mariners, and he walked Morales and Jeff Lanning to start off. Rams would strike out, but Beresford drew a walk to load the bags. Pulaski quickly got Blake Nation out of the bullpen, but unleashed a wild pitch, scoring Morales. He'd then hit De La Osa with a pitch before getting Romero to ground into a double play, ending the inning.
Steve Blevins, a call up for the 2008 version of the GCL Twins would make short work of the next three batters in the Mariner's line up to give the E-Twins the Championship.
Waltenbury would finish the game 3-for-3 with a walk, a run and 3 RBIs. Romero would go 2-for-5 in the contest with a run and a run scored. De La Osa, Morales, and Lanning were all 1-for-3 at the plate, De La Osa with a run and 2 RBIs, Morales with a walk and a pair of runs, and Lanning with a walk and a run.
Mike Harrington, 1-for-4 at the plate did not factor into the scoring, becoming the one hit wonder of the game, while Rams, who was 0-for-3 with a walk, also chipped in with a run.
THE YEAR IN REVIEW: The Twins finished the year with the circuit's best record at 41-25 and completed a two-game sweep of Pulaski to claim the league championship for the second straight season and third time in the last four years.
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Where to begin? 1B Jonathan Waltenbury led the league in total bases and extra-base hits with 37. OFs Angel Morales and Evan Bigley led the league in homers with 15 and 14, respectively, and both hit over .300. As a team, the Twins led the league with a .274 average, 88 home runs, 142 doubles and 418 runs. On the mound, Elizabethton had three of the top four starters in innings, and LHP Daniel Osterbrock took home Pitcher of the Year honors after going 7-2 with a 3.00 ERA and a league-leading 104 strikeouts. Osterbrock pitched the Twins to the title with seven shutout innings in Game 2 against Pulaski, a 7-0 win.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Elizabethton couldn't match last season's 50-18 record, possibly because the Twins finished eighth in the league in team ERA at 4.37. Plus, they stole a league-worst 24 bases while being caught 19 times.
DYNASTY: The Twins rolled to their second consecutive title and third in four years behind their slugging offense and solid pitching. Elizabethton jumped to a 4-0 lead through two innings in Game 1 and held on for a 7-4 win in Pulaski. The Twins got off to an even better start in Game 2, rocking Mariners starter Brooks Mohr for six runs in 1 1/3 innings en route to a 7-0 clincher.
The GCL PHillies would take their series against the Nationals to 3-games before going on to win the GCL Title (MiLB.com. Congratulations to the GCL Phillies.
According to an article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune the Cincinnati Reds have not committed to playing in either the FSL or the GCL for the 2009 season. 2009 will be their last year in Ed Smith Stadium, they will be moving to Goodyear, Arizona, after the taxpayers of Sarasota County voted down funding to renovate their 20-year old Spring Training facilities. That throws in a new glitch into the already complicated FSL Divisional problem, which started when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays partnered with Ripken baseball to purchase the former FSL Dodgers franchise, moving it to Port Charlotte for the 2009 season. It is unclear if Port Charlotte will be participating in the GCL, as they use two short season teams, but they would certainly be a nice edition to the league as the trip to Charlotte County is substantially shorter than the one to Sarasota.
The Fort Myers Miracle begin their quest for a FSL Title Tuesday night in Dunedin against the Blue Jays. They are the last of the Twins affiliated teams still playing as Beloit, AA New Britain and AAA Rochester all ended their seasons on Monday.