The Daytona Cubs are your 2013 Florida State League Champions after they shut out the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Rays), 4-0. Daytona wins the best-of-five series three games to one.
In the decisive game two in the previous series against the Dunedin Blue Jays, C.J. Edwards and Ryan Searle combined to take a no-hitter into the ninth inning when Searle allowed two hits with one out in the ninth. Tonight, they did that one better as the two combined for a one-hitter. The only hit was allowed by Edwards to lead off the fourth inning.
Edwards pitched five innings and allowed one hit and he walked two. Edwards struck out three.
Searle retired all twelve batters he faced to close out the game. He struck out one.
Daytona took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Pin-Chieh Chen, Dustin Geiger and Dan Vogelbach all singled. They extended the score to 3-0 in the second inning when Charlotte made two errors on a single by Chadd Krist. Anthony Giansanti scored on the play and Krist ended up on third base, where he scored on a single by Wes Darvill.
The score remained 3-0 until the top of the ninth inning when Krist singled, went to second on a passed ball and scored on a single by Elliot Soto.
Vogelbach was 3 for 4. Krist was 2 for 4. Darvill went 2 for 4. Chen was 1 for 5 and Geiger and Giansanti were both 1 for 4.
Over 33 innings in the six playoff games, the Daytona Cubs starting pitchers did not allow a single run. The whole team only allowed four runs in the playoffs and three of those came in yesterday's loss.
The victory was the sixth Florida State League title for the Daytona Cubs and second in three seasons. They also won in 2011, 2008, 2004 (shared with Tampa), 2000 and 1995. Additionally, those are the only six times Daytona has made the playoffs since the FSL returned to Daytona in 1993, so the D-Cubs have never lost a playoff series.
A little bit of trivia. There is still one active major leaguer from the 1995 Daytona Cubs team: Rays catcher Jose Molina.
The news wasn't as good in Tennessee as the Birmingham Barons beat the Smokies 7-4 and ended Tennessee's season by winning the best-of-five divisional series, three games to two.
The Smokies scored a run in the first inning when, with two outs, Javier Baez was hit by a pitch. Justin Bour then singled to put runners on the corners and Christian Villanueva singled him home.
But Smokies starter Neil Ramirez couldn't hold the lead. Ramirez loaded the bases in the top of the second with no outs after a walk and two singles. He kept the damage to two runs, but heading to the bottom of the second, Tennessee trailed 2-1.
In the bottom of the second, the Smokies tied up the score again when Jonathan Mota and Matt Szczur both walked and Mota scored on a two-out single by Arismendy Alcantara.
The Smokies completely fell apart in the top of the fourth inning. Ramirez loaded the bases again with one out before exiting for Matt Loosen. Loosen got the first hitter he faced to hit into what might have been an inning-ending double play, but an Alcantara error allowed two runs to score and another run scored on the play thanks to a throwing error by catcher Taylor Davis. That made the score 5-2. Another run scored after two more errors. The first was Alcantara's second error of the inning when he missed a pickoff throw at second base, putting a runner on third. The sixth run then scored when Javier Baez booted an easy ground ball to shortstop.
In the fifth inning, Baez got the Smokies to within 6-4 with a tremendous blast to left-center field that traveled an estimated 432 feet. But the Smokies only got four baserunners after Baez home run and never got a runner past first base after the fifth inning.
Ramirez took the loss. Ramirez allowed five runs, three of which were earned, over 3.1 innings. Ramirez walked three and did not have a strikeout.
Loosen pitched almost the rest of the way, only yielding the mound with two outs in the ninth. Loosen allowed two runs on three hits over 5.1 innings. One of Loosen's runs was unearned. Loosen struck out seven and didn't walk anyone.
Baez was 1 for 4 with two runs scored and that two-run home run. He was hit by a pitch once.
Center fielder Matthew Szczur was 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. Szczur scored on the Baez home run.
Second baseman Alcantara went 2 for 5 with an RBI and a stolen base, but he also had those two huge errors. Third baseman Villanueva was 2 for 4 with an RBI.
The Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays) won their third straight Northwest League title by shutting out the Boise Hawks, 5-0. Vancouver wins the best-of-three series two games to one.
This one really came down to one play. In the bottom of the third inning with two on and two out, Hawks center fielder Kevin Encarnacion misjudged a fly ball off the bat of NWL MVP L.B. Dantzler. By the time he recovered, the ball was over his head for a two-run double. Since Boise was completely shut down by Vancouver starter Tom Robson, that was all the Canadians would need.
Vancouver did get three more insurance runs in the eighth inning off of Hawks reliever Zack Godley, but it ultimately didn't make any difference.
Michael Wagner started and took the loss. He gave up two runs on three hits over 3.1 innings. Wagner walked one and struck out one.
Boise only had four hits in this game. Right fielder Rony Rodriguez hit a double to leadoff the seventh inning when the score was still 2-0, but he couldn't advance beyond third base. He was 1 for 4.
Shortstop Danny Lockhart, forced to play out of position because Carlos Penalver couldn't enter Canada, made throwing errors in both the first and second innings. However, neither error led to a run. But a ground ball that Penalver may have gotten to went past Lockhart for a single in the eighth and cost the Hawks two runs. But it was already 3-0 at that point.
With this, the 2013 Cubs minor league season comes to an end. They had three playoff teams and one champion.
I'll probably take tomorrow off, but I'll have plenty more to write in the days ahead. Later in the week, I'll start a review of the minor league season for the top five teams. And I'm sure Al will have plenty of other things he wants me to write about.
But it's been my pleasure to bring this season to you. Thanks for reading and we'll do this again in April.