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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: September 21

The Smokies advance to the title series. Iowa wins 8th-straight.

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at San Diego Padres
Kevin Alcántara
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Right-handed reliever Frankie Scalzo Jr. was named to the Midwest League All-Star Team. Scalzo pitched 35 times for the Cubs and went 4-4 with a 2.35 ERA and ten saves. He struck out 64 and walked 21 in 66 13 innings.

Good news out of Chattanooga tonight.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies got in the eyes of the Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds), 5-1. The Smokies won the Southern League North Division playoffs two games to none.

Starter Walker Powell gave the Smokies a great chance to win with five innings, allowing just one run on three hits. Powell got the win after striking out six and walking no one.

The Smokies took the lead in the second inning with a three-run home run by center fielder Kevin Alcántara. Alcántara was 1 for 4.

The Smokies tacked on another run in the second inning when left fielder Christian Franklin came up after Alcántara and doubled. Shortstop Andy Weber then singled him home. Franklin was 1 for 3 and Weber went 2 for 4.

Frankie Scalzo Jr., who was promoted to the Smokies at the end of August, pitched 1.2 scoreless innings of relief, striking out two and giving up one hit and no walks.

The Smokies will play the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Marlins) in a best-of-three Championship Series starting on Sunday in Tennessee. This is a matchup of last year’s title series, won by Pensacola in three games.

Alcántara’s home run.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs won their eighth-straight game, 7-6 in ten innings over the Louisville Bats (Reds). It’s Iowa’s longest winning streak since they won eight-straight in 2019.

Starter Stephen Gonsalves gave up a solo home run to lead off the second inning, but otherwise danced out of trouble. Gonsalves allowed one run on three hits and three walks over two innings. He struck out two.

The I-Cubs fell into a hole when Chris Clarke got hammered for four runs, two earned, in the third inning.

Keegan Thompson pitched a scoreless eighth inning and had a chance to end the game in regulation, but he gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth. Thompson still got the win when Iowa scored in the top of the tenth. The final line on Thompson was one run on two hits and a walk over two innings. He struck out two.

Tyler Duffey pitched the bottom of the tenth, didn’t allow a run and got the save. Duffey allowed no hits. He walked one and struck out three.

First baseman Matt Mervis clubbed his 22nd minor league home run with the bases empty in the top of the first inning. Mervis was 1 for 4.

Catcher PJ Higgins broke a 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth with a solo home run. It was his fifth with the I-Cubs and 11th overall. Higgins went 2 for 4 with a walk. He drove in two runs and scored twice.

Center fielder Darius Hill tripled home Higgins in the sixth inning and then scored on a throwing error on the play for a “Little League home run.” He also tied up the game in the seventh with an RBI single. Hill was 3 for 5 with the two RBI.

Right fielder Brennen Davis went 2 for 5. His RBI single in the top of the tenth turned out to be the winning margin.

Mervis’ big blast.

Higgins’ homer.

Davis’ game-winning hit.