The Atlanta Braves rookie league affiliate FCL Braves are now a team of champions, as they took down the FCL Yankees on Saturday by a score of 9-1 to sweep the three game Florida Complex League championships series. Just a month ago it seemed the season would draw to a disappointing close as they sat just 15-19, but the Braves ended their season on an absolute heater and finished the season 15-5 and win the wild card. Despite holding a run differential on the season of -7 the team still went into their semifinal game confident against the first place Mets who finished 32-18. As the major league regular season has shown the Braves simply own the New York organizations, and the semifinal wasn’t a contest with it ending 7-1 in favor of Atlanta. Davis Polo pitched four innings of scoreless ball in his start and Isaiah Drake drove in two runs.
Friday afternoon was a different story, as the Yankees came to town to face the Braves and gave them a battle. Fortunately for the Braves they had a pair of draft picks in Riley Gowens and Mitch Farris on the mound, along with Brooks Wilson making his first rehab appearance since June. The Braves snuck out a 3-2 win, with a home run from Douglas Glod being the big blast of the game.
Isaiah Drake, CF: 1-3, 2 BB
Diego Benitez, SS: 2-4, BB, RBI, 2 R
Douglas Glod, RF: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI
Harry Owen, C: 2-4, BB, 2 RBI
Rolando Gutierrez, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Isaiah Drake’s professional career got off to an inauspicious start as he could not buy a hit early this season, but as he heated up late so too did the Braves and Drake was the star out of the leadoff spot this postseason. Drake reached base twice in each of the first two postseason games, and he started out the clinching game by drawing a walk. Drake then stole third base and was brought home to score the game’s first run by a Diego Benitez triple. Rolando Gutierrez had the start for the day, and he gave back the run in a hurry as a two-out error by him allowed the tying run to score. Gutierrez would then dig in, covering five straight scoreless innings to earn the win and lead the pitching staff to a victory.
Harry Owen played a big part of this game as well, and he lead off in the second inning by drawing a walk. After a wild pitch and an infield single advanced Owen just 90 feet away from giving the Braves the lead again a two out balk scored him for the second run of the game. Drake then drew a walk and Luis Sanchez extended the lead with an RBI single. Both pitching staffs then did well to quell the tides and through the seventh the game stayed tight at 3-1. The Yankees started off in the eighth inning by walking the bases loaded, once again bringing up Owen with a chance to break the game open. Owen came through, knocking a two-run single that gave the Braves bullpen breathing room down the stretch.
Jose Ojeda led the charge for the Braves bullpen as he got the ball in the seventh inning. Ojeda struck out the first batter he faced, and after finishing out the seventh inning was given the reins to the eighth as well. Ojeda allowed a hit in the eighth inning but got three ground ball outs to push the Braves three outs away from a title. The offense got active again in the ninth inning, with Luis Sanchez and Diego Benitez each singling to put runners on the corners with one out. Robert Gonzalez followed with an RBI single to score Benitez and the runs kept pouring on. Douglas Glod came through with a massive extra base hit for the second straight day, doubling into left field to score Benitez and Gonzalez and extend the lead to 8-1. Glod was himself scored on a sacrifice fly from Noah Williams for the fourth and final run of the inning. Ojeda strode back to the mound for the ninth inning, and quickly got a line out for the first out. He followed that up with a strikeout, just his second and the team’s fourth of the game, and it was down to ninth place hitter Edinson Duran. Duran grounded out to Diego Benitez, and the championship was secured. The Braves pitching staff allowed just four runs in three postseason games, outscoring their opponents 19-4.