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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Joey Estes strikes out 14 in complete game

Pitching ruled the day for the Braves system with outstanding outings from Joey Estes and Bryce Elder

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Estes was the highlight for the Atlanta Braves system on the night, putting together a 14 strikeout pitching showcase in Low-A. Bryce Elder was not far off with six shutout innings and nine strikeouts for Mississippi. The offense down in Augusta has gotten going with all the new faces added, and they put up three home runs in the first four innings of the game to leave no doubt.

(50-39) Gwinnett Stripers 1, (56-32) Durham Bulls 8

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 1-4, .258/.332/.449
  • William Contreras, C: 1-4, .336/.393/.626
  • Drew Waters, LF: 1-2, BB, .255/.349/.415
  • Jasseel De La Cruz, SP: 0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 6.59 ERA
  • Thomas Burrows, RP: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2.41 ERA

It was not a day to remember for the Gwinnett Stripers all around. Offensively, their only hit through the first four innings was a second inning single from Johan Camargo. They found themselves in a 6-0 hole at that point and there was no coming back from that. The Stripers put up somewhat of a fight in the fifth inning against the first reliever out of the bullpen but to no result. William Contreras had a one out single and Drew Waters followed with a walk to put a runner in scoring position for the first time, but the next batter grounded into an inning ending double play to erase and lingering threat. The Stripers eighth inning was their most productive and was led off by a single from Waters. After a wild pitch advanced him to second base he came in to score on a single from Ryan Goins to get Gwinnett on the board. Cristian Pache also had a hit in the inning, but no more runs came across and Gwinnett went down quietly in the ninth.

For all the bad that was the hitting, the pitching was even worse, and brings up real concern about starter Jasseel De La Cruz. De La Cruz never got the least bit comfortable. After a hit and a four pitch walk to open the inning he immediately allowed back to back doubles, bringing in three runs and leading to a mound visit. This mound visit led to a visit from the trainer and De La Cruz was pulled from the game after 19 pitches. We don’t have any information at this time, but De La Cruz seemed to be struggling throughout the game with his grip so the hope here is that he’s dealing with either a blister or a numbness issue that is minor. He didn’t outwardly show any pain or discomfort throughout the game. Connor Johnstone did a fine job in long relief of De La Cruz. He finished out the first with no more damage allowed and managed to fill up three innings and only allow one more run to keep the Stripers somewhat in the game. Chasen Bradford allowed two runs in his only inning of work, but the rest of the bullpen held fairly strong. Jay Flaa went 1 23 scoreless innings and Thomas Burrows followed him with 1 13 scoreless to get the game through the seventh. Yoan Lopez had some struggles with one earned and one unearned run over 1 23 innings, but he struck out three batters.

Next Game: 8/15 vs (56-32) Durham Bulls @ 1:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: Nolan Kingham (0-4. 9.99 ERA)


(53-36) Mississippi Braves 4, (32-57) Biloxi Shuckers 0

Box Score

  • Trey Harris, RF: 2-4, RBI, .239/.316/.339
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 0-4, .234/.277/.397
  • Shea Langeliers, C: 0-2, 2 BB, .268/.346/.533
  • Bryce Elder, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 3.21 ERA
  • Brooks Wilson, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1.96 ERA

Bryce Elder brought his A game for the Braves and the offense provided enough support for Mississippi to take their eighth straight win. Mississippi had to string together a rally in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. A single for Trey Harris got the ball rolling and with two outs Shea Langeliers drew a walk to push Harris to second base and Wendell Rijo came through with an RBI single to put the Braves on top. The offense was quiet for the next three innings before getting back on the wagon in the fifth. Hendrik Clementina drew a walk and advanced to second base on a single, and Trey Harris drove in the game’s second run on a base hit. In the 8th inning the Braves got some big insurance, with Shea Langeliers drawing a walk and Wendell Rijo crushing a two run home run to make it 4-0. That was Rijo’s 13th home run of the season, tying his career high set back in 2019.

Bryce Elder has been the most consistent starter in the Braves system this season, but sometime he mixes in dominance to that consistency and today was that day. The Shuckers got some hard hit balls in the game, but Elder got stronger as he went on. He set down the first six he faced with two, but there was a bit of a hiccup in the third. Two hits and a walk loaded the bases against him with no outs in the inning but he responded by striking out the next three hitters to escape. He added two more strikeouts in the fourth inning and then in the sixth topped off his start with a 1-2-3 inning and a couple of more strikeouts. Elder moved to 7-1 with the Braves since his promotion and has completed six or more innings in seven consecutive starts. The bullpen stepped up behind Elder and closed out the game with no worries. Sean McLaughlin threw a scoreless seventh with a strikeout and the only baserunner came via error. Troy Bacon worked around a leadoff single to pitch a scoreless eighth inning. In the ninth Mississippi turned to star reliever Brooks Wilson and all he did was strike out all three batters he faced to close out the game.

Next Game: 8/15 vs (32-57) Biloxi Shuckers @ 3:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Freddy Tarnok (1-0,1.65 ERA)

BLX: Jesus Castillo (3-6, 5.37 ERA)

(39-49) Rome Braves 0, (40-47) Hickory Crawdads 0 - Suspended B1

Next Game: 8/15 @ (40-47) Hickory Crawdads @ 3:00 PM ET

Probable Starters



(39-50) Augusta GreenJackets 8, (26-63) Kannapolis Intimidators 2

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, 2B: 2-5, RBI, .308/.404/.436
  • Cal Conley, SS: 3-5, .276/.344/.379
  • Bryson Horne, 1B: 3-5, HR, 3 RBI, .266/.311/.413
  • Joey Estes, SP: 9 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 14 K, 2.69 ERA

Augusta is on a roll against the horrible Cannon Ballers, and they find themselves one game away from a sweep. Augusta jumped all over the Kannapolis starter with the first two batters of the game reaching before a Bryson Horne home run put the GreenJackets up 3-0. After an error put another runner on base Landon Stephens hit his 14th home run of the season to make it 5-0. With Joey Estes on the mound the game was already over. In the second inning Stephens doubled in a run for his third RBI of the game. The GreenJackets kept the ball rolling in the third inning. Tyler Tolve had a one out double to put a runner in scoring position and Vaughn Grissom’s second hit of the game brought in the seventh run. Just for fun in the fourth Willie Carter topped off the scoring with this gargantuan home run into the apartments. That was all the scoring Augusta had in the game and all they would need as they cruised to a win.

It was a night to remember for Joey Estes, as he cruised by his career highs in innings and strikeouts and finished the first nine inning complete game for any Braves starter at any level. Estes started the game as strong as he finished, with an easy eight pitch inning and a strikeout. He cruised as well through a perfect second inning and two more strikeouts before running into his only trouble in the third inning. A single led off the inning and one big mistake led to a two run home run that was the only runs scored against him. Estes responded the way he does by striking out the next two batters. He dominated again in the fourth with two more strikeouts and a foul pop out. For those counting that is 7 strikeouts through 4 innings. Estes allowed an infield single in the fifth inning and only recorded one more strikeout through the end of the sixth. This was just the beginning, as he put on a show late in the game. Estes has struggled all year with maintaining his velocity and movement deep into games, but that was not a problem tonight as he maintained 93-94 to the last pitch and the fastball had serious bit that the hitters couldn’t catch up to. He struck out the side in the seventh inning, tying his career high with 11 strikeouts.

With his pitch count at only 86 they sent him out for the seventh and he was nearly immaculate. Estes struck out the first three batters on six total pitches, but after a first pitch strike in the seventh the chase was ended as he sailed a fastball a bit outside. No matter, he got two more swinging strikes immediately to finish off a 10 pitch, three strikeout inning. His total on the day was now at 14 strikeouts, and they allowed him to come out to complete the game. Estes was not as fine with his pitches in the ninth inning, but got two quick outs and seemed on the verge of a complete game. The first pitch he threw to the third batter however went for the first hit off of him since the fifth. A mound visit followed, and some credit has to be thrown here to GreenJackets manager Michael Saunders. Estes wanted to compete and finish out the game and Saunders gave him some leeway here and allowed him to stay in the game to complete it. Estes responded and retired the final batter of the game on a fly out. Estes has been incredible all season, but this start took him to new heights. 14 strikeouts is an incredible number and combined with him not walking or hitting a single batter and holding his stuff and command deep into the game. He showed a lot of poise by responding and coming back stronger each time he was tested a bit in the game. All in all, an absolute wonderful start to continue a wonderful season for Estes. The future is very bright for the 19 year old.

Next Game: 8/15 vs (26-63) Kannapolis Cannonballers @ 5:05 PM ET

Probable Starters



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