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Bryan Cuevas File Photo (Bryan Green)

GCL Yankees 1 & 2 Clinch Playoff Spots

There probably weren’t any corks popping in Tampa today, since many of the players can’t legally drink, but there was much to celebrate nonetheless. Both GCL Yankees teams clinched division championships on Wednesday, and they are now in line to meet each other in the first round of the playoffs. An organization having two teams in the same league is unique, and when they both have success it speaks to the quality of the players in the system.

The GCL Yankees 2 played only one game today, and they won it 7-0 over the Astros as they scored all of their runs in the fourth inning. They got three hits from shortstop Angel Aguilar, who continues to have a strong season now at .311/.373/.536 and seven homers. Also putting up more than one hit were first baseman Jake Hernandez and right fielder Kevin Alexander, and Junior Valera, Chris Gittens, Jose Augusto Figueroa, and Jordan Barnes all had singles. Catcher Jesus Aparicio was hitless but contributed two walks.

Domingo Acevedo, Jhon Morban, and Hector Martinez combined for a stellar pitching line of nine innings, five hits, no runs, two walks, and ten strikeouts. Morban (5-1) pitched 5.1 innings today, and he’s now given up only three runs in his last 19 innings pitched while striking out 20.

The GCL Yankees 1 swept a double header against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, winning 7-4 and 5-3 in two seven-inning contests.

The first game contained the power, as right fielder Alexander Palma and first baseman Dalton Smith both hit their fourth home runs. Palma’s was a three-run shot, and he drove in four on the day. As a prospect, Palma plays every day, and he began August hitting .242. He ended Wednesday with a .305 average, and he has just continued to hit for an extended part of the season.

Palma and Smith each had two hits, and the Yankees 1 also got a triple from second baseman Bryan Cuevas, a double from shortstop Thairo Estrada, and a single from catcher Alvaro Noriega. Cuevas also walked twice and scored three times.
When the offense scores seven times, the pitchers don’t have to be great, and Manolo Reyes and Travis Hissong weren’t. They were good enough, though, and they combined to strike out seven in seven innings.

Drew Bridges was the star of the offense in Game Two, as he doubled and tripled to drive in two. The Yankees 1 only had four hits in the game, the other two coming on singles by Dalton Smith and shortstop Allison Reyes.

Starter Hayden Sharp and relievers Chris Cabrera and Francis Joseph all gave up a run each, with Cabrera getting the win and Joseph the save. Sharp had a nice outing, going four innings and striking out five, and the relievers held on for a successful day in Dunedin.

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