The GCL Yankees advanced in the playoffs Friday. The GCL Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs Friday. Both of these statements are true because the GCL Yankees 1 defeated the GCL Yankees 2 8-4 in a one-game semifinal of the Gulf Coast League playoffs.
As late as the top of the sixth inning, the Yankees 2 led 4-1. They scored a run in the top of the fifth on a Junior Valera RBI single and, in a three-run sixth, the Yankees 2 got an RBI single from Jose Augusto Figueroa and a two-run, pinch-hit double from Jake Anderson. In the bottom half of the inning, the Yankees 1 came roaring back. They put four runs on the board to take the lead behind two-run singles by Thairo Estrada and Dalton Smith. The game was put out of reach in the bottom of the seventh when the Yankees 1 scored three times on back-to-back homers by Bryan Cuevas and Thairo Estrada and a Drew Bridges RBI single.
The teams combined for twenty hits, with the Yankees 2 getting three hits from Kevin Alexander and two from Junior Valera and the Yankees 1 having two-hit games from Thairo Estrada and Leonardo Molina.
Eleven pitchers appeared in the game. For the Yankees 2, all of the damage was done against Nestor Cortes, Mike Noteware, and Jose Pena, who combined gave up eight runs and nine hits in 4.1 innings. The win went to Travis Hissong, although the most effective pitchers for the Yankees 1 were starter Reynaldo Polanco and closer Jonny Drozd. They threw a combined five shutout innings. Another pitcher to throw a scoreless inning for the Yankees 1 was Jose Mesa, who hadn’t pitched since August 4.
The Yankees 1 will host the GCL Red Sox in a best-of-three championship series beginning Saturday.