Cubs' Daytona club wins FSL title
Congrats to the Cubs’ Class A Daytona affiliate for winning the Florida State League championship Monday night with a 4-0, 1-hit victory over Charlotte. Starting pitcher C.J. Edwards combined with reliever Ryan Searle on the 1-hitter as the Cubs won their second Florida State League title in three years.
Elsewhere, Class AA Tennessee was eliminated from the Southern League playoffs with a 7-4 loss to Birmingham. Javier Baez hit a long 2-run homer for Tennessee, which lost the best-of-five series three games to two.
Class A Boise fell 5-0 to Vancouver, which claimed its third straight Northwest League title.
The winning Daytona team finished red-hot, winning 13 of 14 to close the regular season and then won five of six in the postseason. Cubs starting pitchers did not allow a run in 33 innings. Edwards, obtained from the Rangers in the Matt Garza trade, picked up 2 victories in 10.1 scoreless innings as he walked one and struck out 11.
"Tonight I went out and said I was going to leave it all on the field," Edwards told the team’s web site. "All I wanted to do is give my team the best chance to win. I couldn't have been traded to a better team. I love to win and this team loves to win as much as I do."
“The run that we've been on the second half is phenomenal,” Cubs manager Dave Keller told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “Credit goes to our pitching. Our pitchers showed up every day and we found a way to manufacture enough runs to take the lead and win games.
“What a great feeling. I feel it for those guys out there because those are the guys that bust their tail every day to make it right. I want these guys to enjoy the moment, enjoy the fun because they just accomplished something really special. This doesn't happen all the time. The way that we did it, the roll that we got on was just awesome.”
Dan Vogelbach, who opened the year with the Kane County Cougars, was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Chad Krist was 2-for-4, as was Wes Darvill.
"This is the best feeling in the world," Vogelbach tweeted Monday night. "Champions with the best team (and) boys I could ask for."
Shortstop Elliot Soto, a graudate of Dundee-Crown High School, made a pair of nice plays Monday, including one to end the game.
"I think the most important thing I can bring to the team is defense," Soto told the web site. "Defense wins championships, and the most important thing you can do for your pitchers and your team is play good defense."
Tennessee committed 4 errors in the fourth inning, leading to 4 runs for Birmingham, which will face Mobile in the championship series.
“Smokies Park turned into the United Way center,” Smokies manager Buddy Bailey told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “That inning, we had one out and two free runners on base and 4 errors in the matter of two different hitters. We could have got out of it, but it changed the momentum. We’re basically going home because of charity.”
Neil Ramirez started for Tennessee and went 3.1 innings, giving up 5 hits and 5 runs, 3 earned. Matt Loosen relieved Ramirez.
“Loosen dominated the game,” Bailey said in the same story. “We would be sitting here talking about going to the finals and the job he did for us tonight if we had won. But we didn’t make the plays.”
Baez wound up with 22 home runs and 58 RBI in 59 games, including the playoffs, for Tennessee.
Boise played without several key players, who could not travel to Canada because of passport or visa issues. Michael Wagner took the loss for the Hawks as he worked 3.1 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 runs. It was Boise’s second straight championship appearance.