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Baby Bombers 2014 Playoff Blog: Yankees1 win 'civil war' to advance to GCL Championship Series

08/29/2014 4:20 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Jorge Mateo's Yankees 1 team finished with the best record in the Gulf Coast League.(Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)
The Gulf Coast League finals are set, and it's the Yankees1 squad headed to the best-of-three championship series after an 8-4 win over the Yankees2 in Tampa Friday afternoon.

Down 4-1 after the Yankees2 scored three in the sixth, the home Yankees1 squad batted around and rallied for four in the bottom of the frame off pitchers Nestor Cortes and loser Mike Noteware, and they added three more in the seventh off Jose Pena thanks in part to back-to-back solo homers by Bryan Cuevas and Thairo Estrada.

The second baseman Estrada was the big hitter on the day for the Yankees1, going 2-for-4 with the solo homer, three RBI, and two runs scored; center fielder Leonardo Molina was also 2-for-4, Cuevas was 1-for-3 with a walk and the solo homer, first baseman Dalton Smith was 1-for-4 with 2 RBI, and third baseman Drew Bridges was also 1-for-4 with an RBI.

For the Yankees2, Jake Anderson was the offensive hero, with his pinch-hit two-run double in the sixth giving them their only lead of the day. Right fielder Kevin Alexander was 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored, second baseman Junior Valera was 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI, and left fielder Jose Augusto Figueroa was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

On the mound, undrafted free agent RHP Travis Hissong got the win for the Yankees1, despite allowing one run on two hits and two walks in his lone inning. Starter Reynaldo Polanco was effective, allowing three hits and striking out four in three scoreless, and both Jose Mesa (one BB, one K in a scoreless seventh) and Johnny Drozd (one hit, one walk in two scoreless innings) were strong in closing out the win.

Cortes, Noteware, and Pena had tough afternoons for the Yankees2, but starter Cale Coshow (0 H, 1 BB, 2 K in two scoreless innings) had another good outing and Joey Maher, who replaced Pena, stuck out Smith to escape further trouble in the seventh and worked around a leadoff single to pitch a scoreless eighth.

With the win, the Yankees1 will now face the Red Sox, who topped the Cardinals 7-4 in Friday's other semifinal, to determine the league champion. Game 1 will be Saturday at noon in Tampa, with Game 2 Sunday afternoon in Fort Myers and Game 3 if necessary back in Tampa on Monday.

Elsewhere in Baby Bombers action, the two other Yankees affiliates with playoff hopes kept their dreams alive with wins Thursday night.

In Florida, the Tampa Yankees topped Clearwater 8-2 to move within 2 ½ games of division-leader Daytona, and despite an elimination number of one, they will win the FSL North second-half title with a three-game sweep of the Cubs at Jackie Robinson Ballpark this weekend.

Back in the boroughs, meanwhile, the Staten Island Yankees beat Vermont 9-1, and when combined with Brooklyn's 4-3 loss to Tri-City, the win keeps the SI Yanks' slim hope for the wild-card entry into the New York-Penn League playoffs alive; they are 3 ½ games behind the Cyclones for that spot, and will still need to win out this weekend while hoping Brooklyn loses out and both Lowell (also 3 ½ games out) and Connecticut (two out) falter as well.

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