Had a chance to watch the GCL Phillies in action on Friday and it was one of the best games I have seen all season.
Roly DeArmas’ guys pulled out a 3-2 with over the GCL Tigers West to extend their lead to two games over the GCL Blue Jays in the torrid race for first place in the Northwest division of the Gulf Coast League.
They have now won seven games in a row in the battle for the playoff spot.
Thanks to a triple by catcher Rodolfo Duran over the centerfielder’s head in the fifth and scoring on a wild pitch gave the Phillies their first run.
Right fielder Josh Stephen lined a two-run, home to right off the Tiger’s team bus sitting behind the right field fence in the bottom of the eight which turned out to be just enough for the 3-2 win. The 18- year-old, 11th round 2015 draft pick is one to keep an eye on.
The blast by Stephen was hit so hard on the line that the bus driver immediately after the long ball drove the bus for cover behind the scoreboard in right center at Ashburn Field.
It was great pitching by Mauricio Llovero who stuck out seven in five innings that held off the Tigers.
It was defense in the top of the ninth with a run in and runners at first and second that saved the day.
Closer Jose Nin induced a hard hit ground ball to third baseman Danny Zardon. He just missed tagging the runner going by but threw to second baseman Daniel Brito for the force out at second and then on to first to get a double play that save the game. Watch the near miss triple play HERE. Nin then got a fly ball out to right to end the game.
The GCL Phillies have the lowest ERA in the league at 2.57 and the highest OPS at .738 and scored the most runs.
It was just plain good baseball with timely hitting, good pitching and excellent defense that won this game for the GCL Phillies and the reasons why they have won all season. Watch the celebration HERE. They are learning not only how to play baseball but how to win!
They now have the best record in minor or major league baseball at 41-14 going into Saturday’s game for a .745 winning percent.
They have five games remaining including two games to end the season Wednesday and Thursday with the second place Blue Jays. These games will likely determine which team makes the Gulf Coast League playoffs.