The Eastern League took notice of a no-hit bid by Akron’s Sean Brady last week as the RubberDucks’ left-hander was named the Pitcher of the Week for games played between July 9 and July 15.
Brady made his lone start of the week on Saturday, July 14, and stymied the visiting Binghamton Rumble Ponies for much of the night, giving up just three hits in seven and two-thirds scoreless innings in a tough no-decision.
Cleveland prospects getting a little extra time in the sun in the desert of Arizona saw their offseason activity come to a close last Thursday with the completion of the Arizona Fall League regular season schedule.
Tribe players teamed with those from the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates to form the Glendale Desert Dogs roster. Glendale finished with a winning record at 16-14, but landed two games in back of the Peoria Javelinas (18-12) for the top mark in the AFL West Division.
Arizona Fall League play is under way as some of the top prospects around the minor league landscape pair up for competition in the annual six-team offseason league.
Hopeful prospects are a week into the six-week schedule as players work to hone their craft against a collection of some of the best up-and-coming names working their way through the levels of professional baseball. The Indians are well represented in their home-away-from-home in Arizona, where eight of their minor leaguers help make up the roster of the Glendale Desert Dogs.
Those eight Indians prospects have teamed up with representatives from the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates for league action in Glendale this year, after Cleveland players worked with different clubs while playing for the Mesa Solar Sox last October and November.
For the second consecutive season as a Cleveland Indians’ affiliate, the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats reached the Carolina League playoffs. This year they took it one step further, winning the Northern Division playoff against the Potomac Nationals and advancing to the Mills Cup Championship before bowing to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who would win their second consecutive Carolina League title.
The Hillcats’ success as a team was achieved through a combination of a strong offense and consistent pitching.
More than five innings of shutout baseball from starter Sean Brady and a two-run home run from Yu-Cheng Chang late pushed Lynchburg past Potomac, 3-1, to win the Carolina League’s Northern Division Championship Series.
The Hillcats advance to the Mills Cup Championship and will face the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Saturday. The Pelicans knocked off the Salem Red Sox late on Friday night, 2-1, to clinch their third consecutive Southern Division Championship Series victory.
It was a bit of a rough week for the Lynchburg Hillcats as the roster was the target of plenty of trade rumors over the course of the week while the club lost a series at home to Wilmington before splitting a four-game set in Winston-Salem against the Dash to close out the month of July.
The Blue Rocks took the opening and closing games of their series at the beginning of the week, with the Hillcats holding on to a 5-4 eight-inning win in a rain-shortened game on Tuesday. Winston-Salem scored eight times on nine hits in the fourth inning on Thursday and dealt the Hillcats their first shutout of the season on Friday night in a 4-0 loss to the Dash. Lynchburg bounced back to split the series with a pair of wins on Saturday and Sunday by 5-2 and 5-3 finals.
The Hillcats return home for four games in three days with the Potomac Nationals on Monday before hitting the road for four games in Salem to wrap up the week. They will follow the trip with a three-game stay in Potomac.
In other Hillcats chatter:
The Lynchburg Hillcats may have already clinched a playoff berth with their strong first half, but it hasn’t stopped them from playing hard in pursuit of the second half crown as well. A 12-10 win on Saturday helped the club keep pace with the Potomac Nationals for the top spot in the Carolina League’s Northern Division, as both teams currently reside at 19-9 in the second half. The Hillcats have moved back into that top spot by winning ten of their last eleven games.
Last weekend, they swept the Wilmington Blue Rocks in four straight on the road to finish their road trip at 8-1 with one rainout. They returned home to host the Carolina Mudcats and won 3-0 on Thursday before splitting a doubleheader with a 15-1 win and a 10-3 loss. They won another slugfest on Saturday, 12-10. They will finish their series with Carolina on Sunday before hosting Wilmington for three, then will return to the road at Winston-Salem.
In other Hillcats chatter:
Rain has been about the only thing to stop the Lynchburg Hillcats on the road in the second half of the Carolina League season as the club improved to 10-2 away from home since the All-Star break with a lopsided 15-4 victory over the Blue Rocks on Saturday to start a four-game series in Wilmington.
The Hillcats wrapped up last weekend’s four-game series against Salem by alternating wins on Sunday and Monday. After a day off on Tuesday, they continued their road trip against Carolina, but the opener of the series was suspended by rain. Lynchburg claimed the continuation of the suspended game and the originally scheduled game on Thursday before Friday’s finale was washed out.
With their win on Saturday, Lynchburg kept pace with the first place Potomac Nationals, who lead the Carolina League Northern Division by one game.
In other Hillcats chatter:
Sean Brady was selected out of Ida Baker High School in Cape Coral Florida in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. Though he has only been pitching professionally for four seasons, baseball has been part of this life for as long as he can remember.
“Like everybody, I’ve been playing since I was 3 years old,” said Brady.
The Lynchburg Hillcats continue to chalk up series wins and splits, using quality starting pitching and some of the top run producers in the Carolina League to guide their powerful club.
The Hillcats finished off a four-game sweep of the Carolina Mudcats in Zebulon last weekend before splitting four at home against Frederick. On the front end of a home-and-home series with rival Salem, they won the opener of the Lynchburg portion of the trip, 8-2, on Friday. On Saturday, they overcame an eight-run deficit, only to give up the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth in a 12-11 loss to Salem. The Hillcats successfully surmounted a four-run hole on Sunday in a 7-4 victory on the Red Sox’s home field.
Lynchburg (10-7) trails the Potomac Nationals by two games in the Carolina League North standings after claiming the first half crown. The Hillcats will wrap up their home-and-home set with the Red Sox on Monday night before getting a day off. They will continue their road trip on Wednesday with three at Carolina and four at Wilmington next weekend.
In other Hillcats chatter:
The Lynchburg Hillcats took home their fourth weekly honor of the season as starting pitcher Sean Brady was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for the games played between June 27 and July 3.
The Lynchburg Hillcats have had problems with the weather all season long, so Saturday night’s game ending due to fog should be no major surprise. The team had four games postponed in May and two more in June due to weather issues and Saturday’s game against the Carolina Mudcats was delayed three hours before it started, only to be cut short at seven innings.
The Hillcats have bounced back nicely after being swept last weekend at home against the Potomac Nationals. They took to the road for a seven-game road trip and started it out by taking two of three from Wilmington. They closed the month of June with a win over Carolina and took the games on both Friday and Saturday from the Mudcats to secure the series win, with one more to play on Sunday night.