Monday, September 27, 2021
With a tough catch in foul territory by third baseman CJ Alexander in the ninth, last night the Mississippi Braves defeated the Montgomery Biscuits to win the Double-A South League championship. Faced with a Game 5 on Sunday, the M-Braves put a perfect bow on what was an incredible 2021 season.
The scoring started in the second inning, after a scoreless first. Mississippi starter Alan Rangel – who wound up pitching the game of his life on Sunday – worked around a single and a walk in the opening frame, but ran into trouble the next inning, allowing a one-out single, a stolen base and then a sac-fly to give the Biscuits its first run of the game. However, that’s literally all the damage Rangel surrendered in this outing. Following a lead-off single in the third, the 24-year-old righty set down 12 consecutive batters before being replaced by reliever Brandon White to begin the seventh inning. Rangel’s final line was solid: 6 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 8 K.
The man who gave the M-Braves the last out was the one who put the offense on the board first. In the second, down 1-0, Alexander slapped an RBI double to right to make it a tied game.
Of course… Rangel just kept dealing…
Then, like so many times during the final few weeks of this campaign, Greyson Jenista came through with a huge hit in the fifth. Following back-to-back strikeouts by Drew Lugbauer and Luke Waddell, Jenista put a charge in one and drove a solo-homer out to center to put the M-Braves up 2-1.
The Mississippi bullpen was terrific. White tossed a scoreless seventh, striking out two, and then Jake Higginbotham and Nolan Kingham each worked scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively. From the fourth frame up to the eighth, the Biscuits didn’t record a single hit.
The win wasn’t in usual fashion for the M-Braves, whose lineup has been perhaps one of the best in the minors in 2021. Both Mississippi and Montgomery combined for just eight hits in the championship game on Sunday, and Alexander’s double to go with Jenista’s homer were the only two XBH.
With the M-Braves 2021 season now over, and Gwinnett down to its final five games (both Rome and Augusta’s seasons are done as well), soon I’ll start putting out some team-by-team season recaps (along with my team awards). As far as the Braves minor league system goes, though, this Mississippi club was by the far the most talented affiliate within the organization in 2021.