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September 15, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Teel blasts first Double-A homer; Monegro sends Drive to SAL finals

9/15 Cup of Coffee:
The Greenville Drive are headed to the South Atlantic League championship after sweeping Hickory in the best-of-three series. Yordanny Monegro (pictured) was excellent on the mound and Eddinson Paulino delivered the key hit to propel the Drive to victory. Both teams still playing out the regular-season schedule dropped their contests on Thursday. Kyle Teel delivered his first Double-A home run in Portland's loss, while Worcester continues to slip out of the International League playoff picture. 


With scheduled starter Brandon Walter joining the major league squad, the WooSox turned to a bullpen game to try to avoid a second straight loss at Polar Park. Oddanier Mosqueda got the first call, giving up three runs on five hits in two innings, including a pair of round-trippers. Brendan Nail was Worceter's most effective hurler, going two hitless innings with a walk and a strikeout. David Hamilton led the offense, going 2 for 4 with a run scored and a pair of RBI. Enmanuel Valdez singled and drew a pair of walks on the night.

Worcester's long-shot playoff chances continued to dim, as the loss combined with a Durham win brought the team to 6 1/2 games back in the division with eight contests remaining.


Portland fell despite strong efforts from a trio of top prospects. First-round pick Kyle Teel, currently ranked fifth in the system, blasted his first Double-A home run and second as a professional. The second-inning two-run shot came as part of a 2-for-4 effort that raised his average to .370 in eight Sea Dogs appearances. Roman Anthony also collected a pair of hits, adding an RBI. Anthony is 9 for 28 (.321) since he joined Teel moving up from Greenville last week. Starter Wikelman Gonzalez made his final start of an outstanding 2023 season, allowing three runs (two earned) in five innings. He struck out five batters, giving him 168 on the season, most by a Red Sox minor leaguer since Mike Shawaryn fanned 169 back in 2017. 


Despite an uneven second half and the losses of several top prospects to promotions, Greenville swept Hickory two games to none to claim the South Atlantic League South Division title. Kristian Campbell delivered a two-run single in the second to kick off the Drive's run-scoring. Three batters later, Eddinson Paulino delivered a bases-clearing double that gave Greenville a commanding 5-1 lead. Paulino was an appropriate choice to play hero, having spent the entire season with the Drive and leading the team in nearly every offensive statistical category.

The advantage was plenty for starting pitcher Yordanny Monegro, who cruised through five innings, allowing two runs on six hits. He struck out seven, walked one, and got credit for the victory. Robert Kwiatkowski fired two scoreless frames and Franklin German struck out the side in a perfect eighth before Hickory clawed one run back against Brock Bell

Greenville will meet the winner of Friday's matchup between Jersey Shore (PHI) and Hudson Valley (NYY) in the South Atlantic League finals beginning on Sunday.


Player of the Day: Unranked to start the season coming off an inconsistent year in the Florida Complex League, Yordanny Monegro has made the leap into the system's top 25 prospects. If Thursday's division series victory was his final start of 2023, it was the perfect cap on his breakthrough year. Monegro led all pitchers in the system (minimum 60 innings) with a 2.06 ERA across his three levels, striking out 12.75 batters per nine innings, and going until his final start of the season before allowing his first home run. 

Photo Credit: Yordanny Monegro by Kelly O'Connor