Southern League Playoffs Begin Thursday

Smokies Vs. Barons And BayBears Vs. M-Braves

Thursday, September 05, 2013
Archie Bradley pitching at AT&T Field.
Archie Bradley pitching at AT&T Field.
- photo by Tim Evearitt
Entering the Southern League's 50th season this year, only one franchise had ever won three consecutive championships. Can Mobile make it two this milestone season?

Mobile BayBears (79-60, South Division champion) vs.
Mississippi Braves (76-63, South Division Wild Card)

Mobile had the best overall record in the league thanks to an impressive pitching staff and will have the advantage of a potential four home games as it faces Wild Card entrant Mississippi in their best-of-5 series beginning Thursday.

The North series will match second-half winner Tennessee, the league's most potent offensive team, against first-half champ Birmingham.

Pitching ruled in the Southern League this season, and no pitcher was more dominant than Mobile's Archie Bradley, who ranked seventh on MLB.com's list of Top 100 Prospects.

The 21-year-old right-hander led the Double-A circuit with 12 victories, despite starting the season in the Class A Advanced California League, and posted a 1.97 ERA with 119 strikeout in 123 1/3 innings.

 Bradley will try to get the BayBears off to a quick start in their quest for a third straight Southern League title, facing Mississippi on Thursday night in the opener of their semifinal series.

Bradley, 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA in two games against Mississippi, won his last six regular-season starts, including a combined no-hitter against Huntsville on Aug. 14. He posted a 1.24 ERA during the closing stretch and allowed just 23 hits in 36 1/3 innings.

It should be a pitching-dominated series as Mississippi was just behind Mobile with a 3.07 ERA and had a 2.73 ERA to Mobile's 2.82 in their 20 head-to-head meetings.

Gus Schlosser is the ace for Mississippi but won't be available to start until the third game as the Braves didn't secure a playoff spot until the final day of the regular season. His ERA of 2.39 ranked third in the league, and he was 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA in four starts against Mobile.

Birmingham Barons (77-63, North Division first-half champion) vs.
Tennessee Smokies (76-62, North Division second-half champion)

The Smokies ran away with the SL North's second-half with a 9.0 game lead over second place Jackson. The Lookouts finished last, 18 games back

The Tennessee Smokies are led by the Chicago Cubs top prospect Javier Baez. In the Lookouts' season series final, Baez hit two gigantic home runs. He drove in 54 runs in 54 games with Tennessee, and his 20 homers ranked fourth in the league despite his late arrival. His OPS was .983 thanks to a .638 slugging mark and he had a .294 batting average.

Those numbers over two months were impossible to ignore, which was why Baez was named to the season-ending All-Star Team in the Southern League, duplicating the honor he won in the Florida State League for his work the first three months of the season.

The Smokies already had the second-half lead in the North Division when Baez arrived, but he made sure they stayed there. Now he'll try to help lead Tennessee to its first Southern League title since being declared co-champion with Mississippi in 2004.

First-half North winner Birmingham certainly knows what Baez can do. He had five homers and 11 RBIs while batting .310 as the Smokies went 6-4 against the Barons in the second half.

Baez is ranked No. 9 among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects.

---- Source: MiLB.com


Javier Baez
Javier Baez
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt

Red Bank Eliminated From State Volleyball

SMYRNA, Tenn. – The TSSAA State Volleyball tournament didn’t start off like the Red Bank Lionettes would have liked. It didn’t end like they wanted either as they got eliminated by the Lady Indians of Harpeth. Red Bank ended its season at 28-27 following the three-set 25-6, 25-16 and 25-15 loss in its second match of the day. Facing the Lady Irish from Knoxville Catholic ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Volleyball Hosts UNCG, Mercer

The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team returns to Maclellan Gym   Friday   and   Saturday   after a four-match road trip kept the team away from the Scenic City for two weekends.  UTC welcomes UNCG and Mercer to campus for a couple of   6 p.m.   matchups, beginning with Greensboro   Friday . Currently commanding third in ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon, Then 2 Juveniles Shot At Rec Center On Oakwood Drive With Suspects In Custody

Chattanooga police officers responded to the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. Wednesday at 1:21 p.m., where residents say they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  The male victim was taken to a local hospital for life threatening gunshot wounds.  Later Wednesday, ... (click for more)

Several Arrested Outside Erlanger Hospital When Crowd Gathers After Woodlawn Shooting

Several people were arrested Monday night outside Erlanger Hospital after a crowd gathered and clashed with police. The crowd included family and friends of 20-year-old Apprentice Berry, who was shot multiple times and killed earlier Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments on Wilson Street. Erlanger officials said the group gathered at the emergency room, but were later moved ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)