Augusta GreenJackets overcome odds for storybook season

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Adversity and resiliency were two words often used to describe the second half of the Augusta GreenJackets’ 2013 season.

Chris Stratton had a 3.27 ERA and 123 strikeouts to help Augusta secure a berth in the SAL playoffs.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/FILE
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/FILE
Chris Stratton had a 3.27 ERA and 123 strikeouts to help Augusta secure a berth in the SAL playoffs.

The GreenJackets stormed back from their season-long place in the middle of the pack with a sudden burst of energy that resulted in a second-half title in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division.

Although the season didn’t end as planned – the GreenJackets were swept in the first round of the playoffs by Savannah – the finish doesn’t take away from what the team accomplished.

Augusta trailed by as many as six games early in the second half after a 16-18 start after the All-Star break. What is referred to as the turnaround series came the first week of August, when the GreenJackets swept the Charleston RiverDogs over six games in four days.

Go back two more days when the GreenJackets took two of three from the Rome Braves, and Augusta recorded an 11-game winning streak, its second-longest streak in franchise history. Between July 30-Aug. 11, the GreenJackets played 137 innings over 14 days, finishing with a 13-2 record over that span.

From the beginning of the 11-game winning streak to the end of the season, they recorded a 29-6 mark. This boosted the GreenJackets to first place and a second-half championship.

“When the hitters aren’t hitting, the pitchers are picking us up. When the pitchers don’t have their stuff that day, the hitters are picking them up,” said third baseman Mitch Delfino during the clinching celebration on Aug. 28. “It’s been a really good group effort, this second half especially.”

The pitching staff was a big reason why Augusta remained in the race. Chris Stratton finished with a 3.27 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 132 innings; second-rounder Martin Agosta had a 2.06 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 91⅔ innings; and Kendry Flores had a 2.73 ERA with 137 strikeouts in 141⅔ innings.

It took much of the season for the offense to get on track, but it was key down the stretch. Delfino led the team with 13 home runs while hitting .270. Jesus Galindo had 48 stolen bases. Chuckie Jones turned a corner late to hit .236 with 10 home runs and 12 stolen bases.

Before his promotion, shortstop Matt Duffy was the team’s leading hitter at .307 with 45 walks and 22 stolen bases.


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