Pirates claim GCL championship

Pittsburgh's Rookie-level affiliate ends 44-year wait for title

By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com | August 29, 2012 12:33 PM ET

There were essentially three managers in the Gulf Coast League Pirates' dugout on Wednesday afternoon, but they had no problem sharing one title.

With official skipper Tom Prince supervising and coach Milzer Reyes calling the shots, the Pirates pulled off a two-game sweep of the Red Sox with a 5-2 win to capture the club's first GCL Championship since joining the circuit in 1968.

And no one wanted the credit: Prince deferred to Reyes, who "has been running the club the last month and a half," and Reyes was quick to say, "This is for Woody Huyke."

How could it not be? Huyke, also a Pirates coach, managed Pittsburgh's GCL affiliate for 29 seasons without winning a title. He turns 75 next month and has an early birthday present to close his seventh year as an assistant on the bench.

"He was the manager for so many years. We gave him a huge hug," said Reyes, a former Bucs farmhand, who last played at Class A Advanced Bradenton in 2010. "It's very special for him and for us. These kids did such a good job. They celebrated after doing what we wanted to to do: improve."

Did anyone get better than starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow? Pittsburgh's fifth-round draftee in 2011 struck out a career-high seven batters over four one-hit scoreless innings. He said his ability to command his fastball and curveball paved the way for his success.

"Knowing it was a big game, I just tried to keep everything the same, treat it just like any other game," said Glasnow, who was informed he would be making the start not long after his appearance last Friday, in which he yielded a run on four walks and couldn't escape the first inning.

"He was pounding the zone today," Reyes said.

The 19-year-old right-hander finished his season by allowing two earned runs over his last nine outings, spanning 25 2/3 innings.

There was just enough offensive support. The Pirates scored the game's first runs not long after Glasnow's exit, with one out in the bottom of the fourth: Eighth-place hitting right fielder Luis Urena lifted a three-run longball off Red Sox reliever Francellis Montas (0-1).

"It was awesome to get that insurance," Glasnow said. "It was such a big hit."

"The big home run opened the rally," Reyes added of Urena, who batted an even .200 in 47 regular-season games. "He had been struggling. He did the job we believe he could do. We knew he had a good swing. He's got some tools."

Leadoff man and second baseman Dilson Herrera singled and walked in four plate appearances after flirting with the cycle in Tuesday's Game 1 win.

"He was very consistent, one of the keys [of the season]," Reyes said. "Everyone put something in to get where we are."

The Pirates added two runs in the fifth -- Eric Wood and Edwin Espinal each doubled during the rally -- and reliever Bryton Trepagnier (1-0) earned the win by pitching a scoreless seventh and eighth.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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