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Zardon powers Phillies into GCL Finals

First base prospect hits early homer; Cardinals advance past Red Sox
September 4, 2016

Danny Zardon's big year will end with a big game.

The Phillies' 17th-round pick smacked a two-run homer in the first inning to send the Phillies to a 4-3 win over the Braves and a spot in the Gulf Coast League Championship Series.

Mickey Moniak got on base the hard way in the bottom of the first, getting plunked by Braves starter Kyle Muller (0-1). The first overall pick in this year's Draft came around to score as Zardon followed with a two-run blast to left field. 

"It was my first at-bat of the day and we hadn't played in a few days, so I was just looking to get something I could hit hard," Zardon said. "It was a fastball up and in and I got the barrel on it."

Moniak made his presence felt again in the fifth as the Phillies top prospect smacked an RBI double to left off reliever Bryse Wilson.

"He does such a good job at a lot of different things," Zardon said of his fellow Draft pick, "whether it's drop down a bunt for a base hit, use all parts of the field or get the big hit when we need it."

After being Drafted out Nova Southeastern University in June, Zardon hit .260 with 17 RBIs in 36 regular-season games, while the 18-year-old Moniak slashed .284/.340/.409 with a homer and 28 RBIs in 46 games. 

"It's an awesome experience to be able to play for a championship in my first professional season," Zardon said. "Just to be able to be playing deep into a season and have the opportunity to bring a title back into the Phillies organization is really cool for the whole team."

Sixto Sanchez (1-0) scattered four hits and struck out four over seven scoreless innings for the Phillies. The Braves got within a run in the ninth, but Jose Nin recorded the final three outs to get the save.

The Phillies will meet the Cardinals in the Finals. Game 1 of the best-of-3 series is Monday at the Cardinals complex in Jupiter, Florida.

In other playoff action:

GCL Cardinals 6, Red Sox 2: Seventeen-year-old Alvaro Seijas (1-0) gave up three hits and two walks while striking out three over five scoreless innings for the Cards. Stefan Trosclair, a 20th-round pick this year, homered and drove in two runs for the winners. Box score

Michael Leboff is a contributor to