St. Lucie clinching the first half title was the last night’s highlight down on the farm! There were a few other games too, including the season opener in the Gulf Coast League:Durham 2, Buffalo 1Dylan Owen did a fine job, but took the loss. Owen pitched 6 innings, giving up just 2 runs while striking out 5. Dale Thayer had 2 scoreless frames in relief. Zach Lutz had 2 hits, including a home run to give the Herd its only run on the night. Nick Evans also had 2 hits.St. Lucie 3, Charlotte 2 11 inningsIn dramatic fashion, Cesar Puello launched a double to left field allowing Travis Ozga to score from first with the winning run to give the Mets a walk-off win to seal a playoff birth. (According to the radio broadcast, the team mobbed Puello at 2nd base afterwards. Championship t-shirts were also handed out while the song “Celebration” was played at Digital Domain Park *cough Tradition Field cough*. Here’s a picture from Matt Den Dekker’s twitter feed: Matt Harvey likely bid the Florida State League adieu with 6 strong innings, 2 runs, 1 earned, and 4 strikeouts. Josh Edgin allowed a runner inherited from Harvey to score, but was able to limit the damage. Nick Carr pitched 2 shutout innings, and Jeffrey Kaplan was perfect in the 11th and got credited for the win. Before knocking in the winning run, Puello had 3 hits on the night, as did Jefry Marte. Wilmer Flores was the only starter not to get a hit. Besides a playoff spot in September, what is St. Lucie’s reward after winning the South Division? A 10:30 a.m. start this morning.Brooklyn 5, Aberdeen 4As seen on SNY, the Cyclones edged the IronBirds to improve to 3-1 on the year. Chris Hilliard got the win after completing 5 shutout innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 3. Orlando Tovar gave up 3 runs, and looked very erratic, but Steve Winnick cleaned up his mess, getting 7 outs without allowing a hit. Jeremy Gould allowed a solo homerun, but still managed to get his 2nd save of the year. Brandon Brown was the only Cyclone who had a multiple hit game. Javier Rodriguez, Richard Lucas, and Travis Taijeron each drove in a run.GCL Nationals 5, GCL Mets 3The Gulf Coast League is underway, and Gabriel Ynoa got the start on the mound for the Mets on opening day. Ynoa went 5 innings, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits, and took the loss. Juan Gamboa and Jeyckol De Leon had 2 hits apiece.DSL Mets1 3, DSL Nationals 2Five different pitchers combined for a 3-hitter for the Mets, with Lenny Rosario getting the win after striking out 3, but also walking 3. Left fielder Jose Figuera had 2 hits, including a double. Catcher Adrian Abreu drove doubled and drove in 2 runs to help get the win. A few more thoughts from watching the Cyclones game on TV (although I was admittedly distracted listening to the St. Lucie radio broadcast):- Chris Hilliard wasn’t spectacular, which I guess can be expected in his first start of the year (although he did pitch one inning for St. Lucie and got roughed up earlier this spring). It being his 4th year in the organization and winning 9 games in Brooklyn last year, I thought he’d be a little more polished, but it was a promising start, and I do think there’s a good chance he heads to Savannah at some point.- Definitely expected better out of Orlando Tovar, hopefully he picks it up.- Really like Daniel Muno. College seniors have little leverage when negotiating signing bonuses, and I don’t think Muno even tried much to negotiate. He took $10,000 and signed quickly so he could get started right away, I like that. Kevin and Bobby O talked about him playing every game in college and always being on winning teams, that shouldn’t be overlooked. He may not have the best tools, or be a slam-dunk big leaguer, but watching him in the field and watching him leg out that triple, you can see the effort and you can tell he wants to play the game and play it the right way, which is a great thing to have in the minor leagues.- You can see the talent in Javier Rodriguez, but it’s about the time when you have to results and stats.- Richard Lucas did not have impressive range or defensive skills. Between that and having his development thrown off track last year by being pushed to a level he wasn’t ready for he is not where he could be after being a high draft pick and legitimate prospect a couple years ago. All that might be too much to overcome.- Brian Harrison has gotten off to a slow start, but I like his bat.-Travis Taijeron (pronounced like Tyrone, go figure) impressed me, despite 2 strikeouts; he’ll be one to watch.- Could that throw down to second by Nelfi Zapata on the stolen base attempt have been any more perfect? He is someone to keep tabs on.