GCL Nationals advance to finals

GCL Nats go to finals

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' affiliate in the Gulf Coast League earned a position in the league's championship series with a 10-5 victory over the GCL Twins in the single-elimination semifinals round.

The GCL Nationals will now face GCL Phillies in the best-of-three championship series, which will begin on Friday in Viera, Fla.

Left-handed pitching prospects Josh Smoker and Jack McGeary, both 19, are scheduled to start the series' first and second games, respectively.

This season marks the first GCL championship series appearance for a Nationals/Expos affiliate since 1996. The GCL Nationals are one of three Washington affiliates that clinched postseason berths this season, joining Class A Potomac and the DSL Nationals I of the Dominican Summer League.

Left fielder Destin Hood, designated hitter Johnathan Ramirez and first baseman Brett Newsome each drove in two runs in Thursday's victory over the GCL Twins. Shortstop Esmailyn Gonzalez and Hood hit back-to-back doubles during the Nationals' final at-bat, fueling a three-run rally.

Right-handed pitcher Patrick Arnold earned the victory, holding the Twins to two earned runs with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Right-handed reliever Danny Gil picked up a save by holding the GCL Twins scoreless for 1 1/3 innings.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.