By: Kevin Karel (WRGA News)
A bottom-of-the-9th walk-off single for Charleston Monday evening closed out the game and subsequently the 2013 season for the Rome Braves.
Despite an absence of playoff baseball, Rome put out a winning effort each half of the year; putting up a 36-33 record before the South Atlantic League All Star break and a 37-33 record after it.
Were it not for a rough few weeks where the lineup lacked pop following the promotion of slugger Josh Elander, the Braves may have qualified for the postseason with a 2nd half title. Surging through much of August, Rome closed the season on a 17-7 rush though eventual division champ Augusta was even hotter in the final weeks.
One of the most compelling aspects of the 2013 season was the emergence of Atlanta’s first round draft choice from last summer, Lucas Sims, who became arguably the top prospect in the organization. In his first full season as a pro Sims was dominant, compiling a 12-4 record and 2.62 ERA with 134 strikeouts in just under 117 innings. Sims is likely to be considered one of the top 50 prospects in all of minor league baseball when evaluators put together their annual rankings over the winter.
Those already missing the local nine can look forward to March 29th when State Mutual Stadium plays host to an exhibition game between the parent club Atlanta Braves and a group of minor league All-Stars managed by Bobby Cox.
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