FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 12, 2000
Contact: Bryan Dolgin, Director of Media & Public Relations, 843-918-6016
A Season At The Beach
The Pelicans Championship Season In Review
MYRTLE BEACH, SC – The Myrtle Beach Pelicans won The 2000 Mills Cup Championship Series (MCCS). Their three-game sweep of the Lynchburg Hillcats enabled the Pelicans to win the Carolina League’s (CL) title outright unlike in 1999 when they earned a share of the championship with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Hurricane Floyd forced the cancellation of the fifth and final game of the 1999 MCCS. The three-game sweep of the MCCS was the first in the Carolina League finals since Kinston swept Wilmington in 1995.
The Pelicans are back-to-back champions after being in the league just two seasons. The Pelicans became the first team in the Carolina League’s 56-year history to win a championship in each of the team’s first two seasons. The Atlanta Braves have had an affiliate in the Carolina League for 23 seasons and these are the organization’s only two championships in this league during that time span.
The Pelicans enjoyed much success this season with a 91-and-52 overall record (88-and-52 in the regular season & 3-and-0 in the finals). The Pelicans finished in first place of the Southern Division in the first half with a 42-and-28 record and the second half with a 46-and-24 record. The Pelicans owned a winning record against all seven of their Carolina League opponents. As a result of winning both halves, the Pelicans earned a bye of the semi-finals and earned a trip to the finals.
In the MCCS, designated hitter Mark Mortimer’s RBI single on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning decided game one as the Pelicans won 2-to-1. In game two, the Pelicans trailed 4-to-1 after three innings, but took the lead in the fifth inning with second baseman Travis Wilson’s RBI single in a 7-to-4 Pelicans win. Tim Spooneybarger and Brad Voyles gave up just one hit in the final 4.1 innings of game two. The series moved to Lynchburg, VA where the Pelicans won 5-to-2 to complete the sweep on Saturday, September 9. The Pelicans turned four double plays that day, a season high, including one in the bottom of the ninth.
In two seasons with the Pelicans, Manager Brian Snitker has guided the Pelicans to a first place finish three times. That’s a first place finish in three of four halves. In those two seasons, the Pelicans have compiled a 167-and-112 record in regular season games. They are 5-and-2 in two seasons of post season games. The CL named Snitker the Manager-of-the-Year in 2000.
The Pelicans pitching staff completed the regular season with a 2.51 ERA, the lowest ERA in all of professional baseball (minor and major leagues). In addition, they recorded 27 shutouts-the most in pro baseball. That’s almost one shutout every three wins. Their pitching staff led the CL with fewest hits allowed (908) and fewest walks (382). Furthermore, the Pelicans saved 43 games, the most in the league.
Christian Parra was named the CL Pitcher-of-the-Year. He was 17-and-4 with a 2.28 ERA. Parra led the league with 17 wins. He was the first pitcher to win 17 games in the Carolina League since Kyle Hartshorn of Lynchburg won 17 games in 1985. Parra finished second in the CL with his 2.28 ERA and second with 163 strikeouts. On the day he was honored by the CL, August 31, Parra pitched a three-hit and seven-strikeout complete game shutout in the Pelicans 5-to-0 defeat of Salem at Coastal Federal Field.
Left hander Horacio Ramirez and righty Nathan Kent were the team’s other 10-game winners. Ramirez was second in the CL in wins with a 15-and-8 record and fifth in the league with a 3.22 ERA. Kent was 10-and-6 with a 2.55 ERA, the third lowest in the league.
The middle relief was stingy in allowing runs with pitchers such as Garrett Lee (7-and-3 and a 2.03 ERA in 29 appearances), John Foster (2-and-1 with a 1.85 ERA in 38 appearances) and Tim Spooneybarger (3-and-0 with a 0.91 ERA in 19 appearances). Brad Voyles and Billy Sylvester combined to allow 11 earned runs in 112.1 innings pitched as they managed the closing role. Prior to fracturing his left hand and being placed on the disabled list on July 17, Sylvester was 3-and-0 with a 0.79 ERA and 16 saves in 32 appearances. Voyles was 5-and-2 with a 1.11 ERA and 19 saves in 39 regular season appearances. Voyles saved the final two games of the MCCS.
A.J. Zapp was named a mid-season all-star and the league’s end of the season all-star first baseman. He spent most of the season amongst the top 10 in hitting, but fell out of the top 10 near season’s end. Zapp batted .268 with eight home runs and 49 RBI. He reached base on a hit or a walk in 96 of his 106 regular season games.
Second baseman Travis Wilson, the only New Zealand native playing professional baseball in the United States, was a member of the World Team that played the USA Team in The Futures All-Star Game in Atlanta, GA during the major league all-star break. Wilson ranked 9th in the CL and led the Pelicans in hitting with a .275 batting average, 484 at-bats, 133 hits (5th in CL), 33 doubles (3rd in CL), 50 extra base hits (4th in CL), 62 runs scored and a .438 slugging percentage. He either owned or tied for second place on the team with 125 games played, five triples, 12 home runs and 63 RBI.
Mid-season all-star left fielder Cory Aldridge led the team with 64 RBI and tied third baseman Troy Cameron for the team lead with 15 home runs. Center fielder Junior Brignac was the Mills Cup Championship Series MVP because he was 5-for-11 (.455) with two doubles, two runs scored and a RBI.
Defensively, the Pelicans ranked second in the CL with a .970 fielding percentage making 154 errors in 140 games. Brignac ended the regular season with the best fielding percentage of CL outfielders at .993 having made just two errors. He tallied 15 assists. Zapp led all first basemen with a .987 fielding percentage (11 errors), and Wilson led all second basemen with a .967 fielding percentage (17 errors).
The paid attendance at Coastal Federal Field increased and unfortunately so did rain outs. Based on the league reports that followed the final day of the regular season, the Pelicans averaged 3,600 per game in 65 regular season gate openings compared to 3,525 per game in 66 gate openings from 1999. The 2000 Pelicans paid attendance was more than 240,000 including the playoffs. The Pelicans merchandise sales remained among Minor League Baseball’s top 25 in the mid-season report.
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