|Bulls Take Strong Lead In Championship Series|
After shutting out the Toledo Mud Hens in the first three games of the best-of-five semifinals series, the Durham Bulls have moved on to play the Buffalo Bisons for the International League Governor’s Cup. The Bulls stepped up to the plate for the first game of the best-of-five series on Tuesday, September 10,2002, in Buffalo; the teams played 11 innings before the game was halted because of weather.
The first game of the series, tied at 4-4 after the 11th inning, continued on Wednesday night in Buffalo, followed by the second game of the series. The Bulls took the first win, 6-4, and then won the second in a big way with a score of 8-1. Now play will continue tonight in Durham, with the remaining three games of the series, if necessary, being played in the Bull City. The Bulls need only win one more game to sweep for the championship.
As a fitting end to their 100th anniversary season, the Bulls took the South Division of the International League with a record of 80-64. The Bulls then went on to play the West Division champs, the Toledo Mud Hens, in the semi-finals, taking the first three games and moving on to face the Bisons in the finals.
Bulls outfielder Rocco Baldelli won two Minor League Player of the Year awards.
In other Bulls news, the Sports Ticker named Durham outfielder Rocco Baldelli as Minor League Player of the Year. Baldelli played in three different levels of baseball this year, concluding with a step up to the Triple-A Bulls in early August. Baseball America also selected Baldelli as its Minor League Player of the Year.
Twenty-year-old Baldelli, the 6th overall draft pick of 2000, got a rocky start to his career, but 2002 has been his breakout season. He moved from the single A Bakersfield, through the double-A Orlando, and finished the season with the Bulls. In all likelihood, Baldelli will take his big step up to the majors after the Bulls finish the International League championship series.