Pelicans win back-to-back Mills Cup Championships

pel-celebrateThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans have won the 2016 Carolina League Championship after defeating the Lynchburg Hillcats 5-3 Wednesday at Calvin Falwell Field at Lynchburg City Stadium, taking the Mills Cup Championship Series 3-1.

The title is the Pelicans’ second title in as many years, marking the first time since the 1985-86 Winston-Salem Spirits that a team has repeated as the outright Carolina League Champions. Ironically, the Spirits were affiliated with the Cubs when winning their back-to-back championships.

The 2016 championship is the fourth in franchise history. Myrtle Beach claimed the outright title in 2000 and 2015, while earning a split of the 1999 championship with the Wilmington Blue Rocks due to Hurricane Floyd.

Pelicans’ manager Buddy Bailey is responsible for navigating Myrtle Beach to the 2016 title, claiming the second league championship of his 28-year managerial career. He also won the 2011 Florida State League Championship as the skipper for the Daytona Cubs. The 2016 finals were the seventh championship series Bailey managed, falling short in his first five tries.

The Pelicans join the 2016 Eugene Emeralds as the second Cubs affiliate to win their league this season. The Emeralds claimed the Northwest League title Tuesday with a 2-1 win over Everett.

Ten players from the 2016 Pelicans team earned their third consecutive ring, including Jeffrey Baez, James Pugliese, Daury Torrez and Duane Underwood, all of whom played major roles in the 2016 postseason. The 10 players earned a 2014 Midwest League Championship with the Kane County Cougars and the 2015 Carolina League Championship with the Pelicans.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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