Sept. 13, 2012
LYNCHBURG, Va. - The Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League, A-Advanced affiliated of the Atlanta Braves, claimed their sixth Mills Cup title last night behind an MVP performance by former Connecticut shortstop Nick Ahmed. In the fourth and final game of the best-of-five series, he went 4-for-5 with three doubles, a run and a RBI.
"It was a great experience with a great group of guys and coaching staff to go out with everyday and to be in the championship, winning the whole thing last night," said Ahmed.
In the visitor's dugout last night sat one of Ahmed's college teammates Kevin Vance. Vance, a right-handed pitcher, was promoted within the Chicago White Sox organization to Winston-Salem in mid-July. Since moving up from Kannapolis, he pitched in 11 games with a 1-0 record, 1.66 earned run average and 29 strikeouts over 21.2 innings pitched.
Holding a 3-2 lead, Vance was the first reliever called upon for the Dash in the seventh inning. Only one base runner reached against him as he struck out three in two innings of work and sent Winston-Salem to the ninth inning clinging to a one-run lead.
The Hillcats rallied for a run in the ninth to send the game to extra-innings and ended it in the 11th on a sacrifice fly by Adam Milligan to seal the victory.
"I got to play against [Kevin Vance] a ton over the last month of the year," stated Ahmed. "It was fun to compete with a guy I played with and competed with at UConn."
In his first full season of professional baseball, Ahmed hit .269, scored 84 run and stole 40 bases. He also showed off his power with 36 doubles and six home runs, while being named a Carolina League All-Star at midseason.
"Playing a 140-game season, I learned a lot and grew as a player and a person. I learned a lot from my teammates and coaches. It was a good learning experience. It was really fun to see how all of the hard work I put into the offseason paid off."
Game Recap from Lynchburg