While fans waved white rally towels around TicketReturn.com Field, Pin-Chieh Chen helped Myrtle Beach capture a more important banner.
The Cubs outfield prospect knocked a walk-off single in the ninth inning Wednesday as the Pelicans beat Wilmington, 3-2, to win their first Carolina League championship since 2000.
"Words can't describe the feeling right now. We kind of took after last year, we came in here, we worked our tails off, and the effort shows," Pelicans manager Mark Johnson told WBTW-TV.
After winning two close contests to start the best-of-5 series, the Pelicans took the lead in Game 3 on a sacrifice fly by Cubs No. 22 prospect Victor Caratini in the first and an RBI double by Daniel Lockhart in the second that scored Gleyber Torres -- the club's top prospect.
Cubs No. 4 prospect Duane Underwood struck out seven over six innings, allowing an RBI single to Mauricio Ramos in the third among five hits. The Pelicans backed up Underwood, especially Chen, who robbed Carlos Garcia of a hit in the fifth.
Just like in the series opener in Wilmington, the Blue Rocks tied it in the ninth. Cam Gallagher greeted reliever David Berg (2-0) with a single and was sacrificed to second by Humberto Arteaga. Pinch-hitter Mike Hill followed with an RBI single to center that postponed the Pelicans' celebration.
The delay proved to be a short one.
Mark Zagunis opened the bottom of the ninth with a single and Jason Vosler walked against Luis Rico (0-2). After Torres sacrificed both runners into scoring position, Daniel Lockhart flied to shallow left and Chesny Young was intentionally walked to load the bases for Chen.
The 24-year-old outfielder from Taiwan slapped a ground ball that neither shortstop Jack Lopez nor third baseman Ramos could get to. As the ball trickled into the outfield, Zagunis raced home with the Myrtle Beach's third Mills Cup and first as a Cubs affiliate.
"For me, I try to be tough, try to carry my team to win the ballgame," Chin told WBTW. "It's really exciting."
After going 7-for-11 with four RBIs, Caratini was named Mills Cup Finals MVP.
"I'm happy for winning the MVP and happy for the Pelicans winning the championship," he said.
Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.