In 2009, Jamie Romak was a member of the Carolina League Champion Lynchburg Hillcats. After starting the year with Pittsburgh Pirates' Double-A affiliate in Altoona, Romak returned to the Hill City for the second half of the season.
This year he returned to the Hill City again, but as a Wilmington Blue Rock and a member of the Kansas City Royals organization.
In parts of three seasons (204 total games) with the Hillcats, Romak hit .254. He was named Carolina League Player of the Week in 2008 (5/26-6/1). And his highlight of 2009 came when the Cats faced elimination in the 2009 Northern Division Championship Series. Lynchburg faced Wilmington, Romak's current team, and trailed the best-of-five series 2-1 heading into game four on the road.
Tied 2-2 heading into the top of the eighth inning, Romak led off the frame with a double. Tony Sanchez stepped in and hit an eventual game-winning home run that scored Romak. The Hillcats went on to win the game 5-2, and the victory became a turning point in the postseason. Lynchburg took the next game by the same score, and went on to sweep Salem 3-0 in the Mills Cup Championship Series.
Romak ended up hitting .308 with four RBI in the playoffs. He also scored four times and had an on-base percentage of .486. He ended his Hillcats career second all-time in home runs with 36. He hit 15 in 2007, and 18 the following year. He was also third all-time in doubles with 55, ninth in walks (101) and seventh in hit by pitches (17).
The momentum he started in the playoffs carried over to 2010, where he hit .304 with seven home runs and 48 RBI and a .388 OBP through July 6. He had 11 hits in 35 at-bats against his former team.
The pinnacle of Romak's success in the Carolina League came in the month of June. He earned Carolina League Player of the Week three times during the month (5/24-6/1, 6/14-20 and 6/28-7/4). He hit .407 (37-for-91) with 13 doubles, two home runs and 17 RBI. That earned him the Carolina League Topps Player of the Month, and a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
In June, Romak raised his average 55 points (from .241 to .296) and his on-base percentage 71 points (from .314 to .385).
Romak was acquired by the Pirates from the Braves in a January 2006 trade from Atlanta. The Braves traded Romak and first baseman Adam LaRoche for pitcher Mike Gonzalez and infielder Brent Lillibridge. Atlanta drafted him in the fourth round of the 2003 MLB Draft.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.