GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Lynchburg Hillcats General Manager Paul Sunwall has been voted the winner of the 2009 Calvin Falwell Executive of the Year Award. The award was named in 2006 for the man who has been president of the Lynchburg club since that city joined the Carolina League in 1966. Voting is done by managers, general managers and club owners.
Sunwall just completed his 30th season in professional baseball and his 22nd as the General Manager for Lynchburg. He is the most tenured front office member in the Carolina League. This award marks the second time he has received the Executive of the Year Award, the other coming in 1995.
"It is an honor to receive this recognition from the Carolina League, in particular this time because the award has been renamed to honor Calvin Falwell, the President of Lynchburg Baseball Corp.," said Sunwall, now a two-time winner. "It is an award that was made possible by the hard work and dedication of our staff and will be shared amongst all the Hillcats employees."
The 2009 season was a banner year for the Hillcats. Lynchburg earned a spot in the CL postseason by winning the First Half Northern Division Championship with a 45-24 record, easily the best in the league. In the playoffs Lynchburg ousted Wilmington, three games to two, in a best-of-five series to win the Northern Division and advance to the Carolina League Championship for the first time since 2003. In their first ever Mills Cup meeting with rival Salem, located fewer than 60 miles away, the Hillcats dispatched the Red Sox by sweeping the best-of-five series to win the 2009 Carolina League Championship. It marked the sixth league title for Lynchburg, the third for the Hillcats and their first since 2002.
This season also saw Lynchburg break its all-time single-season attendance mark. The previous mark of 164,413 was set in 2007 and was broken in the first game of postseason play. Lynchburg was one of only three CL clubs to show an increase in attendance over last year. A total of 167,090 fans stormed through the gates at Calvin Falwell Field in 2009, 164,328 in the regular season. This was the sixth straight season that the Hillcats attendance has topped 148,000 since the renovation to Lynchburg City Stadium was completed in 2004.