Hillcats to remain in Lynchburg

Move scrapped after North Carolina voters reject stadium plan

By Daren Smith / MLB.com | November 7, 2012 5:00 PM ET

The Hillcats will defend their Carolina League championship on familiar turf.

The Braves' Class A Advanced affiliate is staying in Lynchburg, Va., after voters in Wilmington, N.C., overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to build a taxpayer-financed stadium.

"We will not pursue baseball," Wilmington mayor Bill Saffo told the (Wilmington) Star-News, a day after the $37 million proposal was defeated by a margin of roughly 7-3.

The vote scraps a preliminary agreement to sell the Hillcats to the parent Atlanta Braves, who would have moved the club to a site along the Cape Fear River.

"[The Braves] are very happy to continue our relationship with Lynchburg," said Braves executive vice president of business operations Mike Plant. "The facility is great and the front office staff and ownership group has been outstanding to work with. [The Braves] expect to remain in Lynchburg for many years."

The Hillcats are two years into a player development contract with the Braves that runs through the 2014 season. In 2011, the team set a single-season attendance record with 169,367 fans passing through the turnstiles at 73-year-old Calvin Falwell Field.

That figure dipped slightly this season, when the Hillcats won the Carolina League North Division first-half title, defeated Wilmington in the best-of-3 semifinals and stunned Winston-Salem in four games to capture their second Mills Cup in four years.

Daren Smith is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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