Salem, VA (September 10, 2013) - The Salem Red Sox closed the 2013 season with an incredible 11 consecutive victories and a Mills Cup Championship with a 6-4 victory over Potomac on Tuesday night to sweep the final series. A raucous celebration ensued after Matt Price retired Michael Taylor to wrap up the title, culminating a stretch of 30 wins in 38 games to finish the season in style. Sean Coyle, who drove in four runs in the clincher, earned MVP honors.
Back in April, the Salem Sox began the year with three straight losses. It was the first 0-3 start since 2001, which ironically was Salem's last championship season. Just as the Avalanche peaked at the right time 12 years ago, the Red Sox boomeranged from a 51-56 record on July 30 to a 81-64 mark at the season's end. With a team ERA of 1.34 in five postseason games, the Salem Sox became the first Carolina League team in seven years to roll through the playoffs without losing a single contest.
On Tuesday night, Coyle smacked a pair of two-run doubles in the first four innings, bolting Salem out to a 6-1 lead. While the Nationals clawed their way back to within two runs, the Red Sox would not be denied in their relentless pursuit of glory.
William Cuevas earned the victory in the clincher, dealing six innings with three runs (two earned) allowed. Mike McCarthy permitted one run in one inning of relief, and Price sizzled in another save opportunity, proving that his perch as Salem's dominant reliever was deserved. With two outs in the ninth, Price surrendered a double to Adrian Sanchez, bringing the potential tying run to the plate. But Price induced a game-ending grounder from Taylor on a 2-2 pitch, igniting a party on the field with 4,350 delirious fans in the stands cheering a championship victory.
Coyle, who did not play in the Division Series due to injury, returned for the Mills Cup Finals to drive in seven runs in three games, earning the MVP Award. David Chester and Nick Natoli each finished with two hits and scored two runs, reaching base at the bottom of the lineup so Coyle, who hit leadoff, could drive them in. Mookie Betts singled and went 1-for-4 to extend his consecutive games on-base streak to 35.
For the first time in five seasons as a Boston Red Sox affiliate, Salem celebrated a Carolina League Championship. It's the fifth Mills Cup in Salem baseball history, won 12 years to the day after the Avalanche won in 2001. Salem also took the title in 1972, 1974, and 1987. Forty-four different players suited up for the Salem Sox in 2013, with 22 individuals contributing in the postseason to help win the coveted Mills Cup Trophy.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.