If you haven’t heard, the Class-A Kinston Indians won game 4 in their 5-game playoff series with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Texas Rangers), 9-2 to become Southern Division Champions. That means that Kinston wins the series 3-1 and will now advance to the Mills Cup Championship series. They will face the winner of the Frederick Keys (Baltimore Orioles) – Potomac Nationals (Washington Nationals) series (Frederick currently leads the series 2 games to 1). This is the first time since 2006 that the Kinston Indians made it to the Mills Cup series (they won the cup in ’06).
Myrtle Beach won game one 4-1, and initially took a 5-0 lead in game two of the series. From that point forward in the series, Kinston outscored them 24-3; they stormed back to win game two 8-6 in 11 innings, and won game three 7-0. Indians’ starter Mike Rayl was solid in the 9-2 victory last night; he surrendered 2 earned runs on 5 hits over 5 innings, striking out 5 and walking 2. Out of the bullpen, Kyle Landis pitched 3 innings, surrendering 1 hit, no earned runs, as he struck out 4 and walked none; Toru Murata pitched one perfect inning at the end, striking out 2 of the 3 batters he faced.
Mike Rayl may be someone to keep an eye on as he moves through the Tribe’s farm system. The southpaw had a game in August where he struck out 11 (as a team, the K-Tribe had 18 strikeouts in that particular game). A local writer summarized the team’s personality this season as “hit a little, pitch a lot and hang on for dear life.”
This is the Indians’ last season at 62-year-old Grainger Stadium; the team has been an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians for 25 years. After this season, the team will move about 75 miles northwest to Zebulon, North Carolina (east of Raleigh). This is the first year that Myrtle Beach is affiliated with the Texas Rangers; prior to that they were an Atlanta Braves affiliate for the rest of their existence (1999-2010).
Best of luck to Kinston in the finals!