You feel that in the air? The energy is alive on the UNC campus again as students have moved in, and today is the first day of class. It starts yet another academic year and puts the summer behind us, even though technically summer has a month to go.
Before we can fully kick off the 2023-24 UNC sports calendar, we need to take one last look at how many members of the Diamond Heels did during summer leagues. For several it included a title. I told you last time about how two players managed to win a title in their respective summer leagues. As it turns out they weren’t alone.
In the most prestigious of summer leagues, the Cape Cod League crowned their champion last weekend with a repeat. The Bourne Braves defeated the Orleans Firebirds two games to one, and with it, took home their second consecutive CCL title. On the team was UNC’s own Dalton Pence. Pence didn’t see much action in the CCL playoffs, but did play a part in getting the Braves to the Championship. It’s been a while since a UNC player was able to claim a role in a CCL title — or honestly any summer league title — but now one will return to Chapel Hill with a trophy from the most well-known summer league.
Kyle Percival also can say he played a role for a summer league winning team. The Lexington County Blowfish took home the Petitt Cup as Champions of the Coastal Plain League. Kyle didn't pitch any games during the playoffs it appears, however he was a regular started for the Blowfish during the regular season to put them in place to win it all.
The Burlington Sock Puppets of the Appalachian League almost added another title that a UNC player could bring back to Chapel Hill, but they fell 2-1 in their Championship Series to Johnson City.
In the end, that makes four summer league championship teams that had UNC players actively involved. It’s great experience to bring back to campus as classes start back up, and hopefully that experience will push Carolina further into the College World Series next season. Let’s take a look at the final summer numbers for all the Tar Heels:
36G, 97 AB, 19 H, .196 Avg, 14 RBI, 1 HR, 5 2B, 13 BB, 25K, 2 SB
Playoffs-5 G, 17 AB, .294 Avg, 1 RBI, 1 HR, 1 2B, 6 K
8G, 25 IP, 3-1, 5 Start, 1 SV, 6.39 ERA, 32K, 13 BB, 30 H
Playoffs-1 G, 1 Start, 6.75 ERA, 5.1 IP, 4 K, 1 BB, 8 H
5G, 14.2 IP, 1-0, 2 Start, 5.52 ERA, 10 K, 7 BB, 12 H
Coastal Plain League-NC, SC, VA, GA
16G, 49 AB, 18 H, .367 Avg, 8 RBI, 1 2B, 15 BB, 11 K, 13 SB
4G, 9 AB, .000 Avg, 1BB, 8K, no action since 6/30
1G, 1 ER allowed, 1 batter faced, no outs recorded so no IP, no action since 6/15
4G, 2 Starts, 12.2 IP, 1-2, 8.52 ERA, 19H, 15K, 3 BB, no action since 7/1
6G, 6 Starts, 22.1 IP, 0-1, 4.83 ERA, 26H, 23K, 11 BB
Appalachian League-WV, VA, NC
4G, 0 starts, 3.0 IP, 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 2 H, 5 K, 5 BB
11G, 2 Starts, 20 IP, 2-1, 1 SV, 3.60 ERA, 16 H, 17 K, 11 BB
21G, 54 AB, 11 H, .204 Avg, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 16 BB, 18 K
New England Baseball League-ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI
4G, 0 Starts, 10.2 IP, 1 Save 0.84 ERA, 4 H, 14K, 2 BB, no action since 7/14
Northwoods League-ND, MN, IA, WI, IL, MI, IN, Ontario
14G, 8 Starts, 52.1 IP, 4-3, 1 Sv, 3.61 ERA, 48 H, 44K, 24 BB
Ohio Valley Summer League-KY, IN, TN
29 G, 115 AB, 34 H, .296 Avg, 15 RBI, 2 2B, 1 3B, 16 BB, 20 K, 15 SB
Ripken League-DC, MD, VA
19 G, 46 AB, 9 H, .196 Avg, 4 RBI, 12 BB, 18 K, 6 SB
1 G, 3 AB, .000, 2 K-hasn’t played since June 13th
Happy First Day of Class Tar Heels! Here’s hoping everyone that travelled and played in one of these summer leagues had a great experience, and we’ll see you in February for the start of another college baseball season!