Last year it was the Orioles’ single-A team, the Frederick Keys, this year it’s the double-A team. Making it to the playoffs, that is. Last night the Bowie Baysox won Game 1 of the Eastern League’s Western Division playoff series against the Akron Aeros. Starting pitcher Dylan Bundy got the win. The 19-year old threw 93 pitches in 6 innings, striking out 7 and allowing 1 base on balls. And the rest of the team was pretty awesome, too! In fact, 5 current Baysox players were on the Frederick Keys 2011 championship team: Jonathan Schoop, Chris Petrini, Jason Gurka, Brian Ward, Jake Pettit.
The Baysox were last in the playoffs in 2008, when they lost to Akron 3 games to 1 in the first round. They’d also lost to Akron in 1993. And to Harrisburg in 1994 and 1997. Some might say we’re due.
The Baysox have been around since 1993, but we have to go back a few more decades to find an Orioles double-A affiliate that won their league championship (sound familiar O’s fans?). The Charlotte Orioles won the Southern League title in 1980 and 1984. The Charlotte O’s were affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles from 1976 to 1988 (after moving from Asheville, NC). Their players included Eddie Murray, Rick Dempsey, Cal Ripken, Curt Schilling, and Steve Finley. (Now you understand how they won!)
In 1989, the Orioles ended their affiliation with the Charlotte team and affiliated with the Pittsfield Cubs, then relocated the team to Hagerstown. (Hagerstown had been the O’s single A affiliate until they relocated to a new stadium in Frederick, MD, and became the Frederick Keys. But that’s a whole other story!). The Hagerstown Suns remained the Orioles’ AA affiliate, until the team was moved once again to Bowie, Maryland, becoming my beloved Bowie Baysox.
Which brings us back to present day. The Baysox host the Aeros again tonight, then head to Akron to complete the series. If the Baysox win the 5-game series, they’ll come back home to play for the Eastern League championship! It’s Baysox’ 20th season in Bowie. Let’s keep them here 20 more (at least)! Let’s go Baysox!