Carolina League Cancels Its Championship Series

NOAA’s GOES satellite shows Hurricane Irma passing the eastern end of Cuba this morning. Hurricane Irma barreled through the Turks and Caicos Islands as a category 4 storm en route to a destructive encounter with Florida this weekend. (Photo by NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images)

The Carolina League announced on Friday that it would join the Southern and Florida State Leagues in canceling its championship series with Hurricane Irma bearing down on the Southeastern portion of the United States.

“This was not an easy decision,” Carolina League president John Hopkins said in a statement Friday. “While much remains uncertain with this storm, it seems clear that there will be major damage wherever it goes, as there already has been in some Caribbean nations. Our immediate area remains at risk, too.”

The league had previously changed its division series from a best-of-five format to best-of-three, also in deference to Irma. The Down East Wood Ducks, in their first year in the Carolina League after moving from the California League after 2016, are up 1-0 in their series with Myrtle Beach. The teams will play a doubleheader on Friday to determine one half of league’s co-championship.

In the Northern Division, the Frederick Keys are up 1-0 against the Lynchburg Hillcats after a wild, ninth-inning comeback on Thursday. Down three runs in the ninth, the Keys rallied for four runs on five hits, including two consecutive knocks from Randolph Gassaway and Jake Ring against Adam Plutko to complete the game. Unlike Myrtle Beach and Down East, Frederick and Lynchburg will just one game per day on Friday and Saturday to determine their division’s half of the championship.

“Our game has a number of people who call Florida and the Caribbean home,” Hopkins said. “With the prospect of potentially devastating impact, it just felt right to call it a season after this weekend’s first round.”

The Carolina League previously cancelled its championship in 1999 because of Hurricane Floyd. Myrtle Beach and Wilmington were co-champions.

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