My Wilmington Blue Rocks moment coming in at number 15 is…
The 1995 Championship Series versus the Kinston Indians.
I started attending Blue Rocks games late in the 1995 season, so that season’s playoff series was my first ever playoff games (though it was the Blue Rocks third in a row). The championship series pitted Wilmington against Southern Division champion Kinston. Sure, the Blue Rocks were swept in the series, but it was a good series and it was exciting for me.
Every time I have seen the Indians, they always seem to have a first base/left field/ DH prospect. 1995 was no different. Richie Sexson single-handedly led Kinston to the Carolina League Championship against one of the best rotations (at least the top three starters) I have seen assembled in the minors.
In Game 1 in Wilmington, Sexson hit a two-run homerun in the 4th inning in Kinston’s 2-1 win. Phil Grundy struck out ten in eight innings, but suffered the loss. During the regular season, the right-hander went 6-6 with a 3.31 ERA in 106 innings.
In Game 2, Sexson drove in three runs and hit a double in Kinston’s 6-1 win in Wilmington. Jose Rosado took the loss. During the regular season, the lefty went 10-7 with a 3.13 ERA in 25 starts. He struck out 117 compared to 30 walks.
In the decisive Game 3 in Kinston, it was the Indians pitching that led them to victory. The Blue Rocks collected just one hit. Meanwhile, Glendon Rusch, the CL’s top pitcher, took the 4-0 loss. During the regular season, the lefty went 14-6 with a 1.74 ERA in 26 starts. He struck out 147 compared to 34 walks.