March 2, 2009 - Frontier League (FL) - Southern Illinois Miners
MARION, Ill. - Former Miners catcher Brendan Akashian has joined the World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies organization. The Phillies officially purchased Akashian\'s contract Monday. He reports to Phillies spring training in Clearwater, Fla. this week and hopes to earn a spot with one of Philadelphia\'s affiliates.
Akashian, 23, signed with the Miners on June 15, 2008 as a rookie out of Holy Cross and went on to lead the Frontier League with a .442 on-base percentage. He finished the year hitting .302 with one home run and 32 RBI in 69 games.
"The Miners will always hold a special place with me because they gave me the opportunity to play at a high level with an unbelievable fan base," Akashian said. "With that said, this is another challenge along the road to the ultimate goal of playing at the highest level, but none of this would have been possible without the Miners organization."
When Akashian joined the team in June, the pitching staff\'s combined ERA was 5.80, 10th in the league. From that point on the pitching staff posted a 3.20 ERA and would finish with the second best ERA in the league.
"Brendan did a fabulous job of leading our pitching staff as well as helping us offensively," Miners Manager Mike Pinto said. "He calls a great game and really works hard with our pitchers. His tenacious approach to the game will be something the Phillies will appreciate. I speak for our whole staff in saying we could not be happier for him. Our players are in Southern Illinois just for this reason, to get a chance at a major league organization with the goal of reaching the major leagues."
This is the ninth time in the Miners two-season history that a player has fulfilled the dream of signing with a major league organization. Akashian is the sixth Miners player to sign with a major league organization since the start of spring training last season.
"When I got the news I immediately called my dad," Akashian said. "It was one of those calls you don\'t know if you\'ll ever get the opportunity to make. Throughout the day I talked to so many people and realized the amount of support that has helped me get this opportunity. From my family to so many people from my hometown of Lowell, Mass., to my college teammates and coaches, and, of course, the Miners organization and fans."
The Miners will begin the 2009 season in Evansville on Friday, May 22. The home opener is scheduled for Friday, May 29 at 7:05 p.m. For a complete schedule visit www.southernillinoisminers.com.