Barnstormers Thank Fans
The 2018 season was one filled with successes for the Lancaster Barnstormers, not with purchased contracts as in past years, but with accomplishments here in the Atlantic League.
Our 'Stormers finished second in the Freedom Division in both halves and ended the season with the second best overall record in the league at 74-52. That was the third best record in our 14 seasons, trailing only the 2012 club and the championship squad of 2006. That led to the Barnstormers' first playoff berth in the last three years, which ended with an epic Game Five battle and Sunday's unfortunate extra-inning loss at Sugar Land.
The Barnstormers were able to maintain that push toward the playoffs despite playing six doubleheaders in two weeks, one with a last minute venue change. There was grueling travel, a wild schedule, and, of course an extraordinary number of rain delays.
Our longest tenured players had great seasons. Blake Gailen led the league with both 28 home runs 91 RBI while in his seventh season as a Barnstormer. He became our seventh Atlantic League long ball champion in nine years and the fourth RBI crown winner. Meanwhile, Nate Reed paced all ALPB hurlers with 13 wins and finished third with a 2.75 ERA. He won Atlantic League Pitcher of the Month for both May and August and will merit strong consideration for Pitcher of the Year honors.
Ryan Casteel was your choice for Player of the Year. The catcher batted .321 with 16 homers and 70 RBI. He hit two grand slams. After July 20, the Tennessee native hit .371 with nine homers and 38 RBI in just 42 games, pacing the offense during the stretch drive.
Of course, this team was built on the stolen base. Darian Sandford blew the team record out of the water with 82, beating the previous mark of 55 set by Quincy Foster in our inaugural season. Over the last two years, Sandford has swiped 127 bases becoming the first Barnstormer to clear 100.
With Rico Noel adding 51, and Tyler Bortnick and Carlos Garcia adding more than 20 apiece, the Barnstormers stole 256 bases on the year. They became the first team in league history to average more than two steals per game and missed the total steals record of 264, set in 2000 by the Somerset Patriots, by eight.
This year we opened two new areas in the stadium - The Broken Bat Craft Beer Deck and The Backyard by Annie Bailey's. Both of these new spaces were well received due to your support!
So, thanks for bearing with us through all the rain, the tarp pulls and the last-minute schedule changes. You kept your eyes on the bigger picture, all the fun we have together and all the excitement the Barnstormers create on the field. You are the greatest fans any team could ask for.
• Discuss this story on the Atlantic League message board...
Atlantic League Stories from September 28, 2018
- Washington's Dramatic Blast Keeps Ducks Season Alive - Long Island Ducks
- Barnstormers Thank Fans - Lancaster Barnstormers
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.