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RailCats' Shipman named Relief Pitcher of the Year

September 5, 2009 - Northern League (NL) - Gary SouthShore Railcats News Release

GARY, Ind. - Gary SouthShore RailCats closer Andy Shipman, who led the Northern League with 14 saves during the regular season and has saved the ‘Cats first two postseason wins, has today been named the league's Relief Pitcher of the Year.

Shipman, 27, was waived by the Kansas City T-Bones in late May and almost immediately scooped up by the RailCats. Shipman pitched in 36 games for manager Greg Tagert this summer and saved 13 of the RailCats league-leading 57 wins while posting a 1.85 ERA and holding opposing batters to a .210 average. Shipman struck out 34 in 39.0 innings with the RailCats, finishing with a miniscule WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) of 1.03.

Named to the Chicagoland squad for the Northern League All-Star Game in July, Shipman first made his mark on the league late last year when he pitched in 10 regular season games for the T-Bones in August and was nearly perfect against the RailCats in the league finals, which Kansas City won three games to one. This postseason, Shipman saved games one and three for the ‘Cats against his former club as the RailCats sit on the precipice of a fifth straight Championship Series berth.

Hardly a stranger to success, Shipman was an All-Star closer in the Florida State League (A) in 2004 and Southern League (AA) in 2005 with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs organizations. Shipman spent the 2006 season at Triple-A Iowa for the Cubs and posted a 3.81 ERA before he was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the Rule Five draft after the year. Shipman worked in Double-A for the A's in 2007 and 2008 before being released.

Undrafted out of the University of Missouri, Shipman has logged more than 400.0 innings in a seven-year professional career and has 49 lifetime saves with over 350 strikeouts.

Shipman is the first RailCat to be named Relief Pitcher of the Year and the first RailCat to win an individual award this season. Starter Tony Cogan was named to the Full Season All-Star Team earlier this week as the league's top left-handed pitcher.

The Northern League's postseason awards are voted on annually by general managers, managers, coaches, radio broadcasters and veteran players representing the league's six teams. The remainder of the league's 2009 awards, including Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, Manager of the Year and Organization of the Year will be announced in the coming weeks.

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