Southern Illinois ace wins Pitcher of the Year award, slugger named all-star in outfield

Marion, IL (August 29, 2019) – The Southern Illinois Miners are pleased to announce that two players have been voted to the 2019 Frontier League Postseason All-Star team, with Chase Cunningham taking home Frontier League Pitcher of the Year honors while also being named the postseason all-star starting pitcher, and Kyle Davis being named an outfielder on the end-of-year all-star squad. They are the first Miners to be named postseason all-stars in the Frontier League since 2016.

One of the most-prolific starting pitchers in Frontier League history and a two-time midseason all-star (including 2019), Cunningham becomes the fifth Miner in the 13-year history of the franchise to win the Pitcher of the Year award, joining league Hall-of-Famer Ryan Bird (2008), Joe Augustine (2010), Matt Bywater (2014), and Adam Lopez (2015). A workhorse on the mound who came to the Miners in an offseason trade after pitching three years with the Washington Wild Things, the Bristol, Tennessee native has enjoyed his best professional season in taking home his first Frontier League postseason all-star award, with a 10-4 record, 3.19 ERA, and a career-high 128 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched, holding opposing batters to a .225 batting average. Entering yesterday’s action, he also led the league in wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts, and this season has entered the Frontier League’s all-time top-5 in career starts, innings pitched, and wins.

“Chase has given us a consistent, dominant performance every single night he has taken the mound for us this season,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “His preparation to win and his competitive fire have made him such a force for us this year. I could not be happier for him to receive this honor.”

A second-year Miners utility player who has played five different positions this season, including both corner outfield spots, Davis joins league Hall-of-Famer Joey Metropoulos (2008-09), Jereme Milons (2010), Javier Herrera (2012), Michael Earley (2015), and Shane Kennedy (2016) in Southern Illinois’ history as a Frontier League postseason all-star outfielder in 2019. The Cincinnati, Ohio native enters tonight’s action tied for fifth in the Frontier League with a .292 batting average, tied for third with 15 home runs, tied for fourth with 56 runs scored and 25 doubles, and fifth in the circuit with 61 RBIs. He has been especially prolific as the Miners have made their playoff push in August, batting an incredible .409 (38-for-93) with nine doubles, five home runs and 29 RBIs in 25 games, with the Miners going 17-8 in that span.

“Kyle’s offensive performance has helped us win an awful lot of games this year,” Pinto said. “He worked very hard this off-season, and I am so excited for him that it paid off with this well-deserved honor.”

The Miners return to action tonight at home against the Lake Erie Crushers sitting two games back of a playoff spot. First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m. at Rent One Park, with Ryan McAuliffe taking the mound for Southern Illinois against Lake Erie’s Sam Curtis in the rubber game of the three-game series.

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