Bridges, former Seahawks to speak at banquet


Brandon Sans/The Seahawk

Noah Powers, Assistant Sports Editor

With baseball season just over a month away, the time-honored tradition of UNC Wilmington baseball’s Spring Training Banquet is set to take place next week.

On Jan. 19, 2019, UNCW baseball will hold its 17thannual Spring Training Banquet, welcoming former Atlanta Braves Director of Amateur Scouting Brian Bridges as the keynote speaker.

Bridges spent 11 seasons with the Braves (his final four as Director of Amateur Scouting) before his release from the organization on Jan. 9, 2019. He is still scheduled to speak the event as of Jan. 10.

During his tenure in Atlanta, which began in 2007, Bridges played an influential role in the signings of Jason Heyward, Mike Minor and Alex Wood as well as others. Prior to being promoted in 2015, the Georgia-native served as a southeast regional crosschecker for the Braves.

He directed the organization’s drafts for the last three seasons, building a talented farm system credited with helping the 2018 Braves win the National League East for the first time since 2013.

In 2014, Bridges was named one of the most successful scouts in the industry by Baseball America.

As well as Bridges, former Seahawk pitcher Seth Frankoff (2007-2010) and junior outfielder Kep Brown will attend as speakers for the evening.

Frankoff, who was drafted in 2010 by the Oakland Athletics, made his MLB debut in 2017 with the Chicago Cubs. He was claimed off waivers by the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 4, 2017, where he stayed until December before he was granted his release by the team. The Raleigh, N.C.-native spent last season as a pitcher for the South Korean KBO League’s Doosan Bears, leading the team to the league’s World Series.

In the 2018 season, Frankoff pitched 149 1/3 innings culminating in 134 strikeouts and 55 BBs. He finished the campaign with a 3.74 ERA and a WHIP of 1.16.

Last year, Brown was a key component in UNCW’s late-season success. With a .267 batting average, 12 doubles and seven home runs in his first season with the program, the then-redshirt sophomore helped lead the Seahawks to their first Colonial Athletic Association championship since 2015.

Brown was also an impact player in the Seahawks’ first run to an NCAA Regional Final since 2016. He had an RBI-single against Ohio State to walk off the Buckeyes 4-3 in 13 innings as well as a run and an RBI-single against East Carolina to lead the ‘Hawks to the Regional Final against South Carolina.

Tickets for the event are $70 each or $700 for a corporate table (seven seats). Check-in is set to begin at 4:45 p.m. at the Burney Center on UNCW’s campus. The event begins at 6 p.m. and includes dinner, introduction to the 2019 team, the announcement of 2018 award winners and a 2018 season highlight package.

Attendees are also invited to take part in a silent auction which includes gift packages provided by Wilmington businesses as well as sports memorabilia.