Bubba Bell Named California League MVP &
Chad Epperson Named Manager of the Year
Bell, Zach Daeges, and Aaron Bates named league post-season All-Stars
(LANCASTER, CA) – The California League announced its 2007 post-season All-Stars and Awards today and the JetHawks captured three of the four biggest honors. OF Bubba Bell was named the league Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year, while skipper Chad Epperson earned the honor of Manager of the Year. Bell joined fellow outfielder Zach Daeges and first baseman Aaron Bates on the post-season All Star team. The voting is done by league managers, general managers, and broadcasters, as well as selected members of local media.
Bell‘s spectacular rise helped spark the JetHawks to the first half championship. The 24-year old Texan is well on his way towards winning the league batting title, having posted a .370 average before moving up to AA Portland. Bell was a candidate for the Triple Crown at the time of his promotion as he also was among the league leaders with 22 home runs and 83 RBI. Bell won every award he qualified for this season as a post-season All-Star, MVP, and Rookie of the Year, to go along with his mid-season All-Star nomination and All-Star game MVP award. A fan favorite, Bell is the second player in the history of the JetHawks organization to win each of the post-season honors. In the 2000 campaign, Juan Silvestre was named the league MVP while Willie Bloomquist won the award for Rookie of the Year.
In his first season at the helm of the JetHawks, Chad Epperson has led the club to the best overall record in the league. The JetHawks won the first half championship after finishing eight games above .500, and now have a magic number of just six to add the second half title as well. Epperson joins 2000 manager Mark Parent and 2002 skipper Bill Plummer as JetHawks Manager of the Year award winners.
Bates and Daeges were also instrumental in the JetHawks success in 2007. Bates remains second in the league with a .332 batting average, despite an August promotion to Portland. At the time he went up, Bates led the league in home runs with 24 and had 88 RBI. Bates was also the leading defensive first baseman in the league with just seven errors. Daeges broke the JetHawks franchise records for doubles in a season when he notched his 46th of the year. He leads all of Minor League Baseball in that category and is within striking distance of the league record of 55. The Nebraska native is fourth in the league in hitting at .326 and has added 18 home runs with a team-high 94 RBI.