Bowie lost its final game of the Class AA Eastern League season yesterday to Norwich, but the 2-1 defeat did not dampen what Baysox players and the team's coaching staff considered a successful season.

Despite being mathematically eliminated from the Eastern League playoffs more than a week ago, the Baysox won five of their final seven games to finish 73-69. It is the first time since 1997 that Bowie has finished above .500.

"The Orioles organization has not had that luxury of having winning teams in the minor leagues very often," said Manager Dave Trembley, who completed his second season with the team. "I think we're headed in the right direction."

Bowie was the bright spot for Baltimore's farm system, posting the best winning percentage of any of the Orioles' minor league teams. The Baysox did it despite playing with a roster in flux -- there were 117 transactions during the year and 53 players suited up for Bowie.

"It's tough to play through all the changes," said pitcher Dave Crouthers, "but we have a really good group of guys and everybody came through. We just fell a little short."

There were many individual successes for Bowie players. First baseman Walter Young and closer Jacobo Sequea broke club records for home runs and saves in a season, respectively. Young blasted a solo home run to right-center field yesterday, giving him 33, as well as 98 RBI and a .272 average. Sequea finished with 27 saves.

Also, right-handed reliever Andy Mitchell finished with 13 consecutive scoreless innings, talented outfielder Keith Reed began to realize his potential and batted just below .300 for the season and Crouthers struck out 138. Pitchers Daniel Cabrera and Denny Bautista, along with outfielder Val Majewski, were moved directly from Bowie to Baltimore during the season.

"My thoughts are real positive," Trembley said. "We had the first winning season since 1997. Guys went to the big leagues. Seven guys made the [Eastern League] all-star team. Guys went to AAA. Guys that were supposed to get better got better."