Fan support, milestones highlight ValleyCats 2016 season

The Tri-City ValleyCats 2016 season was memorable in many ways as the club celebrated their 15th Anniversary and welcomed their two millionth fan through the gates. An average of 4,281 fans per game came to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium to see the ‘Cats, the second best attendance average in the entire 14-team New York-Penn League, which is the highest ranking in their 15 year history.

On the field, the team put up at least a .500 record for the fifth straight year, but early injuries and a record number of transactions contributed to the club missing the New York-Penn League playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Back in October, the Astros named Lamarr Rogers the seventh manager in ValleyCats history, taking over managerial duties from Ed Romero, who finished with an overall record of 134-93, including three consecutive Stedler Division titles in his three seasons.

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First year ‘Cats skipper Lamarr Rogers and SouthPaw with their signature pregame handshake. (Photo by Eric Lomeli/Tri-City ValleyCats)

Rogers and the ‘Cats kicked off the season with a promising Opening Night victory. Stephen Wrenn led off the game with a home run in his first professional at-bat, and Taylor Jones added a grand slam in a 13-1 mauling of the Connecticut Tigers.

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Taylor Jones interviewed by Sammy Baseball as Opening Night’s Player of the Game. (Photo by Gregory Fisher)

The ValleyCats played a 17 inning marathon game against the Brooklyn Cyclones on their first road trip, a televised contest that lasted six hours and five minutes. The teams were tied at six headed to the 17th, before Daz Cameron hit a 2-RBI double and Wrenn added a 2-run home run to give the ‘Cats the lead for good, 10-9.

After the Brooklyn series the ‘Cats dropped two of three to Vermont and took two of three from Lowell, staging a matchup with the Williamsport Crosscutters. In the pair of division match-ups, Carmen Benedetti and Cameron combined to score 30 runs and both players hit their first professional home runs.

The ‘Cats started off the series with Williamsport on the wrong foot – literally. Astros 4th round draft pick Brett Adcock exited his start after only two pitches in the first game of a doubleheader. Adcock gave up a double on the first pitch of the game, then rolled his ankle trying to field a sacrifice bunt from the next batter.

Exactly a week later, on July 6, Daz Cameron suffered a season-ending injury of his own. In the final game of a series against the State College Spikes, Cameron was hit by a pitch, breaking his left index finger. He’d been hitting .278 with 13 runs, 14 RBI,  and eight SB in 19 games, and looked like he was ready for a breakout year.

With the departure of Cameron came the emergence of Ryne Birk, the Astros 13th round pick from Texas A&M. Birk cranked a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against State College to send the game to extra innings. He finished that game 4-5 with 3 RBI, and registered eight multi-hit games on the season, before his promotion to Quad Cities.

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(Photo by Eric Lomeli/Tri-City ValleyCats)

Photo by Eric Lomeli/Tri-City ValleyCats

Randy Cesar (Photo by Eric Lomeli/Tri-City ValleyCats)

Wrenn, Birk and Randy Cesar led the ‘Cats through a hot July. At one point before his promotion, Cesar reached base in 11 consecutive plate appearances and led the NYPL with a .389 batting average.

Tri-City opened the month taking two of three from rival Hudson Valley before a tough series with the eventual NYPL-champion State College Spikes. The ‘Cats followed it with their first six game road trip, where they swept the West Virginia Black Bears and finished 4-2 on the trip.

Highlighted by a game that lasted just two hours and eleven minutes, the ‘Cats took two of three from Connecticut when they came back home, which included a stretch of 16 innings where the pitching staff didn’t allow a run.

Hector Perez and Enrique Chavez both enjoyed tremendous seasons in Troy. Perez pitched in seven games and started three of them before he was called up to Class-A Quad Cities. His 1.57 ERA was in the top five in the NYPL before his promotion, and in 28.2 innings he struck out 36 batters, walking only 12.

Photo by Eric Lomeli/Tri-City ValleyCats

Hector Perez (Photo by Eric Lomeli/Tri-City ValleyCats)

After Adcock’s injury, and the departures of Perez and Framber Valdez, Chavez became the new staff ace – and thrived in it. He was one of three ValleyCats elected to the NYPL All-Star Game, and went 3-2 with the ‘Cats. He had a 2.78 ERA in 11 appearances and a 35/11 K/BB ratio.

August brought a losing record and quiet bats, but tons of excitement in the organization. Chavez, Taylor Jones and Chuckie Robinson were selected to the North Team’s roster in the 2016 New York-Penn League All-Star Game, which was held at Dutchess Stadium, home of the Hudson Valley Renegades.

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(L-R) Enrique Chavez, Taylor Jones, Chuckie Robinson. (Photo by Eric Lomeli/Tri-City ValleyCats)

“You can’t say enough about how much these three players have contributed to our team,” Rogers said. “They’re all incredibly deserving. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish not only in the All-Star Game, but in their careers as well.”

Jones, who ended the season as the ValleyCats leader in hits, home runs and doubles, went hitless in the game, while Chuckie caught the final five innings, including Chavez’s scoreless fifth.

At the All-Star Game, the ‘Cats and NYPL announced the ValleyCats will be the host team for the 2017 New York-Penn League All-Star Game. The two-day event will take place in mid-August with the exact date to be announced in October. Joseph L. Bruno Stadium last played host to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game in 2008, which drew over 6,000 fans.

The week after the showcase, the ValleyCats and Houston Astros announced that the clubs had extended their Player Development Contract (PDC) for another two years, continuing their partnership through the 2018 season. From 2012 to 2016, the ValleyCats had more wins than any other Class-A short season franchise. Prior to 2016, Tri-City had won four straight Stedler Division titles, posting more wins than any team in the New York-Penn League in that span, in addition to capturing two championship titles (2010, 2013).

When Tri-City and Lowell met to begin the month of August, they both sat atop the New York-Penn League in offense with .263 batting averages, the first time all season the ‘Cats hadn’t owned sole possession of that category. The offense scored at least eight runs eight times in July, but did so just twice in August.

The ‘Cats took two of three from Lowell, and the series spurned a compete 360-degree turn in Ronnie Dawson‘s play. Dawson hit just .190 in June and .183 in July, but caught fire in August, finishing with a .294 batting average, 30 of his 53 hits, two home runs and 16 RBI.

Ronnie also took part in a video mini-series this season with ValleyCats Senior Account Executive Chris Dawson in a few “Dawson vs. Dawson” epic showdowns.

DE LA CRUZ PINEDA AYARZA

Rodrigo Ayarza (Photo by Eric Lomeli/Tri-City ValleyCats)

Another standout second half player was Rodrigo Ayarza, who tripled in back-to-back games in the final homestand, the only ValleyCat with that feat in 2016. Ayarza hit at a .317 clip over his last ten games, with 13 hits, six runs scored and three RBI. You can read more about “Drigo” in Eric Lomeli’s feature on Ayarza.

Despite his 0-1 record, righty Tyler Britton was phenomenal in his short time with the ‘Cats. Britton worked a 2.04 ERA over 17 innings, striking out 29 and walking just six.

As a team, the ‘Cats very much lived and died by the long ball, and whether or not they outhit their opponent. They compiled a 25-12 record when hitting a home run, and 13-24 without a homer. When they registered more hits than the opponent, they went 24-6, compared to a 10-25 mark when they were outhit.

Tri-City finished the season going 19-19 both at home and on the road, and 16-18 in division play. The offense that hit .276 in June and .256 in July hit just .240 in August. The pitching staff improved dramatically over the course of the season, posting a 4.96 ERA in June and a 3.73 ERA in August.

The ValleyCats tied for the league lead with 131 doubles, and mashed 51 home runs, 12 more than any other team. ‘Cats pitchers struck out 654 batters, second most in the league, and tossed five shutouts.

It may be easy to look at the NYPL standings and see a .500 team, but if anything, the 2016 season was anything but average. A record number of call-ups speaks volumes to the talent the Astros drafted, and while 2016 may not stand out among the best, there were many bright spots to reflect upon.

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(Photo by Eric Lomeli/Tri-City ValleyCats)

Community Heroes / Stop DWI Night 2016!

Community Heroes / Stop DWI Night presented by the New York State Council on Children and Families “Every Student Present” was an evening of appreciation for the people who keep our neighborhoods safe, clean, and whole. Over 4,500 people made it to “The Joe,” meaning the stadium sold out!

9 1 16 SOUTHPAW BUNNEY YAZZO

 

To start the pregame festivities, we recognized our Community Heroes Starting Nine on the field. Our starting nine include Perry Jones, Director of Capital City Rescue Mission; Pastors Vangerl and James Pegues, Directors of Troy Salvation Army; Scott Leslie, Recruiter for the Army National Guard; David Devoe, Corrections Officer with the Albany County Sheriff’s Department; Deborah Saxby, Senior Registered Private Client at Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC.; Joe Pignatelli Jr., Special Olympics New York; Martha Lasher-Warner, creator of the Family & Friends of Liza Ellen Warner Association, Inc.; K9 Officer Bunney and his K9 Yazzo, Village of Nassau Police Department; and Madison Leitch, Colonie Pop Warner Cheerleader.

9 1 16 COMM HEROES PERRY JONES 9 1 16 COMM HEROES SCOTT LESLIE 9 1 16 COMM HEROES JAMES & VANGERL PEGUES 9 1 16 COMM HEROES DAVID DEVOE 9 1 16 COMM HEROES DEBORAH SAXBY 9 1 16 COMM HEROES JOE PIGNATELLI JR 9 1 16 COMM HEROES MARTHA LASHER-WARNER 9 1 16 COMM HEROES MADISON LEITCH 9 1 16 COMM HEROES K9 BUNNEY YAZZO 9 1 16 COMM HEROES GROUP

The next part of the pregame activities had five different people threw out ceremonial first pitches, including State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, who represented Every Student Present. Jillian of Wild Country tossed a first pitch. Alana Zebrowski of Mazzone Hospitality threw out a first pitch. Six-year-old Katie Brown, one of the Trinity Alliance models, who was at “The Joe” selling lemonade as a fundraiser to buy winter coats for children, threw out a first pitch. Local 7 worker John Rosenzweig was the finale to our first pitches.

9 1 16 MARYELLEN FP 9 1 16 JILLIAN 99.9 FP 9 1 16 KATIE BROWN FP 9 1 16 JOHN ROSENZWEIG FP 9 1 16 ALANA ZEBROWSKI FP

After the ceremonial first pitches, the Tamarac School All County Choir Members delivered a group performance of the national anthem with a law enforcement vehicle parade stopped in centerfield. Officers from Rensselaer Police, North Greenbush Police, and Rensselaer Sheriff’s departments circled the track at “The Joe!”

9 1 16 TAMARAC SCHOOL ALL COUNTY CHOIR ANTHEM 9 1 16 COMM HEROES DURING ANTHEM 9 1 16 LAW ENFORCEMENT VEHICLES

At the end of the second inning, Northwestern Mutual presented their check donation for ‘Runs for Research,’ which totaled $2,500.

9 1 16 NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL CHECK PRESENTATION

In the sixth inning H&V Collisions Mayors Race, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan defeated Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy and Troy Mayor Patrick Madden.

9 1 16 MAYORS RACE

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Thursday night Brauly Mejia and Miguelangel Sierra signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

9 1 16 PG AUTOS

 

The ValleyCats continue the series tonight against the Staten Island Yankees, Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, tonight with our 15th Anniversary Celebration and the final part of the All-Time Team Card Set presented by National Grid! Get your tickets at tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

Hockey Night in the Capital Region 2016!

Hockey Night in the Capital Region was a great evening for fans of both sports! Over 3,700 people made it to “The Joe,” with many dressed in their hockey sweaters!

Devil Dawg from the Albany Devils joined us and paraded around the concourse to greet fans while taking photos!

8 27 16 DEVIL DAWG AND PAPPY

Prior to the game nine different people threw out ceremonial first pitches! Daughter and Father Rozlynn and Brant Wert, representing the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal, each tossed out a first pitch. Amy Zuchelkowski, representing New York Oncology Hematology, threw out a first pitch. Ayden Keels, representing Troy Boys and Girls Club, threw out a first pitch. Tred from Fox Sports 980 tossed a first pitch. Dimitri, representing Jewelry by Don Cook, threw a first pitch. Josh Sciba, Union Women’s Ice Hockey Coach, threw a first pitch. Albany Devils Captain Rod Pelley threw out a first pitch. Rowdy finished the first pitches with a slap-shot from in front of the pitcher’s mound!

8 27 16 ROZLYNN WERT FIRST PITCH 8 27 16 BRANT WERT 8 27 16 AMY ZUCHELKOWSKI 8 27 16 AYDEN KEELS 8 27 16 DIMITRI 8 27 16 TRED FOX SPORTS 980 8 27 16 JOSH SCIBA 8 27 16 ROD PELLEY 8 27 16 ROWDY

After the ceremonial first pitches, Into Wishin’ delivered a group performance of the national anthem.

8 27 16 INTO WISHIN' ANTHEM

Following the conclusion of the game, ladies 18-years-and-older participated in the Diamond Dig presented by Jewelry by Don Cook! One lucky lady took home a pair of diamond earrings!

8 27 16 DIAMOND DIG 8 27 16 DIAMOND DIG 1 8 27 16 DIAMOND DIG 2

8 27 16 DIAMOND DIG WINNER SOUTHPAW 8 27 16 DIAMOND DIG WINNER DON COOK SOUTHPAW

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Saturday night Makay Nelson and Connor Goedert signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

8 27 16 POSTGAME AUTOGRAPHS

The ValleyCats conclude the series against the Lowell Spinner, Class-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, tonight with Sock Hop Doo-Wop 50’s Night! Get your tickets at tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

Rock the Vote! Presidential History Night 2016!

Rock the Vote! Presidential History Night presented by Just Cats Veterinary Clinic and Royal Canin was a great evening of learning about the American past and educating people on voting.  Over 4,000 people made it to “The Joe,” with some dressed as their favorite president!

8 26 16 ABE LINCOLN

 

Prior to the game there were a lot of fun activities including recognition of the North Colonie 9U Bison, the Capital District Fusion Softball team, voter registration and pledges, plus a handful of first pitches.

8 26 16 CAPITAL DISTRICT FUSION SOFTBALL 8 26 16 NORTH COLONIE 9U BISON

Nine different people threw out ceremonial first pitches! Brian Warnke tossed out a first pitch representing the Bison. Maria Tedisco and Cailey Cuttita pitched and caught representing the Fusion. Kieran Salls represented the Tory Boys & Girls Club. Howard Solomon threw out a pitch representing Weichert Realtors. Just Cats had a representative. Mass Mutual had representatives as well.

8 26 16 FUSION SOFTBALL FIRST PITCH 8 26 16 9U BISON FIRST PITCH 8 26 16 TROY BGC FIRST PITCH 8 26 16 SADIE DUNNE FIRST PITCH 8 26 16 HOWARD SOLOMON - WEICHERT REALTORS FIRST PITCH 8 26 16 JUST CATS FIRST PITCH 8 26 16 FIRST PITCH TRIO

After the ceremonial first pitches, Leslie Maiello sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem.

8 26 16 LESLIE MAIELLO NATIONAL ANTHEM

At the conclusion of the second inning, Sadie Dunne received a $2,500 scholarship from the New York-Penn League as part of the 2016 NYPL Scholarship Contest. Ms. Dunne was one of three to receive $2,500 from the NYPL, and one of 14 finalists to make it into the second stage of the contest.

8 26 16 NYPL SCHOLARSHIP WINNER SADIE DUNNE

Throughout the game Nine Pin Cider had hawkers selling ciders to fans with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Capital Roots!

8 26 16 NINE PIN HAWKER

During the sixth inning H&V Collision Mayor’s race, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan defeated Mayor Madden and Mayor McCarthy for the victory after Mayor Sheehan received the most fan votes during our polling session!

8 26 16 MAYORS RACE SHEEHAN WIN

In the Helmbold’s Hot Dog race, Ketchup took the win after passing Mustard and dodging Relish in the John Ray & Sons go-cart!

8 26 16 HOT DOG RACE KETCHUP

Fans were treated to a postgame fireworks extravaganza presented by Market 32 after the game!

8 26 16 POSTGAME FIREWORKS

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Friday night Andy Pineda and Salvador Montano signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

8 26 16 POSTGAME AUTOGRAPHS

Sponsors at the game included Just Cats, Habitat for Humanity Capital District, BlueShield of Northeastern New York, the League of Women Voters, the Martin Van Buren Historic Site, Lucky Strike, and Frozen Ropes!

8 26 16 JUST CATS CAR 8 26 16 BSNENY 8 26 16 PAPPY WITH VANBUREN GROUP

The ValleyCats continue the series against the Lowell Spinner, Class-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, tonight with Hockey Night in the Capital Region! Get your tickets at tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

8 26 16 SOUTHPAW AND KID

Mr. Smooth: Rodrigo Ayarza

MR SMOOTH COVER

Switch hitters are uncommon and switch throwers are even more rare. One ValleyCats player can do both. Infielder Rodrigo Ayarza, who the ‘Cats signed via minor league free agency in May 2014, is ambidextrous. RODRIGO AND TAYLOR

According to his warm up partner Taylor Jones, there is not a noticeable difference in Ayarza’s throwing mechanics.

“He looks as good lefty as he does righty,” Jones said. “I couldn’t imagine being able to throw with both hands.”

Ayarza put his unique ability on display for the bullpen during the ‘Cats 17 inning marathon at MCU Park against the Brooklyn Cyclones on June 20. He warmed up, and was potentially the next person called on to pitch in the game. Left-handed pitcher Austin Nicely was the bullpen captain for the game and feels Ayarza would have done well with either arm.

“His motion and ability looked good from both sides,” Nicely said.

Anyone who is around the team for a few moments notices the high-energy, jokester personality Ayarza brings to the ValleyCats.

RODRIGO AND PINALES

“He’s always having fun. It is who he is naturally,” said Manager Lamarr Rogers. “Around the locker room, we call him the ‘Most Interesting Player in MiLB’.”

His teammates echo the sentiment.

“Rodrigo is a great kid. He is always happy and brings a ton of energy,” said Shortstop Alex DeGoti.

In the dugout and on the field, Ayarza is always sporting his sunglasses. It could be late into the evening, after the sun has set, and Ayarza still has his sunglasses on his hat, which is part of his persona as the ‘Most Interesting Player in MiLB’.

DE LA CRUZ PINEDA AYARZA

However, his personality is not the reason he is on the team. He may be the most versatile player on the ValleyCats.

“He plays multiple positions, offering infield and outfield flexibility,” Rogers said. “Offensively he is a role player with the ability to hit at the top or bottom of the lineup.”

Rodrigo is also soft-spoken, serious and works hard at his craft.

RODRIGO SWINGING IN DUGOUT

“He asks me a lot of questions about my career, and about baseball back in the day,” said Assistant Coach Danny Ortega. “Plus, he is always in the cage working on his swing.”

Rodrigo has a deep fascination for airplanes as well.

“He loves airplanes and knows a lot about them,” Ortega said. “He can see a plane flying by then start listing facts and specifics of the aircraft.”

Like most baseball players, Ayarza learned the game from his father, Rodrigo Sr., and older brother, Max, on the diamonds of his native Panama.

BARRIOS AND RODRIGO

“I started playing around the age of three,” Rodrigo said. “I would play with rocks as my dad practiced with my brother.”

The older Rodrigo is naturally right handed, so as a curious kid the younger Rodrigo picked up his father’s mitt and began playing.

“Using my dad’s glove is how I learned to play right handed,” Rodrigo said. “But I am a natural lefty.”

Even though his dad bought him a left-handed glove, Rodrigo’s father told him to practice with both hands.

Max played in the Astros organization from 2009 through 2011, and eventually played for the Gateway Grizzles of the Frontier League, which Rodrigo credits for his current status.

“My brother’s experience helped me get to where I am today,” Rodrigo said.

Rodrigo played in the Rangers organization from 2012-2013 after being signed in 2011 at the age of 16. He was released in January 2014.

AYARZA FIRST HOME RUN

During his free time here in the Capital Region, Ayarza plays ping pong, claiming to be one of the better players in the locker room.

“(Enrique) Chavez is the best ping pong player,” Rodrigo said. “But, I am No. 2.”

Ayarza was born in Bocas del Toro, and did not make it into the United States until 2015 when he played for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Astros.

When he is home in Panama, Ayarza likes to go to the beach and fish with family. His favorite meal is his mother’s fish soup.

His musical tastes include the Christian and Reggae genres. His favorite song at the moment is Don’t Play by Travi$ Scott, which is also his walk-up song.

“It’s a fun song,” Rodrigo said.

SouthPaw’s Not So Scary Halloween 2016!

SouthPaw’s Not So Scary Halloween and Summer Reading Night had a few themes tied in together because Sunday’s Pirates and Princesses Night was rained out! Plus, the Where’s Waldo? Jersey Auction night from the end of July also rained out, so all three themes were connected Monday night and it was fantastic! Over 4,900 people made it to “The Joe,” meaning the stadium was sold out, for the doubleheader!

8 22 16 COSTUME CONTEST 8 22 16 COSTUME CONTEST 1 8 22 16 COSTUME CONTEST 2

During the two games, there were a lot of fun activities including trick-or-treating around the ballpark, a costume contest, Where’s Waldo? scavenger hunt, face painting, and a handful of first pitches.

8 22 16 SENATOR MARCHIONE 8 22 16 TRICK OR TREATING

Three different people threw out ceremonial first pitches! Donald Bulay threw out a first pitch as part of the Make-A-Wish celebration. The grandson of Senator Kathy Marchione tossed a first pitch. Finally, Logan Burniche threw out a first pitch representing BPI.

8 22 16 FIRST PITCH 3 8 22 16 FIRST PITCH 1 8 22 16 FIRST PITCH 2

After the ceremonial first pitches, Life Song delivered a group performance of the national anthem.

8 22 16 LIFE SONG ANTHEM

Then the ‘Cats played, losing both games of the doubleheader while only scoring one run between the two contests. During game two of the doubleheader we had our Where’s Waldo? Jersey Auction, and the winners were able to meet the players on the field for autographs.

8 22 16 RODRIGO AND JERSEY WINNERS 8 22 16 RIP PLAYER GROUP 8 22 16 DANNY ORTEGA JERSEY SIGN

During the sixth inning H&V Collision Mayor’s race, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan defeated Mayor Madden and Mayor McCarthy for the victory!

8 22 16 MAYORS RACE

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Monday night Alex DeGoti and Howie Brey signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

8 22 16 POSTGAME AUTOS

The ValleyCats return to “The Joe” on Friday for a three-game series against the Lowell Spinner, Class-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, with postgame fireworks presented by Market 32! Get your tickets via tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

Medieval Times Night 2016!

Medieval Times at “The Joe” was a night of chivalry and baseball! Over 4,300 people made it to “The Joe,” with many dressed to the theme!

8 20 16 PONY HOP

Prior to the game, there were a lot of fun activities including recognition of the Nassau Little League, a food drive by Hannaford Supermarkets, a check presentation from Hannaford Supermarkets to the Food Pantries for the Capital Region, a scouts walk around the field and a handful of first pitches.

8 20 16 HANNAFORD FOOD DRIVE 8 20 16 SCOUTS WALK 8 20 16 HANNAFORD CHECK PRESENTATION

Five different people threw out ceremonial first pitches! Ralph Della Rocca, Volunteer of the Year, represented Food Pantries for the Capital District. Becket Weir tossed out a first pitch. Joe Landry threw out a first pitch. Girls, Inc. had a representative toss a first pitch thanks to National Grid. Finally, Hannaford Supermarkets had a representative toss a first pitch.

8 20 16 FIRST PITCH 1 8 20 16 FIRST PITCH 2 8 20 16 FIRST PITCH 3 8 20 16 FIRST PITCH 4 8 20 16 FIRST PITCH 5

After the ceremonial first pitch, Rafi Topalian sang the national anthem.

8 20 16 RAFI ANTHEM

Then the ‘Cats played, losing the opening game of the series to the visiting Hudson Valley Renegades, 4-3.

During the sixth inning H&V Collision Mayor’s race, Albany Mayor Gary McCarthy defeated Mayor Madden and Mayor Sheehan for the victory after a knights’ sword fight!

8 20 16 MAYORS RACE

After trailing early, Mustard made up a big deficit and won the hot dog race in the John Ray and Sons motor car!

8 20 16 HOT DOG RACE

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Saturday night Dustin Hunt and Chuckie Robinson signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

8 20 16 POSTGAME AUTOGRAPHS

The ValleyCats continue the series against the Hudson Valley Renegades at “The Joe” tonight with postgame fireworks presented by Market 32! The ‘Cats conclude the home stand tomorrow with SouthPaw’s Not So Scary Halloween and Where’s Waldo? Jersey Auction Night! Get your tickets via tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

Beach Party / Island Night 2016!

Beach Party / Island Night was a sandy, salty luau! Over 3,400 people made it to “The Joe,” with many dressed to the theme!

8 19 16 TOM AND MIKE ISLAND

Prior to the game, there were a lot of fun activities including recognition of the Troy Boys & Girls Club and the Albany Athletics of the American Amateur Baseball Congress, and a handful of first pitches.

8 19 16 TROY BGC 8 19 16 ALBANY ATHLETICS

Six different people threw out ceremonial first pitches! Former ‘Cat Chris Salamida tossed out a first pitch representing the 2016 AABC Champion Albany Athletics. Jaleel Goodbee threw out a first pitch representing the Troy Boys & Girls Club. Julius Semedo threw out a first pitch representing GE Healthcare. Perry Jones tossed out a first pitch representing the Captial City Rescue Mission. Tori Reddick tossed out a first pitch representing Melodies Center.

8 19 16 CHRIS SALAMIDA 8 19 16 JALEEL GOODBEE 8 19 16 JULIUS SEMEDO 8 19 16 PERRY JONES 8 19 16 JAIME ROBERTS 8 19 16 TORI RIDDICK

Tori also joined ValleyCats Manager Lamarr Rogers for the lineup exchange and managers meeting.

8 19 16 TORI MANAGERS MEETING

After the ceremonial first pitch, Racing City Chorus delivered an amazing group performance of the national anthem.

8 19 16 RACING CITY CHORUS

Then the ‘Cats played, losing the final game of the series against the visiting Aberdeen IronBirds, 7-4.

8 19 16 CONNOR GOEDERT

During the sixth inning H&V Collision Mayor’s race, Albany Mayor Gary McCarthy defeated Mayor Madden and Mayor Sheehan for the victory after distracting everyone with his awesome hula dancing!

8 19 16 MAYOR MCCARTHY

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Friday night Brauly Mejia and Kevin Hill signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

8 19 16 PG AUTOGRAPHS

The ValleyCats open a three-game series Hudson Valley Renegades are at “The Joe” tonight. There are postgame fireworks presented by Market 32 tomorrow! Get your tickets via tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

Boots, BBQ, and Baseball / Texas Night 2016!

Boots, BBQ, and Baseball / Texas Night had the stadium full of cowboys and cowgirls! Over 4,000 people made it to “The Joe,” with many dressed to the theme!

8 18 16 TEXAS COUPLE

Prior to the game, there were a lot of fun activities including a demonstration by U.S Budokai Karate, and a handful of first pitches.

US BUDOKAI KARATE DEMO

Six different people threw out ceremonial first pitches! Daniel Connors represented RBC Wealth Management. Jillian of Wild Country 99.9 tossed a first pitch. Brothers Cody and Casey Chase represented the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation. Na’Quan Eubanks represented Berkshire Farm. John Mucha represented the Rotary District 7190.

8 18 16 FIRST PITCH 1 8 18 16 FIRST PITCH 2 8 18 16 FIRST PITCH 3 8 18 16 FIRST PITCH 4 8 18 16 FIRST PITCH 5 8 18 16 FIRST PITCH 6

After the ceremonial first pitch, Capital Harmony delivered a beautiful group performance of the national anthem.

8 18 16 CAPITAL HARMONY ANTHEM

Then the ‘Cats played, winning the game two of the series against the visiting Aberdeen IronBirds, 4-2, in a game where both teams committed two errors. Alex DeGoti scored the eventual game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a wild pitch.

In the middle of the first inning the Rotary District 7190 received recognition from the crowd atop the third base dugout.

8 18 16 ROTARY RECOGNITION

During the sixth inning H&V Collision Mayor’s race, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan defeated Mayor Madden and Mayor McCarthy for the victory after showing off her karate skills!

8 18 16 MAYORS RACE

In the middle of the seventh, Cindy Rosenthal of the Rotary District 7190 sang “God Bless America,” singing an amazing rendition.

8 18 16 GOD BLESS AMERICA

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Thursday night Devin Raftery and Ronnie Dawson signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

8 18 16 POSTGAME AUTOGRAPHS

Sponsors at the game included Ford, Vascular Birthmarks Foundation, Dave & Buster’s, U.S. Army, Rotary District 7190, and Berkshire Farm.

The ValleyCats finish the series against Aberdeen tonight with Beach Party / Island Night. The Hudson Valley Renegades are at “The Joe” Friday, August 19 through Monday, August 22. There are postgame fireworks presented by Market 32 on the 21st! Get your tickets via tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

Half-Way to Valentine’s Day 2016!

Half-Way to Valentine’s Day presented by Glennpeter Jewelers was a night of romance and baseball! Over 5,000 people made it to “The Joe,” meaning the stadium sold out!

Prior to the game, there were a few fun activities including, a check presentation by Saratoga National Bank to the Troy YMCA, pregame recognition of the Albany American Little League, who are the District 13 Section 2 AAA Champions, and a handful of first pitches.

8 17 16 SARATOGA CHECK PRESENTATION ALBANY AMERICAN LL AAA CHAMPS

Six different people threw out ceremonial first pitches! Justin Connolly represented the New York State Office of the State Comptroller. Jim Ahlemeyer represented Troy Boys & Girls Club. Teddy Gialanella celebrated his birthday with a first pitch. Rob Grundman represented Big Blue Realty. Lucas represented the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Terry O’Donnell represented KISS FM.

8 17 16 FIRST PITCH 5 8 17 16 FIRST PITCH 6 8 17 16 FIRST PITCH 1 8 17 16 FIRST PITCH 2 8 17 16 FIRST PITCH 3 8 17 16 FIRST PITCH 4

After the ceremonial first pitch, Hannah Infantado sang the national anthem, delivering a beautiful rendition.

8 17 16 HANNAH INFANTADO ANTHEM

Then the ‘Cats played, winning the opening game of the series against the visiting Aberdeen IronBirds, 6-4. Ronnie Dawson smacked a two-run triple as part of a four-run fifth inning!

8 17 16 RONNIE DAWSON

During the sixth inning H&V Collision Mayor’s race, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy defeated Mayor Madden and Mayor Sheehan for the victory after dropping some awesome dance moves!

8 17 16 MAYORS RACE

After the game, fans were treated to a fireworks show presented by Market 32!

8 17 16 POSTGAME FIREWORKS

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Wednesday night Sebastian Kessay and Bryan De La Cruz signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

8 17 16 POSTGAME AUTOGRAPHS

Sponsors at the game included Ford, Amica, The Desmond, Glennpeter Jewelers, Community Loan Fund, and New York Life.

8 17 16 COMMUNITY LOAN FUND 8 17 16 THE DESMOND 8 17 16 AMICA

The ValleyCats continue the series against Aberdeen tonight with Boots, BBQ & Baseball / Texas Night. The Hudson Valley Renegades are at “The Joe” Friday, August 19 through Monday, August 22. There are postgame fireworks presented by Market 32 on the 21st! Get your tickets via tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

No Place Like Home Night 2016!

No Place Like Home Night presented by the Rensselaer County IDA celebrated the 225th anniversary of the County and the bicentennial of Troy! Over 4,500 people made it to “The Joe,” meaning the stadium sold out!

8 8 16 SAMMY BASEBALL

Prior to the game, there were a lot of fun activities, including the Uncle Sam Bobblehead giveaway, speeches from Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino and Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, pregame recognition of the ValleyCats 2016 All-Stars, and a handful of first pitches.

8 8 16 BOBBLE HEAD GIVEAWAY

8 8 16 KATHY JIMINO SPEECH

8 8 16 MAYOR MADDEN SPEECH

2016 ALL STAR RECOGNITION

Four different people threw out ceremonial first pitches! Jackson Simard, grandson of Kathy, threw out a first pitch. Mayor Patrick Madden threw out a first pitch to Mayor Patrick Madden! Erich Campolungo, general manager of the soon to open Recovery Sports Bar and Grill in East Greenbush, also threw out a first pitch. PJ Washburn, of the La Salle School in Albany, threw out the final ceremonial first pitch on behalf of National Grid.

8 8 16 JACKSON JIMINO FIRST PITCH

8 8 16 MAYOR MADDEN FIRST PITCH

8 8 16 ERICH CAMPOLUNGO FIRST PITCH

8 8 16 PJ WASHBURN FIRST PITCH

After the ceremonial first pitch, Bill Squires sang the national anthem, delivering an amazing rendition.

8 8 16 BILL SQUIRES ANTHEM

During the sixth inning H&V Collision Mayor’s race, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden defeated Mayor McCarthy and Mayor Sheehan for the victory with some help from Sammy Baseball.

8 8 16 MAYORS RACE

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Monday night Ryan Hartman and Miguelangel Sierra signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

8 8 16 PG AUTOGRAPHS

Sponsors at the game included Ford, City of Troy Bicentennial, Rensselaer County IDA, NOPIATES – NY Counterdrug Task Force, Huff N’ Puff, Bath Fitter, and Champion Window.

The ValleyCats return next Wednesday for a six-game homestand through August 22! The Aberdeen IronBirds are in town August 17 through August 19. The Hudson Valley Renegades are at “The Joe” Friday, August 19 through Monday, August 22. There are postgame fireworks presented by Market 32 on the 17th and 21st! Get your tickets via tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

NFL Night 2016

NFL Night was full of fun football activities at the baseball stadium! Over 4,200 people made it to “The Joe,” and many were sporting their favorite NFL team’s gear!

8 7 16 PATS CREW 8 7 16 FANS UP FOR TSHIRT TOSS

Prior to the game, there were a lot of Sunday Funday activities presented by St. Peter’s Health Partners, including our Sunday Summer Reading Program, and pregame on-field catch. Pitcher Makay Nelson and outfielder Carmen Benedetti read Splat the Cat to a group of excited kids. A few hundred people participated in the on-field catch.

8 7 16 MAKAY CARMEN READING

8 7 16 ON FIELD CATCH

One person threw out a ceremonial first pitch to the ValleyCats batboy Charlie with SouthPaw working as the umpire!

8 7 16 FIRST PITCH

After the ceremonial first pitch, John Favreau sang the national anthem, delivering a beautiful rendition.

8 7 16 JOHN FAVREAU ANTHEM

Then the ‘Cats played, defeating the visiting Brooklyn Cyclones, 18-4, setting a new franchise record for runs scored in a game. Designated hitter Spencer Johnson had two extra-base hits, including his fourth home run of the season, and five RBI.

8 7 16 SPENCER JOHNSON IN GAME

During the sixth inning H&V Collision Mayor’s race, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan edged out Mayor McCarthy and Mayor Madden for the victory.

8 7 16 MAYORS RACE

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Sunday night Erasmo Pinales and Tyler Britton signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

8 7 16 PG AUTOGRAPHS

Sponsors at the game included Ford and New York Life.

8 7 16 FORD DISPLAY FROTN

The ValleyCats finish the series with the New York Mets-affiliated Brooklyn Cyclones tonight! It is No Place Like Home Night with an Uncle Sam Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Rensselaer County IDA! The first 1,500 fans to “The Joe” will receive the bobblehead of one of our country’s most recognized patriotic figures! Monday is also Home Improvement Night! Get your tickets via tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

Notte Italiana 2016

Notte Italiana was a night full of Italian themed fun, music, food, and fireworks! Over 5,300 people made it to “The Joe,” which means we sold out the stadium!

Prior to the game, there were a few fun festivities.

H&V Collision combined with GEICO to donate three cars to three veterans in recognition of their service to our country.

8 6 16 H&V RED CAR

8 6 16 H&V WHITE CAR

8 6 16 H&V BLUE CAR

Guilderland Martial Arts performed a detailed routine for fans along the first base line.

8 6 16 GUILDERLAND MARTIAL ARTS

Four people threw out ceremonial first pitches to the ValleyCats batboy Charlie with SouthPaw working as the umpire! Assemblyman John McDonald threw out a first pitch, representing AT&T. Wanda Jahoda, who turns 90 soon, threw out a first pitch. Logan Hardt, who celebrated his 11th birthday with the ‘Cats, threw out a first pitch. Anthony Jerian threw out a first pitch, representing H&V Collision also threw out a first pitch.

8 6 16 ASSEMBLYMAN JOHN MCDONALD

8 6 16 FIRST PITCH 1

8 6 16 WANDA JAHODA

8 6 16 FIRST PITCH 2

After the ceremonial first pitches, Sophia Pasinella sang the national anthem.

8 6 16 SOPHIA PASINELLA

Then the ‘Cats played, defeating the visiting Brooklyn Cyclones, 4-1, in the opening game of the series and home stand.

8 6 16 ENRIQUE CHAVEZ

During the sixth inning H&V Collision Mayor’s race, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan edged out Mayor McCarthy and Mayor Madden for the victory.

8 6 16 MAYORS RACE

After the game, fans were treated to a fireworks extravaganza presented by Market 32!

8 6 16 POSTGAME FIREWORKS

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Saturday night Abdeil Saldana and Bryan De La Cruz signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

8 6 16 PG AUTOGRAPHS

Sponsors at the game included Blood Disorder Association of Northeastern New York, H&V Collision, PEF Membership Benefits, Cooley Motors, AT&T, New York Life, and Capital Region Toys for Tots.

The ValleyCats continue the series with the New York Mets-affiliated Brooklyn Cyclones today with NFL Night! It is also Sunday Funday presented by St. Peter Health Partners! Tomorrow is No Place Like Home Night with an Uncle Sam Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Rensselaer County IDA! The first 1,500 fans to “The Joe” will receive the bobblehead of one of our country’s most recognized patriotic figures! Monday is also Home Improvement Night! Get your tickets via tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

Camp Day / Senior Day

Camp Day / Senior Day with the 11 a.m. matinee start was a fun-filled afternoon for everyone! At least 31 groups attended the game! Over 4,100 people made it to “The Joe,” with most of the Capital Region represented!\

CAMP DAY 1 CAMP DAY 2

Prior to the game, three different people threw out ceremonial first pitches to the ValleyCats batboy Charlie with SouthPaw working as the umpire!

FIRST PITCH 1 FIRST PITCH 2 FIRST PITCH 3

After the ceremonial first pitches, Life Song delivered an amazing group performance of the national anthem.

LIFE SONG NATIONAL ANTHEM

Then the ‘Cats played, defeating the visiting Lowell Spinners, 3-2, in the final game of the series and home stand. Second baseman Ryne Birk led the ‘Cats, finishing with three hits and two runs scored. The pitching staff had a trio of firsts. Left-handed pitcher Ryan Hartman earned his first professional win, right-handed pitcher Kevin Hill earned his first professional save, and right-handed pitcher Tyler Britton started his first game for the ValleyCats.

8 2 16 RYAN HARTMAN IN GAME 8 2 16 KEVIN HILL IN GAME 8 2 16 TYLER BRITTON IN GAME

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Tuesday afternoon Austin Nicely and Agapito Barrios signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

Sponsors at the game included Ford, New York State Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, MVP Health Care, and Finnigan’s Sports Cards.

FINNIGANS SPORT CARDS

The ValleyCats return to host the New York Mets-affiliated Brooklyn Cyclones Saturday through Monday! Saturday is Notte Italiana! with a Mike Piazza Hall of Fame Placard Giveaway presented by AT&T! Stick around after the game as there is a fireworks extravaganza presented by Market 32! Sunday is NFL Night presented by Saratoga Eagle! It is also Sunday Funday presented by St. Peter Health Partners! Monday is No Place Like Home Night with an Uncle Sam Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Rensselaer County IDA! The first 1,500 fans to “The Joe” will receive the bobblehead of one of our country’s most recognized patriotic figures! Monday is also Home Improvement Night! Tickets are available via tcvalleycats.com/tickets!

 

Around the World in 14 Innings: Summer Olympics 2016!

Around the World in 14 Innings: Summer Olympics, presented by National Grid, was an international shindig! Over 3,600 people made it to “The Joe” to watch SouthPaw complete his torch run, handing it off to ValleyCats GM Matt Callahan!

SOUTHPAW JUMPING WITH TORCH

 

Following Sunday’s postponement, the ‘Cats played a double header versus the visiting Lowell Spinner, who are the short-season Single-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The first game began at 4:30 pm, with the second starting roughly 30 minutes after the conclusion of the initial contest.

Prior to the second game, two different people threw out ceremonial first pitches to the ValleyCats batboy Charlie with SouthPaw working as the umpire!

8 1 16 FIRST PITCH ONE

8 1 16 FIRST PITCH TWO

After the ceremonial first pitches, Danielle Fortunato delivered an amazing performance of the national anthem.

8 1 16 DANIELLE FORTUNATO ANTHEM

Then the ‘Cats played, winning game one versus the visiting Lowell Spinners, 2-1, on a walk-off double from catcher Chuckie Robinson. The ‘Cats lost game two, 7-3, splitting the double header.

8 1 16 CHUCKIE ROBINSON WALK OFF CROPPED

After game two ended there was a fireworks extravaganza presented by Market 32!

8 1 16 PG FIREWORKS

As is routine for ‘Cats home games, two players signed autographs for fans at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table. Monday night Tyler Wolfe and Angelo Serrano signed for patient and adoring fans, taking photos with those who asked.

8 1 16 PG AUTOGRAPHS

Sponsors at the game included Ford, the American Red Cross, New York State Parks and Marine Services Bureau, Pandora of Crossgates, and Dick’s Sporting Goods and Field & Stream.

The ValleyCats finish the home stand and series against the Spinners today with an 11 a.m. matinee start time for Camp Day / Senior Day! Tickets are available via tcvalleycats.com/tickets!