A season worth celebrating!

We’ve arrived at the end of baseball season here in Upstate New York, as the ValleyCats have wrapped up another spectacular summer at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. Despite falling one game shy of winning back-to-back New York-Penn League Championships, we consider 2014 a HUGE success!

On the field, we went 48-28 in the regular season and were 26-12 at home, setting a new record for home wins. For the third year in a row, we won the Stedler Division title to advance to the postseason. And for the fourth time in five seasons, we played for the league title. In Short-Season Class A ball, that’s an accomplishment of which to be proud.

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From an organization standpoint, we had the best season on record, as we set an all-time total attendance record with 161,171 fans during the regular season.

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Add in the 8,145 fans during the playoffs and nearly 170,000 fans attended a ValleyCats baseball game this summer. Additionally, other events such as our Friday Night Lights series, Capital Region Series, Section II High School Championships, and Capital Region Craft Brewers Festival brought our total attendance to nearly 180,000!

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A beautiful sky above “The Joe” during the Capital Region Series, a tournament hosted by the ValleyCats in June, to raise money for the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation, which assists in the renovation of local youth ball fields throughout the Capital Region.

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The Capital Region Series featured four teams; three local financial institutions (First Niagara, CAP COM Federal Credit Union, SEFCU), and one team comprised of the local media.

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The Shenendehowa Plainsmen captured the Section II Class AA Title at “The Joe.”

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The Averill Park Warriors capture the Section II Class A title at “The Joe.”

Once again, we cannot express our thanks enough to you, the fans, for your support this summer! THANK YOU FANS for making this season so special! Our team fed off your energy and your support is what makes coming to “The Joe” the best part of summer in the Capital Region.

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Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from our playoff run – our first home game was Sept. 4 against the Connecticut Tigers. The ’Cats jumped out to a big lead and held on for the victory, 6-5, to sweep the series 2-0 and advance to the NYPL Championship Series.

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The Connecticut Tigers and Tri-City ValleyCats prior to Game 2 of the New York-Penn League Semi-Final Series at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

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ValleyCats outfielder Jason Martin

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Derek Fisher and Terrell Joyce

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The Connecticut Tigers made their first playoff appearance since moving to Connecticut from Oneonta in 2010.

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The ValleyCats defeated the Connecticut Tigers and advanced to the New York-Penn League Championship Series for the third straight year.

In his second season with the ValleyCats, skipper Ed Romero led the ‘Cats to a 48-28 record, the league best. Romero now has 92 victories as the ‘Cats manager, good for second all-time behind Gregg Langhben (2004-06, 127 victories).

A few days later, we took on the State College Spikes for the second year in a row with the NYPL Cup on the line. After falling in Game 1 to the Spikes in State College, Penn., we returned home with ace RHP Joe Musgrove on the hill. Musgrove shined bright, as he had all season, and led the ’Cats to a 3-0 victory to even the series.

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Joe Musgrove pitched 7 innings, allowing no runs on only two hits, while striking out eight Spikes.

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ValleyCats manager Ed Romero and Spikes manager Oliver Marmol go over the ground rules with the umpires.

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The State College Spikes, affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, finished the season tied with the ValleyCats for the best record in the league at 48-28. The ‘Cats owned the tie-breaker over the Spikes, and therefore had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

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Facing a must-win situation after losing Game 1 in State College, the ‘Cats pulled out the victory to force a winner-take-all Game 3.

Prior to the game, BlueShield of Northeastern New York presented a check to the Capital District YMCA as part of their season-long “Ks for Kids” promotion.

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In the deciding Game 3, over 3,100 fans came out to “The Joe,” which by playoff attendance standards, is fantastic!! Prior the game, the ‘Cats were as loose as they have been all year. It may have been because they knew, that no matter what, this was their last game together.

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‘Cats relief pitcher/NYPL All-Star Ryan Thompson lays across the laps of Ariel Ovando, Angel Heredia, Francis Ramirez, and Chris Munnelly.

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‘Cats pitchers (L-R): Angel Heredia, Bryan Radziewski, Chris Munnelly, Robert Kahana, Vince Wheeland, and Randall Fant.

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Things got off to a shaky start, however, as the Spikes posted a 6-spot in the first inning, which proved to be too big of a deficit for the ‘Cats to overcome. State College cruised to the championship win, the first in their franchise history.

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After our season ended, we hosted the ValleyCats Fall Classic, a 16U Eastern New York Travel Baseball (ENYTB) tournament, presented by Frozen Ropes of Albany.

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The tournament consisted of eight youth teams, with a double-elimination format. What made this tournament so unique, aside from playing on a professional baseball field and utilizing professional clubhouses and an indoor batting cage, each player received their own headshot and walk-up music, just like the ValleyCats!

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The championship was decided on Monday night at “The Joe,” with the Upstate Thoroughbreds taking home the title on a walk-off in the bottom of the 7th!

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And so that signaled the end of baseball at “The Joe” in 2014, but we still have plenty of events going on throughout the offseason. This coming weekend, we have not one, but TWO walks dedicated to raise funds for great organizations.

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Beginning late Friday will be our annual Relay For Life of Rensselaer County to benefit the American Cancer Society. The Relay continues through the night into early Saturday morning. Join our team, or start your own!

Later that day at “The Joe,” Make-A-Wish Northeast New York’s inaugural Walk-For-Wishes will take place. Families, friends, corporations, clubs, and schools are invited to walk together and raise funds for children in the Greater Capital Region facing life-threatening medical conditions. Click here for full details>>

We hope to see you here at one of these events or other upcoming ones. Stay tuned to www.tcvalleycats.com, and our Facebook and Twitter feeds, for information this offseason, including our schedule release in the coming months!

VAMOS GATOS!

Romero Readies Team For Playoffs

By Brady Farkas

Just last week I was listening to sports talk radio.

I heard that baseball managers don’t have too much control of the game. There’s too much going on, and you have too little control to make a huge impact.
 
In the case of Ed Romero and this year’s Tri-City ValleyCats, I couldn’t disagree more. The ValleyCats earned the No. 1 seed in the NYPL playoffs with a 48-28 record, and Romero is a big reason why.
 
The ability to think on the fly and to adjust is critical for a minor league manager – and Romero has perfected it.
 
Romero has done his job this season: Develop his players. And as a result, he’s seen a majority of his team come and go. He’s lost four of his biggest offensive threats in A.J. Reed, J.D. Davis, Ryan Bottger and Bobby Boyd. He’s lost the league’s best pitcher in Troy Scribner and two of his most consistent relievers in Jordan Mills and Raul Rivera.
 
Blaine Sims, a member of his opening week rotation, and Marc Wik, his opening day center fielder, are also gone.
 
Two players from his opening day starting lineup are no longer with the organization.
 
Despite the constant fluctuation in lineup and pitching rotations, players rehabbing in Tri-City, and players needing days off, Romero has kept his team’s performance consistent.
 
The team has adjusted on the fly, no longer counting on home runs, but playing a speed game and a game based on situational hitting, good pitching, and good defense.
 
Romero has tinkered: This player up in the order, this player down, this righty-lefty matchup, this bullpen guy in this situation, but he’s figured out how to win with any roster he has in front of him.
 
Should we surprised? No. He helped lead the ‘Cats to the NYPL title in 2013? Who’s to say it can’t happen a second time.
 
Vamos Gatos.

Game Recap: Fans For Life Night at “The Joe!”

Hey, ‘Cats fans and happy Labor Day! We hope everyone is having a relaxing three-day weekend and enjoying the final days of summer. On Saturday night, we celebrated the best fans in MiLB here at “The Joe” on Fans for Life Night and GE Kids in Free! The ‘Cats game against the Brooklyn Cyclones wrapped up the last homestand of the regular season as we set a franchise record for single season attendance at 161,171. Thank you fans for making this possible through all of your support in 2014!

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As soon as gates opened, our fans were greeted by the ValleyCats players and coaching staff, who met with fans for photos and autographs before our pregame ceremonies began. Mayor Kathy Sheehan of Albany was in attendance for a ceremonial first pitch, and a surprise appearance in the Tri-City Mayor’s Race! Lucy Gladstone, the granddaughter of ValleyCats president Bill Gladstone sang the National Anthem in front of our fans before the games began. There was a packed crowd at “The Joe” enjoying a beautiful night with food, baseball and end-of-summer fun!

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The ‘Cats were able to celebrate a win on the final home game of the regular season, 3-2 against the Brooklyn Cyclones. In addition to the attendance record, the ValleyCats set a new record for the most wins at home in one season with 26. Good job, ‘Cats!  Fans stuck around after the game for our tennis ball launch and fireworks show!

Now, the ‘Cats head towards the playoffs as a top-seeded team, earning home field advantage with the first playoff game on Thursday, September 4.Playoff tickets are available by calling 518-629-CATS or visiting the ValleyCats box office here at “The Joe!” Thank you again to all who came out to the ballpark this season to support the ValleyCats and make this summer another memorable one! Now, head out for the playoffs and keep cheering on the ‘Cats! #VamosGatos #UnoMas

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Game Recap: Diamond Dig/Early Oktoberfest

Hey, ‘Cats fans! Sadly, the 2014 regular season is coming to a close here at “The Joe” with our last few games against the New York Mets affiliate, Brooklyn Cyclones. Last night was our Diamond Dig/Early Oktoberfest theme sponsored by Jewelry by Don Cook. It was a gorgeous night for baseball and for 5,501 fans to pack the stands!! There was a lot going on inside the stadium for our Ladies Night out with a postgame diamond dig, Oktoberfest food and beer specials in the Field of Dreams, and a visit from MiLB Blogger Benjamin Hill of the Ben’s Biz blog!

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During our pregame ceremonies, we recognized several teams from UAlbany athletics to congratulate them on championship seasons. We also had our Employee of the Month recognitions on the field as well followed by a record number of ceremonial first pitches before the ‘Cats took the field for a 7 p.m. start.

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“The Joe” had a full crowd for 9 innings of exciting baseball with a ‘Cats 3-2 win over the Cyclones! Following the game, we had our Diamond Dig for the ladies down on the field as they searched for a pair of diamond earrings courtesy of Don Cook of Jewelry by Don Cook! We ended the night with our tennis ball launch and postgame fireworks show!

 

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With losses by the Hudson Valley Renegades and State College Spikes, the ValleyCats are now tied for the second best record with the Spikes as we’re heading towards the playoffs. Tonight is our final regular season home game on Fans for Life Night as the ‘Cats look to get the sweep against the Cyclones to move them closer to a higher seed! We hope to see you out at the ballpark to celebrate another great summer!

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Game Recap: Home Improvement Night

Hey, ‘Cats fans! The ValleyCats began a three-game series with the New York Mets affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones here at “The Joe!” We’re almost through with the final homestand of the regular season as summer comes to a close. Luckily, the ‘Cats have clinched the Stedler Division and will be making a playoff appearance very soon!

Last night, we had Home Improvement Night here at “The Joe” presented by TrustCo Bank. We set up a Home Show our concourse during the game where fans were able to visit each of the booths for a chance to win a night in a luxury suite in 2015!

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Many local Mets fans came out to the park to see their affiliate team, the Brooklyn Cyclones at “The Joe” as the ValleyCats looked to snap their losing streak and finally celebrate their Stedler Division title. It was a beautiful night for 9 innings of exciting baseball! SouthPaw had a great time with Trusty the TrustCo mascot and meeting with the Cyclones players!

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After coming back from behind, the ‘Cats won 4-3 with a walk-off thanks to Alex Hernandez in the 9th! The champagne came out and the ‘Cats celebrated down on the field for clinching the Stedler Division for the third year in a row. Tonight, the ‘Cats hope to continue with another win against the Cyclones on Diamond Dig/Oktoberfest Night presented by Don Cook Jewelers. The regular season is coming to a close, so head out to “The Joe” and support your 2014 Stedler Division Champs! Vamos Gatos!20140828_cats_vs_cyclones_-1285 20140828_cats_vs_cyclones_-1649 20140828_cats_vs_cyclones_-1698 20140828_cats_vs_cyclones_-1739

Game Recap: Game Show/Summer Reader Night

Hey, ‘Cats fans! We’re making our way through the final regular season homestand here at “The Joe” after wrapping up a three-game series with the Vermont Lake Monsters last night. It was a fun night at the ballpark as we welcomed families and children out for the NY 529 College Savings Plan Summer Readers Night. There was a drawstring backpack giveaway for fans, and a V.I.P. recognition for the Delgrosso family, who won our Summer Readers contest, Read Your Way to “The Joe.”

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We also challenged our fans to the ALS #IceBucketChallenge by bringing a dunk tank into the park for fans to raise awareness and complete the challenge. Together, we raised $1,000 for the ALS Regional Center at St. Peter’s Hospital and had some fun doing it, too! Our Assistant General Manager Matt Callahan took the plunge into the ice cold water, as well as ValleyCats Vice President/General Manager Rick Murphy and some of the ValleyCats players!

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We recognized the South Colonie 8u baseball team during our pregame ceremonies and had several ceremonial first pitches down on the field before the game began. We celebrated Game Show night with on-field contests inspired by the Price is Right, Cash Cab and more! The ‘Cats fell 4-2 to the Lake Monsters in the final game of the series, but the ValleyCats begin a new series tonight with the Mets affiliate, Brooklyn Cyclones! We hope to see you out at “The Joe” to help us finish off the regular season!

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Game Recap: Dark Tuesday/Track Night

Hey there, ‘Cats fans! We’re almost halfway through the final regular season homestand for the ValleyCats at “The Joe!” Last night we celebrated Dark Tuesday and Track Night as the ValleyCats took on the Vermont Lake Monsters in the second game of a three-game series. The evening’s festivities kicked off at 5 p.m. for our final Tunes for Tuesday of the season with a live performance from Home Brewed Band. Fans enjoyed Two-for-Tuesday beer specials and live music on the concourse!

We welcomed Ronald McDonald and his friends from the Ronald McDonald Charities of the Capital Region for our specialty track-themed Jockey Silk jersey auction to benefit the charity. SouthPaw sure enjoyed his new uniform and the chance to rock out with the band!

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We had a National Anthem performance by the Saratoga Soundtrack group, followed by some ceremonial first pitches from Jesse Calhoun and members from the Ronald McDonald House. The ValleyCats headed right into the starting gate to kick off the game against Vermont, while in between innings, we held some themed on-field promotions and entertainment for our fans on Track Night! We also sold mystery autographed baseballs to benefit the Ronald McDonald house with signatures from current ValleyCats and Houston Astros players. Following the ‘Cats 2-1 loss to Vermont, the players took the jerseys off their backs to give to the auction winners and take photos on the field.

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IMG_3053 DSC_0656 DSC_0649 DSC_0658Tonight, the ‘Cats take on Vermont on Game Show Night/Summer Reader Night presented by the NY 529 College Savings Plan Program. After clinching the Stedler Division title earlier this week, the ‘Cats are looking to stay on track and win some games in front of our loyal fans at “The Joe!” See you soon, and Vamos Gatos!

Game Recap: Healthy Living Night/”You Run The Show”

Hey, ‘Cats fans! We welcomed the ValleyCats and our loyal fans back to “The Joe” last night to kick off the final regular season homestand in 2014. We celebrated Healthy Living Night presented by Subway Restaurants, and we let our fans #RunTheShow for “You Run The Show” and Social Media Monday! Fans were able to decide which food and merchandise specials they wanted to see, which music they wanted to hear and more! They chose the color caps the ValleyCats wore and who got the hot seat interview during our pregame ceremonies. It was fun to turn things over to the fans and see their photos, tweets and Facebook posts throughout the night!

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Fans poured into the stadium to see the ‘Cats hopefully clinch the Stedler Division with a win against the Lake Monsters, or with a Connecticut Tigers loss. Local ball player JP Sportman came back into town playing on Vermont, which drew some local supports in to the stadium as well. We also recognized the Niskayuna 9u All-Star team during the pregame ceremonies down on the field. The Subway mascots walked around our concourse, participated in our in-between inning entertainment and interacted with fans throughout the night!

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Though the ‘Cats fell 5-2 to the Lake Monsters, the Connecticut Tigers loss to Lowell crowned the ValleyCats the 2014 Stedler Division Champions for the third straight year! Postgame, we had an on-field check presentation with OneMain Financial and the Interfaith Partnership for the homeless, and fans came down to dance the Cha-Cha Slide to help stomp out homelessness! We finished the evening with postgame fireworks presented by Price Chopper.

Tonight, we return to “The Joe” for Track Night/Dark Tuesday with a specialty jersey auction to benefit the Ronald McDonald House! Only a few regular season home games remain, so head out to the stadium to cheer on your 2014 Stedler Division Champs as they push towards another New York-Penn League title! Vamos Gatos!

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Game Recap: Blizzard in August Night

Hey, ‘Cats fans! Were you a little chilly last night at “The Joe?” It must have been the threat of snowy weather in the forecast for our Blizzard in August Night sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps! Fans came into the stadium wearing white and were able to receive a white t-shirt giveaway for our attempt to white-out the stands and cheer on the ‘Cats. The U.S. Marines had a table set up as people came through the gates and could interact with members and try the pull-up bar challenge! Even SouthPaw and the ValleyCats General Manager Rick Murphy gave it a shot. Impressive work!

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Don and Lois Frame were in attendance celebrating their 62nd wedding anniversary and were able to head down on the field for a ceremonial first pitch before the ‘Cats took on the Vermont Lake Monsters. The Troy Children’s Choir sang the National Anthem and dressed all in white to support the nightly theme!

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The ‘Cats looked to take the second game of a two-game series against Vermont, but fell 4-2 after 9 innings. However, ‘Cats outfielder Derek Fisher celebrated his 21st birthday with a solo home run!! Now, the ‘Cats continue to push towards the postseason while they hit the road for three games in Brooklyn before we begin the final homestand of the regular season at “The Joe” on Monday, August 25 for Healthy Living Night/ You Run the Show presented by Subway with postgame fireworks! We hope to see you out at the ballpark to help cheer on the ValleyCats to close out the summer!

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Game Recap: Texas Night

Howdy, ‘Cats fans! Following the New York-Penn League All-Star break, the ValleyCats returned home to “The Joe” on Texas Night: Boots, BBQ and Baseball presented by Dave & Buster’s! Fans were able to join us at the ballpark to celebrate the Lone Star State and our MLB affiliate, the Houston Astros!

During the pregame, we held a fundraiser for the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center. They joined us on the field for some of the pre-game festivities, including a ceremonial first pitch opportunity. Dave & Buster’s sponsored the evening’s theme and had tables along our concourse. There were some great BBQ food special at Left Field Louie’s as we celebrated the nightly theme!

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We also recognized ValleyCats players who played on the New York-Penn League All-Star team in Brooklyn on August 19. Outfielder Derek Fisher, pitcher Ryan Thompson, catcher Jamie Ritchie and third baseman Nick Tanielu were selected to play for the North team, and Tanielu earned MVP of the game! Upstate Ford had a vehicle display up front where fans could enter to win an Upgrade with Upstate promotion to win a ValleyCats jersey, premium box seat upgrade and a ValleyCats gift card!20140820_185535IMG_2634

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It was great to see our fans out for the game and our postgame ball launch and fireworks show! One lucky fan tossed his tennis ball into the Mountain Man kayak, which he got to take home! The ‘Cats lost the first game of the series to the Vermont Lake Monsters, but we return to “The Joe” tonight for Blizzard in August with a white t-shirt giveaway. Come join us at the stadium to catch a ‘Cats game before the regular season ends!

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Profiling the ValleyCats All-Stars

By Brady Farkas

With the New York-Penn League All-Star Game set to take place Tuesday night in Brooklyn, it’s time to look at what has made the ValleyCats representatives so good during the season’s first 63 games.

Nick Tanielu: Officially listed as a designated hitter on the all-star roster, Tanielu has played both second and third base for the ValleyCats this season. He’s filled in nicely at third for most of the season since J.D. Davis’ promotion to Quad Cities.
Defensively, Tanielu has good range and is able to get to most balls. He also has a quick release and a good arm that has allowed him to look very comfortable at the hot corner.
Offensively, Tanielu is hitting .307. He has good power and has shown the ability to drive the ball to the gap. While offensive forces like A.J. Reed, Ryan Bottger, and Davis have seen promotions, Tanielu has moved into the middle of the order, which was a bit of an adjustment at first. He has quick hands and is able to pull the ball well, we just need to see him drive it the other way more consistently over the last 13 games.
Jamie Ritchie: Ritchie, a catcher, has been on fire all season long at the plate. Simply put, whenever he plays, he produces. He can hit to all fields and has good pitch recognition. Furthermore, he’s able to spoil pitches for opposing pitchers. His ability to draw walks and get deep into counts has served him well thus far. He’s a good line drive hitter, but his lone home run of the year was a two-out, game-tying shot in the bottom of the ninth against Husdon Valley. He’s hitting .365.
Derek Fisher: Fisher, the Astros supplemental first-round pick (No. 37), has certainly played like a high draft pick. Another ValleyCat hitting above .300 (.325), Fisher has provided Tri-City stability in the No. 3 spot of the order since his arrival from the University of Virginia. He’s got a great swing and really quick hands that allow him to get to pitches at all velocities.
He’s also got a great eye and doesn’t go outside of the strike zone. The thing that has impressed me most is his speed. He can stretch singles to doubles and can steal bases at will.
He’s also adjusted well to becoming among the lone lefties in the lineup. After having Bobby Boyd, A.J. Reed, and Ryan Bottger around him as fellow LH earlier in the year, Fisher is often the top lefty threat, and is pitched accordingly by opponents.
Ryan Thompson: Thompson, the lone pitcher the ValleyCats are sending, has anchored down the bullpen this season after a stellar career at Campbell University. His submarine delivery has baffled hitters — and he’s gotten nine saves thus far. He throws strikes and doesn’t walk people. It’s easy to succeed with that formula.
He also throws two pitches for strikes at will and can keep opposing batters off-balance.

Game Recap: Pirate Night

Ahoy, ‘Cats fans! Last night, the ValleyCats continued their three-game series against the Hudson Valley Renegades here at “The Joe” on Pirate Night! Though the threat of rainy weather loomed throughout the stadium during the day, when game time rolled around there were clear skies and we were able to enjoy some ValleyCats baseball. Fans participated in our treasure hunt throughout the stadium for a chance to win ticket vouchers and the ultimate prize of a treasure chest with Mark Appel signed memorabilia! We also had a Mark Appel poster giveaway for the first 2,000 fans, the #1 overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft. The ‘Cats are neck and neck with the Renegades for the top spot in the New York-Penn League.

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Before the game, we recognized the Colonie Little League 11 and 12-year-old All Stars for winning the State ll Championships. The 12-year-olds went on to play in the regional tournament in Bristol, Connecticut and made it to the semifinals, just 2 wins away from the Little League World Series. Congratulations on a great season and a job well done!DSC_0468 DSC_0463

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It was great to see so many pirates out at the park and our loyal ValleyCats fans who came out to the game despite the forecast! Terrell Joyce hit his 9th home run of the season, but the ‘Cats dropped the second game of the series to the Renegades. Tonight, we return tonight for Circle of Life/Halfway to Valentine’s Day presented by Glennpeter Jewelers. It’s a postgame fireworks night, as well as our tennis ball launch and vow renewal on the field after the game! We hope to see you out at “The Joe” to cheer the ValleyCats on to victory!

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Game Recap: Irish Night

Hey, ‘Cats fans! It’s nice to have the ValleyCats back at “The Joe,” isn’t it? The team returned from a six-game road trip to take on the Hudson Valley Renegades at home for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday with Irish Night presented by the Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival. It was a great night at the ballpark, as we began the night with a pregame concert by Hair of the Dog in our Picnic Pavilion. Fans gathered around to listen to live music and enjoy our Irish food and drink specials on the concourse at our specialty kiosk, Murphy O’Callahan’s!

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Many fans dressed up to show their Irish Pride, and were also able to see some Irish entertainment from the Columbia & District Pipe Band, and dancers from the Farrell School of Irish Dance. The mischievous Doubles O’Callahan made some appearances throughout the night after popping up in the latest episode of “The (Front) Office.” DSC_0640 DSC_0743 DSC_0682 DSC_0710 DSC_0618 DSC_0786 DSC_0600
On the field, the ‘Cats came up with a BIG 3-2 extra innings win against the Hudson Valley Renegades. Houston Astros outfielder Alex Presley began his first game during his rehab assignment here in Tri-City. Recent call-up Jason Martin hit a home run in his first at-bat at “The Joe,” and the ‘Cats came behind from a 2-1 deficit to tie it up in the 9th with Jamie Ritchie’s first home run of the season, followed by an extra innings victory with the help of Alex Hernandez. Both Ritchie and Hernandez earned our player of the game recognition as the team celebrated with a Gatorade Ice Bucket Challenge (well, sort of). The ‘Cats continue the homestand against the Renegades as they keep battling to be the best team in the New York Penn-League! See you soon, ‘Cats fans!

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A Story of Redemption: Ariel Ovando’s 10th Inning AB

By Brady Farkas

Man, baseball can be a frustrating sport. The failure can be overwhelming. And it often is. That’s why it’s so hard to get to the professional ranks.

 
But, when you overcome that failure and work around it, ah, what a sweet moment that is.
 
That was the case for Ariel Ovando during the 10th inning of Tuesday’s 3-2 ValleyCats win vs. the Hudson Valley Renegades, a win that propelled the ‘Cats to a tie for the best record in the New York-Penn League (39-19) with said Renegades.
 
Ovando had had a frustrating night to that point, flying out to the wall twice and looking below average on a three-pitch strikeout in a fifth inning at-bat against Renegades starter Chris Pike. 
 
When he came up with no out and a runner at first in the 10th, he had a chance to turn his night into a productive one by simply advancing Mott Hyde to second. 
 
Manager Ed Romero put the bunt sign on, and Ovando put down a great bunt that went just foul down the third-base line.
 
*Note to any bunters in need of executing a successful sacrifice: Ovando’s first attempt was TOO good. It danced on the chalk briefly before going foul. In that situation, just get it down in fair territory, and anywhere except directly to the pitcher.*
 
His second attempt also went foul, and with an 0-2 count, I found myself wondering if the ‘Cats were desperate enough to get Hyde to second that Romero would put the bunt on even with two strikes.
 
He didn’t. And after a ball made it 1-2, Ovando laced a double to the left-center field gap that advanced Hyde to third. And after Juan Santana was walked intentionally to load the bases, the stage was set for Alex Hernandez’s walk-off single.
 
Ovando had a tough night early, and after failing to the bunt down, it was in a position to get tougher. But he was able to clear his head and deliver when his team needed it most.
 
Baseball doesn’t lose the mental battle very often, often crushing its players in seas of repetitive failure. 
 
But not on Tuesday. Not for Ariel Ovando.
 
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‘Cats Chat Episode Five

Tri-City ValleyCats media personalities Sam Sigal and Brady Farkas discuss how the ‘Cats rebounded from their first significant losing streak, while also talking about the players who they expect to make an impact during the stretch towards the playoffs.

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