Despite some challenges from the weather (Friday’s game was rained out and Sunday’s delayed), ValleyCats fans were treated to some exciting baseball and lots of fun at “The Joe” this weekend. Special thank you to the many fans who donned umbrellas to wait out a delayed start on Sunday evening. And of course a tip of the cap to our grounds crew, the boys from Brickman, for all their work in getting the field ready.
Due to Friday’s rain out, the ‘Cats and Tigers played a doubleheader on Saturday with the first of two seven inning games beginning at 5:30 PM. Local Farm & Agriculture Night was the theme with the New York Farm Bureau welcoming members for a picnic event. Rensselaer County Farm Bureau President, Tim Marbot, tossed out a ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 2 and the Farm Bureau display included a tractor by the stadium’s main gate. Our friends from the United States Department of Agriculture were also on hand to educate our fans about the damage being done to our forests by the emerald ash borer beetle.
Saturday night also marked our annual Scout Night Sleepover. Over 800 boy & girl scouts attended the game and almost 300 camped out in the outfield! The scouts kicked off Game 2 with a special color guard and enjoyed a baseball classic, The Sandlot, on the big screen after the game.
On the field, the ValleyCats earned a split against the Tigers. After dropping the first game 5-1, the ‘Cats came back in the second game with a 4-0 win, their first shutout of the year. Dan Gulbransen continued his hot streak, with an RBI single in the 4th inning. Adrian Houser pitched four impressive innings in his second start of the season.
‘Cats OF D’Andre Toney makes a diving grab in the 1st game of the doubleheader against Connecticut
Tri-City right-fielder Ronnie Mitchell connects on a pitch during the ‘Cats 5-1 loss against the Tigers
Sunday marked our first Sunday Funday of the season with families from all over the Capital Region in attendance. Sunday was also Hall of Fame Night with our friends from Cooperstown joining us for the day. The Frank & Peggy Steele Internship Class of 2013 participated in a special presentation prior to the game as ‘Cats President, Bill Gladstone, VP/GM, Rick Murphy, and Manager, Ed Romero, each addressed the group in the Picnic Pavilion.
Interns from the Baseball Hall of Fame showcasing collections from Coopertown near the main gate
The Hall of Fame also brought along some great artifacts for our fans to check out, including a Derek Jeter jersey from the 1996 World Series, Jeff Bagwell cleats from the 2000 season when he set the record for most runs in consecutive years, a 1920’s model mitt from Troy native and Hall of Famer Johnny Evers, and a 1934 model Babe Ruth bat.
Rene Leroux and our friends from the Capital District Baseball Hall of Fame were also on hand. The 2013 class was announced with members recognized on the field as well. CD Baseball Hall of Famer, Don Blaha, showed that he’s still got it as he fired a first pitch strike of his own.
The University of Albany men’s and women’s basketball teams were in attendance and drew a nice ovation when they were each recognized for winning the America East Conference on their way to NCAA Tournament bids.
Despite some rain and a lot of tarp pulls, we were able to get the game started with 6:35 PM first pitch. The ‘Cats struck for two runs in the first inning, thanks to-guess who-Dan Gulbransen, who launched his third home run of the season into the right-field bullpen to put Tri-City up 2-0. Michael Feliz earned the win after a strong six innings on the mound, allowing just one run and striking out six Connecticut hitters. The ‘Cats improved to 7-1 at home and a New York-Penn League-best 11-3 overall with a 6-2 victory. Gulbransen extended his hitting streak to nine games, and recorded his sixth straight game with an RBI. After Sunday’s game, he was hitting a league-high .415, and was also tied for the league lead in RBI and runs scored.
‘Cats IF Chan Moon putting on a show for the fans during the rain delay, dancing to “Gangam Style” in incredible fashion
Dan Gulbransen connects in the 1st inning of Sunday’s 6-2 Tri-City win for a two-run home run, his third of the year
Michael Feliz struck out six Tigers over his six innings, improving to 2-1 on the year
Following the game, kids were invited onto the field to run the bases . . . a great way to cap off the homestand! The ‘Cats are on the road for a short set with Vermont before returning to kick off an action-packed homestand on July 4th! Join us as we celebrate our nation’s birthday with fireworks and tributes to our veterans throughout the weekend.