Jingle bells, jingle bells, ValleyCats played last night. Oh what fun it was to watch the walk off in the ninth, hey!
Last night was Christmas in July here at “The Joe,” and there was a packed house for the holiday. The Salvation Army Band played out front as fans entered the winter wonderland for a night of baseball. Upon entering the stadium, fans were greeted by Santa himself and had the opportunity to decorate cookies on the concourse.
Santa Claus, Chuck and Kelly from 810 & 101.3 News Radio WGY, representatives from NYSID and Galiivan Companies all joined us on field for the pregame ceremonies and first pitches. Then, Johnathan Schwartz sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem to start off the night.
During the game, fans took part in the NY 529 Puzzle Race, Deli and Brew Pizza Toss, Browns Barrel Race, Capital OTB Pony Hop and of course, the Hot Dog Race. In last night’s race, a christmas present labeled “To Relish, From Santa” found it’s way to the third base line. Relish stopped to open the gift, but it turned out to be a trick, as Mustard came out of the box and stole the win from Relish. The night ended with fireworks presented by Price Chopper and Dick’s Sporting Goods coupons for everyone exiting the stadium.
After a back and forth game, Dexture McCall grabbed the player of the game title going 3-for-5 with a walk-off hit to center field. The victory was the fourth walk-off win of the ‘Cats season, and it came in only the 10th home game. Also excelling at the plate was Garrett Stubbs going 2-for-4 with one RBI, Sewald going 1-for-3 with two runs, two walks and one stolen base, and Mizell going 1-for-3 with one walk and one run driven in.
The ‘Cats are back again tonight to take on the Vermont Lake Monsters for White Out at “The Joe” sponsored by PosiGen Solar. Fans should wear white to show their ‘Cats pride and the first 2,000 people to arrive will receive a free t-shirt! Vamos Gatos!
The Tri-City ValleyCats are getting set to begin a six-game homestand tomorrow, July 15, at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium!
The six-game set will feature a three-game series against the Vermont Lake Monsters spanning from tomorrow to Friday, July 17, followed by three games against the Aberdeen IronBirds, beginning on Saturday, July 18.
This series of games at “The Joe” follows a six-game road trip that took the ValleyCats to Western Pennsylvania, where they took on the Williamsport Crosscutters, and State College Spikes, in two separate three-game sets.
Road Trip Record: 3-3 (1-2 vs. Williamsport, 2-1 vs. State College)
Recap: All six of the games the ‘Cats played on this past trip were hard fought affairs. Following a 10-6 victory to kick off the series in Williamsport, Pa., against the Crosscutters, game two was rained out on Thursday, leading to a doubleheader on Friday night. Both of those seven-inning contests went down to the very end, but unfortunately, the Crosscutters came out on top in both games (a 1-0 walk-off loss for the ‘Cats in game one, followed by a 3-2 defeat in the nightcap).
However, Tri-City bounced right back into the win column once they drove 63 miles southwest to take on the State College Spikes, in a rematch of the last two New York-Penn League Championship Series.
The three-game set in State College kicked off with a slugfest on Saturday night, with Tri-City coming out on top by the score of 8-7. Brooks Marlow and Dexture McCall each hit home runs to lead the ‘Cats offense, while a stellar relief performance by ‘Cats closer Adam Whitt, who pitched 2.1 scoreless innings to close out the game, also helped lead Tri-City to victory.
The following night’s contest was much more of a pitcher’s duel, although the ‘Cats still came away with the win. Dean Deetz struck out five batters in five scoreless innings, while Pat Porter went 3-for-4 with three runs batted in, as Tri-City came away with 3-0 win.
The Spikes prevented the ValleyCats from leaving State College with a sweep, as the host squad took the final game of the three-game set, and the last game in the ‘Cats six-game road trip, by the score of 7-2 in a contest that began at 12:00pm.
Players of the Road Trip: Offensively, Bobby Wernes led the way for the ‘Cats, getting 10 hits in 17 at bats (good for a .588 batting average) in five games during the trip, while posting four multi-hit nights. McCall finished the trip 5-for-15, with a home run and three runs batted in, while Brooks Marlow led the ‘Cats in the RBI category during the trip with six, while adding a home run and one double.
On the mound, Deetz and Elieser Hernandez both threw five shutout innings in their respective appearances on the trip, while Zach Davis (two games, three innings pitched, three strikeouts and no runs allowed), Juan Santos (two games, 3.1 innings, three strikeouts and one save), and Whitt (1-0, one strikeout, no runs in 2.1 innings) highlighted a strong effort by the ‘Cats bullpen.
Notable Achievements: By hitting a two-run home run in the seventh inning against the Spikes on Saturday, July 11, McCall extended his hit-streak to 11 games, the second longest by a New Penn-League batter this season. Although the streak snapped the following night, McCall rebounded on Monday, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Wernes had a four-game streak of getting at least two base hits, before also having that streak snapped on Sunday. However, he also rebounded with a 2-4 performance on Monday.
Roster Moves: Following his five-inning, shutout performance against Williamsport, right-handed pitcher Elieser Hernandez was promoted to the Full-Season A Quad Cities River Bandits, of the Midwest League. That transaction came two days after left-handed pitcher Alex Winkelman, a 21st round draft pick by the Astros this season out of Southeast Missouri State, joined the ValleyCats from Rookie-Level Greeneville.
Today brought another pair of roster moves, as outfielder Drew Ferguson, who was named the New York-Penn League hitter of the week on July 6th, joined Hernandez with a promotion to Quad Cities. Replacing him from Greeneville is outfielder Aaron Mizell. Mizell, a 32nd round draft pick this year out of Georgia Southern University, joins the ‘Cats after hitting .325 with five doubles, one triple, eight runs batted in, and three stolen bases in 20 games with Greeneville.
Up Next: The ‘Cats start their three game series against the Vermont Lake Monsters tomorrow, at 7:00 p.m. Getting the start for Tri-City will be left-hander Zac Person. He will be followed in the rotation by Rogelio Armenteros, and Trent Thornton, whom are expected start for the ‘Cats on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
With the rosters for the 2015 Major League All-Star Game being announced this past weekend, three former Tri-City ValleyCats were named to the American League squad, making it the first time in ‘Cats history that three alums were named All-Stars in the same year.
Those three players, LHP Dallas Keuchel and 2B Jose Altuve, currently of the Houston Astros, and OF J.D. Martinez of the Detroit Tigers, coincidentally all played together in Troy for the ValleyCats during the 2009 New York-Penn League campaign.
Keuchel gets the nod as American League starting pitcher, and deservingly so, as he’s tied for the American League lead in wins (11), second in earned run average (2.23) and first in innings pitched (137.1).
Altuve, who led all of Major League Baseball last year with a .341 batting average, will make his third all-star appearance, and his first in the starting lineup after gaining the most fan votes out of all American League second basemen. This season, he leads the AL with 25 stolen bases, and has already matched his career-high with seven home runs.
Martinez, who like Keuchel will be appearing in his first All-Star Game, is currently second in the AL with 24 home runs, which is already a career-high. The outfielder has been at his strongest as of late, as he was named the AL Player of the Week for the week ending on July 5th, a time period that saw Martinez hit .458 (11-for-24) with six runs, four home runs, one double and 10 RBI’s.
While Keuchel, Altuve and Martinez are producing All-Star campaigns on the Big League level, there are certainly quite a few former ‘Cats succeeding on the Minor League level as well.
Leading the way is 2014 ValleyCats 1B A.J. Reed, who was just promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi. Reed earned his second consecutive California League (A-Advanced) Player of the Month Award in June. The 2014 second-round draft pick hit for an astronomical .434 batting average, with six home runs, and 30 runs batted in for the Lancaster JetHawks, in the month of June alone. That followed a month of May that saw Reed crush 10 homers, while driving in 29 runs, and posting a .327 batting average. All in all, the former Kentucky Wildcat is hitting .347, while driving home 83 runs, which leads all Minor League hitters, and smacking 23 homers (second in MiLB).
Tony Kemp, a 2013 ValleyCat, is another player enjoying a breakout campaign, as the 2013 fifth-round pick is hitting .333 with two homers, 34 runs batted in, and 23 stolen bases combined between Double-A Corpus Christi, and Triple-A Fresno. The natural second baseman has increased his defensive versatility by also seeing time in left and center field. The adjustment to the outfield hasn’t seemed to faze Kemp at all, as he has showed up twice on ESPN Sportcenter’s top 10 plays with highlight-reel outfield grabs.
Kemp, along with 2013 ValleyCats’ teammate Mark Appel, participated in the MLB Futures Game during the All-Star Week. Kemp started at second base and went 0-for-1 at the plate with two walks and a run scored. Appel pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.
Another former ValleyCat who is currently succeeding with Fresno is outfielder Matt Duffy (a 2010 ‘Cat). Duffy is currently fifth in the Pacific Coast League with 62 runs batted in, and is hitting .292 with a total of 26 extra-base hits.
The All-Star selections of Keuchel, Altuve, and Martinez, and the solid campaigns being produced by Reed, Kemp, Duffy, and Heredia are just a few examples of former Tri-City ValleyCats excelling throughout the Minor and Major Leagues, and there are plenty more! So check in next time to read about them in a new “The Joe to The Show,” post presented by Curtis Lumber!
Yesterday was the first Sunday Funday and Jersey Auction of the season at “The Joe.” Sponsored by Saint Peter’s Health Partners, the day started at 3:30 with Adam Whitt and Scott Weathersby reading “The Night Before Summer Vacation,” donated by the Kiwanis Club of Troy, to a group of kids in the Picnic Pavilion. Before the game, families took part in a game of catch on the field and Hannah Infantado sang the National Anthem. Max DePalma from iHeartMedia and Jody McQuiston threw out the first pitches and the 14-inning game began. The ValleyCats presented Jody McQuiston with a $8,102 check for the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York. Fans enjoyed promotions on the field during the game like the NY 529 Puzzle Race, Sonic Musical Interlude, Time Warner Trivia and the Sam A. Lupo & Sons Speedie the Chicken Challenge. After 14 innings of baseball, the ‘Cats took home the win. By the 6th innings, the ‘Cats had a 4-1 lead over the Lowell Spinners, but over the next 3 innings the Spinners tied the score putting the game into extra innings. In the 11th innings, Spinners shortstop Hector Lorenzana hit a solo homerun to left field, but the ‘Cats answered back with a two-out single to drive home a run and tie the game. By the 14th inning, the ‘Cats fought hard to move catcher, Anthony Hermelyn, around the bases. Finally, Dexture McCall hit a ground ball single up the middle on a 3-2 pitch to drive in the winning run for the ‘Cats 6-5 victory. After the game, fans who took part in the Jersey Auction were presented with the Patriotic Jerseys worn by the ‘Cats all weekend on the field. The ‘Cats are back tonight for Bark in the Park night. Fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to “The Joe” and participate in our postgame bark around the bases, presented by 4 Paws Veterinary Care. Vamos Gatos!
Red, White and Blue filled the stands last night for the Independence Day Celebration at “The Joe” presented by the United States Marine Corps.
The night started off with a pull-up competition at the front gates run by the Marine Corps and the view of an Inflatable Drill Instructor behind the center field fence.
During the pre-game ceremonies, the Marine Corps presented Joshua Laramie with a $180,000 scholarship from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps and afterwards the Color Guard presented the colors on the pitchers mound. Miles Tone left the stadium in awe after they beautifully sang the National Anthem. Later in the night, they also sang God Bless America.
The United States Marine Corps, Matthew Arnold and Laura Allen threw out the first pitches of the night to get the patriotic game started. After the first inning, there was a special event on the field. The top to participants in the pre-game pull-up competitions competed in an agility competition sponsored by the Marine Corps. Later in the night, the NY 529 Puzzle Race, Junior Toothfairy, OTB Pony Hops and T-Shirt Toss were all fan favorites.
The ‘Cats put up a fight but by the end of the night, it wasn’t enough and they took home a 7-6 loss to the Red Sox affiliate, Lowell Spinners. On the mound for the ‘Cats was Elieser Hernandez who only allowed one hit in four relief innings and struck out 10 batters. It wasn’t until the fourth inning that the ‘Cats got on the board when Pat Porter scored on a wild pitch. In the next inning, Porter hit a two-run double off the right field wall followed by a two-run home run in the seventh.
After the game the United States Marine Corps joined us on field once again as fifteen Marine recruits took the Oath of Enlistment in front of a packed house. Later on, Price Chopper presented one of the best fireworks display’s in the Capital Region over “The Joe,” and upon exiting the stadium, fans were given dog treat samples and coupons courtesy of Mars Petcare and MiLB. They also had the opportunity to meet Dexture McCall and Johnny Sewald and have them sign autographs at the Mohawk Honda Autograph Table after the game.
The ‘Cats are back today at 5pm to take on the Lowell Spinners again. During the game, bid on the ValleyCats patriotic themed jerseys! In honor of Sunday Sunday, purchase 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 sodas starting at $25. Gates open at 3pm.
The ValleyCats continued their Fourth of July Weekend celebrations last night with Red, White and Blue Glow in the Park Night sponsored by Dave and Buster’s. Upon entering “The Joe,” fans were given glow sticks to lite-up during fireworks and shine bright throughout the stadium.
Dave and Buster’s, D-Scott from KISS 102.3 and Pat Gabriel threw out the first pitches of the night and Leslie Maiello took the field following them for the singing of the National Anthem.
“The Joe” was a packed house for the patriotic night. Fans participated in the NY 529 Puzzle Race, Deli and Brew Pizza Toss, Browns Barrel Race and once again, the stadium got to cheer on their favorite hot dog in the Hot Dog Race. Last night, Relish left the starting gates with a huge lead over Mustard and Ketchup, but what looked to be a crazy Ketchup fan came running out of the dugout, taking Relish down behind home plate and ultimately making him lose the race. As fans exited the stadium they were given dog treats and coupons courtesy of Mars Petcare and MiLB.
The excitement in the stands carried onto the field for the 11 inning game. The ‘Cats had the lead until the fourth inning when the Lake Monster’s left fielder, Seth Brown, hit a bases-clearing, three-run double followed by a solo home run to take the lead, making the score 4-1. The game went back and forth until the ninth inning when Lake Monster’s designated hitter, Mikey White, hit a two-run home run. After two extra innings, the ‘Cats took home a 7-6 win when Sewald hit one to right-center field, allowing Medina to advance to third and ultimately score on an overthrow.
The ‘Cats are back tonight at 6:30 to play the Red Sox Affiliate, Lowell Spinners, in their Independence Day Celebration Game presented by the United States Marine Corps. After the game, stay to enjoy one of the best fireworks displays in the Capital Region presented by Price Chopper!
Last night, the ValleyCats dedicated their game to all those who have devoted their lives to serving our country. Sponsored by CSEA, a patriotic crowd came to pay tribute to our nation’s military and watch America’s favorite past time. Veterans Canteen Service at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center underwrote a number of tickets for veterans, active duty military personnel, and their families to attend the game.
The night started in front of “The Joe” with the Yankee Doodle Band and the Patriot Guard greeting fans on their way in. Later on in the night, the Yankee Doodle Band joined the team on field for the playing of the National Anthem.
Brigadier General Mike Swezey started off the pre-game ceremonies with opening remarks thanking all the Veterans and members of the military for their service. Ryan Scholz from CSEA, SGM Mike Rosen and SFC Leah Rosen threw out the first pitches of the night. Then, from the left field fence, there was a roar of engines. The Patriot Guard rode the warning track around the field only to park in front of the third base dugout for the New York National Guard 42nd Infantry Division to present the colors.
The energy at “The Joe” was like none other when the game began. And although the ‘Cats lost, fans still left with smiles on their faces.The ‘Cats wore red, white, and blue jerseys that will be auctioned off on Sunday as a kick off to a patriotic weekend at “The Joe.” Everything from the Deli and Brew Pizza Toss to the Browns Barrel Race kept the crowd energized in-between innings. Once again, we had our Mayors Race and Hot Dog Race on field. Taking home the win for the Hot Dogs tonight was Ketchup. Relish lead the entire race around the field until he fell over what seemed to be a photographer on the warning track. With Mustard coming in a close second, Relish took another loss.
By the end of the night, the ‘Cats couldn’t tack on enough runs to out score the Lake Monsters. Johnny Sewald, however, had a green game going 3-4 with 2 runs scored and a stolen base. In the first inning, he walked, stole second, advanced to third on a grounder and scored on a passed ball. Drew Ferguson, Cesar Carrasco and Brooks Marlow also performed at the plate last night. On the mound, Harold Arauz pitched 3.2 innings with 4 strikeouts and no runs scored. The ‘Cats lost 9-2, but will face the Lake Monsters again tonight in the final game of this series.
The ‘Cats are back again tonight at 6:30 for Red, White and Blue Glow in the Park Night where fans will receive a glow stick to shine bright during fireworks. If you can’t make it to “The Joe” for the Fourth of July, stop by tonight for a spectacular fireworks show presented by Price Chopper.
Humphrey Bogart had it right when he said “A hot dog at the ball park is better than a steak at the Ritz,” and that’s why it was 50 Cent Hot Dog night last night at “The Joe” courtesy of Old World Provisions and Helmbold’s Hot Dogs.
We started off the night with the Unified Military Affairs Council and Schenectady County Chamber Airplane Pull Awards during the pre-game show with Time Warner’s Time Warriors and MVP Health Care’s Just Plane Awesome team taking home awards. Congratulations to all the participants!
Last night was also, Eastern New York Travel Baseball Night. Over 500 youth baseball players and their families attended the game as we recognized the Upstate Thoroughbreds for being the champions of the inaugural ValleyCats Fall Classic. This year’s tournament is set to kick off September 16th, right here at “The Joe.”
After the awards, the Fort Orange Club Singers sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem only to return in the 7th inning for a singing of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.
Kevin & Shanna from 99.5 The River, Perry Jones and The Hot Dogs (Ketchup, Mustard and Relish) threw out the first pitches of the night. Unfortunately Relish’s pitch, to no one’s surprise, didn’t manage to hit the catcher’s glove, but everyone else did a fantastic job!
Once the game was underway, Kevin & Shanna hosted a mini Hot Dog Eating Contest on the concourse. Thirty contestants scarfed down 10 mini hot dogs each, all in hopes of winning the Hot Dog Eating Crown. After three innings of preliminary rounds, we crowned Jim the Hot Dog Eating Champion, who ate a total of 20 mini hot dogs to earn his title. Congratulations, Jim!
Meanwhile, on field we had our usual fun participating in the NY 529 Puzzle Race, 5th Inning Drag (to the tune of Mickey Mouse Club House’s Hot Dog Dance Song), Junior Toothfairy, Mayors Race and the most highly anticipated event of the night…the Hot Dog Race.
Everyone knows that Relish is losing in the all-time Hot Dog Race Standings, but last night, he was about a foot away from claiming his first victory. The Hot Dogs entered onto the field by what seemed to be a choreographed dance to “Who Let the Dogs Out” when all of a sudden Relish bolted from the group to the finish line, pushing Ketchup out of the way to get there! But sadly, the jump start wasn’t enough. Relish tripped right before the finish line and Mustard took home the win. Better luck next time, Relish.
As if the night weren’t exciting enough with 50 Cent Hot Dogs, the ‘Cats snagged an 8-2 win over the Lake Monsters! Ferguson lead the offensive side of things ending the night 3-4 with two home runs, a double and three runs scored. Dexture McCall also got himself on the board with a solo home run to left field in the sixth inning. The energy followed the ‘Cats onto the field when Pat Porter threw a bomb from right field to get Trace Loehr out at home. On the mound, Dean Deetz took home the win after three strikeouts and only allowing one hit in 3.1 scoreless innings.
Tonight the ‘Cats return to “The Joe” for game 2 of their 3-game series against the Vermont Lake Monsters. First pitch is at 7pm and the theme of the night is one we’re all very proud of…Veterans and Military Appreciation. The team will be debuting their special edition Patriotic Jersey’s and Caps that they will wear until Sunday when they’re auctioned off. Join us as we honor, celebrate and thank all those who have dedicated their lives to serving our country.
It’s that time of year again and you know what that means…the ‘Cats are back! That’s right, the ValleyCats debuted their 2015 team Thursday and it was a weekend to remember. For a video of the weekend, click here!
The ‘Cats played their home opener, presented by Rensselaer County Department of Health, against the Staten Island Yankees on Thursday. With a sold out crowd, every fan that walked through the gates received a free schedule magnet courtesy of BODY ARMOR Super Drink. Using four pitchers, the ‘Cats kept the Yankees off the board all game, ending the night with a score of 6-0. Johnny Sewald, Mohawk Honda Player of the Game, went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI’s and a stolen base. By the end of the game, Twitter said it best, “The boys (of summer) are back in town.”
Friday night brought good friends and good food to “The Joe” thanks to BlueShield of Northeastern New York and Hannaford Supermarkets. As part of Youth Baseball Night, we kicked off the game with an on field parade with over 10 Little Leagues. Despite Cesar Carrasco’s 3 RBI double in the second inning, the ‘Cats couldn’t recover the three run deficit that was to come. A hard-fought game by both teams led the ‘Cats to a 7- 4 loss, only to come back strong the next night.
Saturday’s rain didn’t keep the ‘Cats off the field or the fans out of the stands for a great game. It was GE Kids in Free Night at “The Joe” and everyone was excited to take part in a night of Boots, BBQ and Baseball for Texas Night. Adam Whitt claimed his first professional win on the mound with 4 strikeouts and no base runners. Down 10-6 going into the 8th inning, things weren’t looking up for the ‘Cats until Kolbey Carpenter’s 9th inning, 2-out double to right-center field to tie the game. After 10 innings of fans on the edge of their seats, the ‘Cats took home the win with an 11-10 victory over the Yankees to bring their record to 5-4 this season.
Amidst the home stand craziness, SouthPaw, Pappy and our Street Team still managed to make it to the Paws in the Park Awareness Walk with the Humane Society and read and play games the kids at the Mount Pleasant Library in Schenectady. And they had a great time doing it!
We’ve got another six-game home stand starting on Wednesday against the Vermont Lake Monsters. Be sure to get your tickets for 50 Cent Hot Dog Night, Veterans/ Military Appreciation Night and Red, White and Blue Glow in the Park Night. On Saturday, we’ll be celebrating Independence Day with fireworks and a game against the Lowell Spinners, the Red Sox affiliate’s team, followed by Sunday Funday and Bark in the Park Night.
This weekend was a busy one for us here at the ValleyCats. With three events in two days, we got to see tons of our fans around the Capital Region. We started off early Saturday morning by partnering with Mohawk Road Runners Club for our Father’s Day Home Run 5K. Over 400 participants came out for the race that started at the front of “The Joe” and ended on the field. Congratulations to the individual winners, father-son and father-daughter winners and everyone who came out for a great race!
Next, with the help of Hannaford, we brought our Show on the Road to Saratoga for the annual Mayor’s Cup between Saratoga American and National Little League. The festivities began in the late afternoon with our Plastic Classic homerun derby competition, giveaways, inflatable games and hula-hoop contests. Once the championship game was underway, our promotions team brought their a-game for a night of on-field events. Kids got to participate in everything from the Spiedie Chicken Challenge, Pony Hops, Dizzy Bat and plenty more. At the end of the night, Saratoga National Little League took home the trophy and everyone got to celebrate on field with SouthPaw. Check out our video from the night here!
Sunday morning we were back at “The Joe” for our annual Father’s Day Brunch. About 100 people came out for some catch on the field and a great meal in our pavilion. Thank you to all the families who celebrated such a special day with us, we hope to see you again next year!
We have a busy week ahead of us with our Opening Day just 2 days away. Be sure to come to “The Joe” for a free schedule magnet and fireworks on Thursday night! The game starts at 7pm against the Staten Island Yankees. Vamos Gatos!
The Tri-City ValleyCats put together a very solid season-opening series this past weekend, as they took two out of three games on the road against the Connecticut Tigers. Past ValleyCats players also enjoyed great weekends, and have put up productive 2015 campaigns as well. Here are a few highlights from this weekend’s action in another edition of “The Joe to The Show,” presented by Curtis Lumber.
OF J.D. Martinez (’09) celebrated Father’s Day in style, as the current Detroit Tiger hit three home runs, including two off of Masahiro Tanaka, in a 12-4 victory against the New York Yankees. His final home run gave him 17 on the season, passing Miguel Cabrera for the team lead.
Houston Astros OF George Springer (’11) also had a great Father’s day, going 3-5 with a home run and two runs scored in a 6-2 win against the Seattle Mariners. The 25-year old extended his hitting streak to 14 games, hitting safely in a span dating back to June 7th that has seen him hit .458 with four home runs and seven runs batted in. On the year, Springer holds a .284 batting average, with 12 home runs, 26 runs batted in, and 13 stolen bases.
Father’s Day performances by ex-‘Cats were not confined to the Big Leagues, as RHP Mark Appel (’13), who played for the ValleyCats the same year he was selected first overall in the 2013 MLB Draft, tossed a seven-inning complete game for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks on Sunday against the San Antonio Missions. The 23-year old struck out six batters, while allowing only four hits and one unearned run. This start continues a strong June for Appel, who improved to 2-0 with 20 strikeouts, and only four earned runs in 23.1 innings, good for a 1.54 ERA during the month.
The performances by Martinez, Springer, and Appel were just a few examples of standout performances by former Tri-City ValleyCats throughout the Minor and Major Leagues, and there are plenty more! So check in next time to read about them in a new “The Joe to The Show,” post presented by Curtis Lumber!
As the school year comes to a close for most kids, we were happy to give students an unofficial start to summer yesterday at The Joe with our annual Education Day game. What better way to kick off summer than with 25 schools and over 4,200 people in attendance for a morning baseball game baseball?
The ValleyCats hosted the Albany Dutchmen of the Perfect Game League (a summer league for collegian players) in the first ever exhibition game at “The Joe” and in the spirit of good sportsmanship, both teams sat down for a post game picnic
after the ValleyCats’ 6-3 win.
Thanks to our partners at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Noble Gas, Transfinder and St. Peter’s Health Partners Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Assistance Program at Samaritan Hospital, students were treated to a day of learning by covering topics like Math, Geography and Science in an interactive pre-game curriculum.
Students helped SouthPaw calculate his concession stand bill, find the distance to the new West Virginia Stadium, determine player statistics and figure out state capitals. They also got a dose of character development by joining Sammy Baseball, SouthPaw and friends in taking an anti-bullying peace pledge before the game. They also had an opportunity to sign the ‘Cats Peace Pledge, which will be displayed at the stadium throughout the summer.
While the Dutchmen were able to grab a 2-0 lead in the first inning, it wasn’t enough to keep the ValleyCats down. By the bottom of the fourth, the ValleyCats had a 3-2 lead over the Dutchmen, thanks to an RBI double from Keach Ballard, an RBI single by Johnny Sewald and a sacrifice fly by Drew Ferguson.
At the plate, Cesar Carrasco went 4-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Johnny Sewald took the Player of the Game title after his RBI, hit and stolen base. The Play of the Game went to Keach Ballard’s fourth inning double off the right field wall that led to the ‘Cats’ three run rally.
While a day of baseball is always fun, it wouldn’t be a ValleyCats game without the in-between inning events. Students were randomly selected to participate in on field games like the Deli & Brew Pizza Toss, Transfinder Bus Race, Pony Hops, T-Shirt Tosses, and more!
After a great day of learning and baseball, the ValleyCats are ready to kick off their regular season on June 19th in Connecticut. The ‘Cats will be back in town after a six-game road trip for their official home opener against the Staten Island Yankees, at 7 P.M. on Thursday, June 25.
Another week of baseball is in the books, and that means yet another set of games that have seen strong performances by former Tri-City ValleyCats. Here are a few highlights from this week’s action in another addition of “The Joe to The Show,” presented by Curtis Lumber.
This past Sunday, RHP Michael Feliz (’13) became the 36th former ‘Cat to reach the Major Leagues, making his debut for the Houston Astros against the Chicago White Sox.
Entering the game in relief to start the top of the ninth inning, the 21-year old right-handed pitcher allowed a double to White Sox second baseman Carlos Sanchez, but buckled down and retired the next three batters, capped off by an inning-ending strikeout of Adam LaRoche to strand Sanchez on third.
Feliz was sent back down to Double-A Corpus Christi following the game, as the Astros aim to continue his development as a starter. So far this year, the native of Azua, Dominican Republic holds a 1-2 record with a 4.20 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 40.2 innings over 10 games (five starts) split between Corpus Christi and Advanced A-Lancaster.
Another former ‘Cat currently excelling at the big league level is Kike Hernandez (’10), who is contributing to the Los Angeles Dodgers as a utility player, making starts at all three outfield positions, as well as second base and shortstop. Offensively, Hernandez has carved out a spot in Los Angeles’s lineup thanks to his defensive versatility, as he has started the last five games, while playing three different positions during that span. During those games, Hernandez has six hits in 17 at bats, with a home run, two runs scored and two runs batted in. In 23 games overall with the Dodgers this season, 23-year old is hitting .273 with two homers and five runs batted in.
Brandon Barnes (’07) has also been on a hot streak lately, as the Colorado Rockies outfielder has six hits through his first four games in the month of June, bringing his season batting average up to a robust .348 (16 hits in 48 at bats). Since being recalled by the Rockies on May 20, he has progressively settled in as a temporary starter in left field due to the injury to Corey Dickerson, but if Barnes continues his hitting tear, it will be hard to keep him out of the lineup once Dickerson becomes healthy.
In the Minor Leagues, it certainly has been a good week to be a former ValleyCat playing for the Advanced-A Lancaster JetHawks. This past Saturday, OF Derek Fisher (’14) broke a 61-year old California League record with 12 runs batted in, hitting three home runs (two of them grand slams!) and a double in a 4-6 night, helping the JetHawks to a 16-3 victory over the High Desert Mavericks. To make the night even sweeter for Fisher, the game was his first at that level, as he got promoted to Lancaster from Single-A Quad Cities the night before.
Fisher homered again one day later against High Desert, but somehow he was upstaged in the game by another former ‘Cat, as Alfredo Gonzalez (’14) hit two home runs in ONE INNING, to cap a 10-run frame for the JetHawks. The two long balls hit during the sixth frame were the first two of the year for Gonzalez, who is hitting .295 with six extra-base hits and 16 runs batted in through 28 total games played between Quad Cities and Lancaster.
Not to be left out of the Lancaster hit parade of the past week was the versatile Marc Wik (’14). Defensively, the 22-year old has started at second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field in 26 games for the JetHawks thus far this season. And just like the aforementioned Kike Hernandez, Wik has used his defensive versatility to stay in the lineup, and saying that has paid off for him would be a gross overstatement. The Fremont, Calif., native has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games, posting a .463 batting average (19-41) with two home runs and six runs batted during the streak. The highlight of his season thus far, came this past Tuesday, when he went 4-4 with a double, a triple, and a home run to become only the seventh Minor Leaguer in 2015 to hit for the cycle.
The performances by Feliz, Hernandez, Barnes, and the trio of Lancaster sluggers were just a few examples of standout performances by former Tri-City ValleyCats throughout the Minor and Major Leagues, and there are plenty more! So check in again next week to read about them in a new “The Joe to The Show,” post presented by Curtis Lumber!
June is only a few days away, and that means that before you know it, the Tri-City ValleyCats will be starting their defense of their 2014 Stedler Divison Title. But although New York-Penn League baseball has yet to begin at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, we continue to take a weekly look at how ‘Cats alums are performing in the Major Leagues, and in the higher rungs of Minor League Baseball in “The Joe to The Show,” presented by Curtis Lumber.
With the Houston Astros still sporting the top record in the American League (30-18 entering today, good for a six-game lead over the Los Angels Angels in the AL West standings), the ValleyCats’ parent club is certainly getting contributions from up and down their roster. However, quite a few ‘Cats are at the top of the list.
Starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (’09) continues to show that his breakout 2014 campaign was anything but a fluke, as the left-hander sits among the top three in the American League in wins (6), earned run average (1.92), and innings pitched (72.2). And according to ESPN.com’s CY Young Predictor, Keuchel is currently a close second to Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez among all American League hurlers.
Outfielder George Springer (’11) is also producing for the Astros, and doing so while on a very strong hot streak. The 2011 first round draft pick has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, posting five multi-hit performances during that time, while hitting .394 with four doubles, one home run and six runs scored during that span (May 20-27). Overall this season, Springer also is fourth in the American League in walks with 29.
While an AL East rival of the Astros, the Oakland Athletics, has struggled thus far, they are starting to get some of their key players healthy and on to the field. One of those players is Ben Zobrist (’04). The 2B/OF missed a month due to knee surgery, but has hit safely in all three games since his return to action on May 26. In those three contests, the two-time All-Star earned four hits in 11 at bats, cracking two doubles, while driving in one run and scoring once.
Former ‘Cats continue to perform in the Minor Leagues, as well. In fact, all four of the Astros full-season MiLB affiliates currently hold winning records, with three of them (Triple-A Fresno, Double-A Corpus Christi, and Single-A Quad Cities), are in first place.
In Fresno, third baseman Matt Duffy (’11) has been on a tear lately, going 13 for 41 over his last ten outings, with two doubles and four multi-hit games during that span. On the year, the former New York-Penn League All-Star is hitting .281 with four home runs and 29 runs batted in.
This past Tuesday, Michael Feliz (’13) made his Double-A debut with Corpus Christi, doing so in style by striking out seven batters en route to only allowing one run off of one hit. In the process, the 21-year old righty earned the save in a 4-1 Hooks’ victory. Before his promotion, Feliz had a 1-1 record, with a 4.41 ERA, and 33 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched in Advanced-A with Lancaster.
For Single-A Quad Cities, infielder Mott Hyde (’14) hit his first home run of the season on Wednesday during a 2-4, 2RBI night. So far this year, Hyde, who was the ValleyCats’ starting shortstop last season, is hitting .315 with 17 extra-base hits and 18 runs batted in.
Those are just a handful of players throughout the Minor and Major Leagues that are excelling after playing for the Tri-City ValleyCats, and there are plenty more! So check in again next week to read about them in a new “The Joe to The Show,” post presented by Curtis Lumber!
Well, it is Friday! And that means (other than the fact that Memorial Day Weekend is right around the corner) it is time to take another look at how former Tri-City ValleyCats players are doing in the Major Leagues, as well as on their road up the Minor League ladder, on this week’s edition of “The Joe to The Show,” presented by Curtis Lumber.
On May 7th of this season, outfielder Preston Tucker (’12) became the 35th former ‘ValleyCat to complete the road from “The Joe to The Show,” and reach the Major Leagues. That night, he made his big league debut against the Angels, and got his first big league hit with a game-tying RBI in the ninth inning. Yesterday, Tucker again showed the clutch gene, coming through under pressure and hitting his first big league home run while pinch hitting with one out in the ninth inning. His long ball, coming off of the Detroit Tigers’ star closer Joakim Soria, tied the game at 5-5.
Despite the fact that the Astros eventually fell to the Tigers 6-5 in the bottom of the 11th inning, Tucker’s late-game smash is likely to help him continue to get consistent playing time this early in his career. Through 10 big league games thus far, the 2012 7th round draft pick has 9 hits in 29 at bats (good for a .310 average) to go along with four runs batted in, four doubles, and his one home run.
Tucker is not the only former Tri-City ValleyCat contributing to the Houston Astros’ red-hot start, however, as they continue to lead the American League West standings, currently holding an AL-best 27-15 record.
On the mound, southpaw starter Dallas Keuchel (’09) is showing that is breakout 2014 campaign was anything but a fluke, as he currently leads the American League with a 6-0 record and a miniscule 1.67 earned run average in 64.2 innings.
Second baseman Jose Altuve (’09) is leading the AL with 15 stolen bases, while a .306 batting average to go along with five home runs and 24 runs batted in, while outfielder George Springer (’11) is fourth in the American League with 27 walks, while also hitting six home runs and stealing 10 bases.
Former ‘Cats are making noise on other teams around the Major Leagues as well, as three-time All-Star Hunter Pence (’04), only five games back from a broken arm, is hitting .300 with with a home run and five runs batted in the for defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.
For the Detroit Tigers, outfielder J.D. Martinez (’09) has already smacked nine home runs, and knocked in 18 RBI’s.
In Los Angeles, Kike Hernandez (’10) is hitting .281 with a home run and three runs batted in through fourteen games for the Dodgers. Defensively, the versatile fielder has already made appearances at all three outfield positions, as well as at shortstop and second base.
ValleyCats alums continue to rack up big numbers in the Minor Leagues as well. Playing with the Advanced-A Lancaster JetHawks, 1B A.J. Reed (’14) has hit .366 with three home runs and 10 RBI’s in his last 10 games, bringing his season average up to .293 to go a long with his 11 homers and 35 RBI’s.
With the AA Corpus Christi Hooks, Vincent Velazquez (’12) has shown little rust despite missing the first month due to injury, as the right-handed pitcher has struck out 20 batters in only 14.1 innings, while holding a 1.88 earned run average and a 1-0 record through his first three starts.
While these are only a few of the many players succeeding in pro baseball after first gracing the field at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, there are sure to be many more outstanding performances to come. So check in next week for a new “The Joe to The Show,” post presented by Curtis Lumber!