EVANSVILLE ANNOUNCES 2021 COACHING STAFF

The Evansville Otters and manager Andy McCauley announced the team is bringing back the entire coaching staff from the 2019 season and welcoming in Billy Easley as an assistant coach to the staff.

Evansville advanced to the Frontier League postseason for the fourth consecutive season in 2019 and earned the franchise’s first Frontier League division title since 1999.

McCauley is entering his 11th season as manager of the Otters. In ten seasons as the Otters’ skipper, McCauley has guided the club to five postseason appearances and a league championship in 2016 and has set franchise records in games managed (910) and wins (474).

McCauley was the Roger Hanners Frontier League Manager of the Year in 2014, taking the Otters back to the postseason for the first time since the 2006 championship season.

In 2019, McCauley guided the team to a franchise-tying record of 57 regular season wins.

Familiar names and faces will return to work alongside him in the dugout at Bosse Field.

“I am certainly fortunate to not only have the people on my staff, but to have the stability of this coaching staff,” McCauley said. “It speaks to the commitment of Mr. Bussing and the Otters’ organization to have the best coaching staff possible.”

Charles “Boots” Day returns for his 10th season with the Otters and he will again serve as the bench coach in 2021. Day was the franchise’s first manager in 1995, leading the team to a 31-38 record after a playing career that included stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Montreal Expos over a six-year period.

“Boots brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from over 50 years in professional baseball,” McCauley said. “He assists with our base stealers, outfielders and hitters, and he is irreplaceable as bench coach with his input on game situations.”

Bobby Segal will be in his fifth season with the team as hitting coach this summer. Segal, an Indiana University graduate, served as a collegiate hitting coach for nine seasons and a summer coach for five years before joining the Otters in 2016.

“Bobby does an outstanding job with the hitters,” McCauley said. “His tireless work ethic mixed with his knowledge and winning resume are the perfect combination for any level of professional baseball. We are very fortunate to have Bobby. He also is a big part of player procurement. His past connections with college coaches, collegiate summer leagues and the American Association are all useful avenues we have used in past seasons.”

Max Peterson returns to Evansville for his seventh season as pitching coach. Peterson, a San Diego native, was hired in 2014 after a five-year playing career that included time in the Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox organizations.

“Max does an outstanding job with our pitching staff,” McCauley said. “He is a very talented evaluator and good communicator within his staff. Max is an integral part of finding talent as well as developing his pitchers.”

In 2019, Peterson was given the Darren Bush Frontier League Coach of the Year Award. Peterson’s guidance led six Otters’ pitchers to being signed to MLB affiliated organizations.  Peterson also led the Otters’ pitching staff to a franchise single-season record of 868 strikeouts, which led the Frontier League. The franchise’s last record-setting mark was 832 in 2017.

Rob Watson will continue in his role as an assistant coach specializing in player procurement and Phil Britton will serve as an assistant coach specializing in catcher instruction.

Watson was on McCauley’s first staff in Evansville during the 2010 season and served as an acting manager during the 2017 postseason.

“Rob is the longest continuous coach on my staff and is a very big help in the short spring training period,” McCauley said. “He is a very good evaluator of hitters and infielders, and his input is heavily relied upon with our final roster decisions. Rob is also a big help with player procurement, having strong ties in Southern California and around Oklahoma.”

Britton played under McCauley with Evansville in 2011, finishing the season with two home runs and 15 RBIs.

“Phil is an outstanding catching instructor we have been lucky to retain,” McCauley said. “Very few independent teams have a dedicated catching instructor and Phil is one of the best. Phil is tasked with getting the catchers, pitchers, and staff all on the same page in two short weeks. He is an outstanding technician and teacher at one of the toughest positions in all sports.”

The Otters have also announced the addition of Billy Easley as an assistant coach on the staff.

Easley has been an assistant coach at NAIA Oklahoma City University for the last six seasons. Since joining OCU, Easley has helped coach two All-Americans and three professional catchers. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Radio/Television/Video from the University of the Ozark’s and a Master’s degree in positive coaching from the University of Missouri.

“Billy was highly recommended to me by a trusted baseball guy I’ve known for over 20 years,” McCauley said. “He will be a helpful addition to the club, assisting Bobby Segal and Phil Britton by working closely with the catchers. This will give Bobby more time to work with the hitters without neglecting the instruction and fundamental drills needed throughout the season. I am very excited to have Billy on our staff.”

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.

The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

SPEED AND POWER RIGHT RECIPE FOR OUTFIELD SUCCESS FOR BOULDERS

The wait has been far too long, but the return of New York Boulders’ baseball to Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona is right around the corner.

And, with it comes the excitement and anticipation of playing in a new league, the Frontier League, with a new manager in charge in T.J. Stanton and a roster brimming with new faces, including a quartet of skilled outfielders.

Stanton, who managed the Trois-Rivieres Aigles in the Can-Am League for three-plus seasons covering the second half of the 2016 campaign and running through the end of the 2019 season, when he was tabbed the league’s manager of the year, is confident that the four outfielders he has inked to contracts can succeed both offensively and defensively.

Heading into the season, the Boulders’ outfield depth chart includes Milton Smith, Kevonte Mitchell, Jack Sundberg and Ryan Ramiz. Of that quartet, Mitchell is the lone righty batter.

“Our outfield is stacked with speed,” Stanton said. “All are above average and Sundberg and Smith are absolute burners. Mitchell and Ramiz are bringing the power.”

Smith, 23, was a 22nd-round choice in the 2018 MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins out of Meridien Community College in Mississippi. In his two seasons in the Miami organization, Smith hit .352 in 2018 with the Gulf Coast League Marlins and .305 at Batavia of the Class A New York-Penn League the next year. At Batavia, he also swiped 20 bases.

“(Smith) is super-fast,” Stanton said. “In 96 games, he has a batting average of .326, more importantly 37 stolen bases, only 60 Ks and an OBP of .403. Smith is a huge, huge piece of our goals – the perfect lead-off hitter.”

Mitchell, 25, was a 13th round selection of the Chicago Cubs in 2014 out of Kennett (MO) High School. In 2019, he showed his power with 14 home runs for Myrtle Beach in the Class A Carolina League.

“(Mitchell) is an uber-athlete power-speed combo,” Stanton said. “A former Baseball America top 30 prospect. He grew a few inches and gained over 20 pounds of muscle since he originally signed. His 117 extra-base hits came mostly in the last two to three seasons. He will probably be a four or five hitter.”

Mitchell is listed at 6’4” tall and weighing 185 pounds.

Sundberg, 27, a 26th round choice of the Washington Nationals out of UConn, has played four seasons in the Nats’ organization, topping out in high-A ball with Potomac of the Carolina League. He is a lifetime .262 hitter with 53 career stolen bases.

“(Jack Sundberg) is a crazy athlete, has always batted for a god average and OBP (.355) and very low Ks,” Stanton said. “He has the potential to add extra base and stolen bases in Independent Ball. He gives us another leadoff option, but probably (will hit) in the two-, seven-, eight- or nine-hole.”

A native of Neptune, NJ, Ramiz, 25, was a 23rd round selection out of Seton Hall University in 2018 by the Seattle Mariners. In 2019 at West Virginia of the Class a South Atlantic League, in 119 games, Ramiz stroked 23 doubles, three triples and seven home runs.

“After his (Ramiz) two seasons as a pro, his power really started to develop,” Stanton said. “His Ks are a bit high, but he has the potential to be a 15-home run, 25-doubles guy. He also has above average speed – (he will hit between) fourth and eighth in the order.”

After an exhibition game on May 22 against the NYPD – game time is set for 6:30 p.m., the New York Boulders’ much anticipated Frontier League debut will arrive on May 27 when they host the Washington (PA) Wild Things at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona.

Game time for Opening Day is 7 p.m.

The Boulders will conclude their two-game opening series with Washington the following day. That game is also a 7 p.m. start.

A complete New York Boulders’ 2021 schedule, as well as information regarding season tickets and packages for the 2021 season are available by calling 845-364-0009 or sliding to www.NYBoulders.com. Individual game tickets will go on sale April 19.

Meanwhile, tickets for the NYPD exhibition game on May 22 are on-sale now.

Attendance at all home games at PCU Park is subject to New York State Department of Health guidelines and protocol.

Debuting in 1993, the Frontier League is the largest and longest-running of the modern independent leagues and features teams stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway.  In September of 2020, the Frontier League reached an agreement to become a “Partner League” with Major League Baseball.

As a “Partner League,” the Frontier League and its teams will meet on a regular basis with MLB representatives to discuss joint marketing and promotional opportunities, as well as collaborate on initiatives to provide organized baseball to communities throughout the United States and Canada.

More information can be found at www.frontierleague.com.

About the New York Boulders and NYB, LLC

The New York Boulders are entering their 10th season of Professional Baseball as part of the newly-formed Frontier League and are in pursuit of a post-season appearance for the seventh straight season. Founded as the Rockland Boulders in 2011, the franchise rebranded as the New York Boulders in advance of the 2020 season. In 2014, the Boulders won the Can-Am League Championship and hosted the Frontier vs. Can-Am All-Star Game in 2019. Proud to be part of the rich history of professional baseball in the New York City region, during the 2017 season the team welcomed its 1,000,000th fan to Palisades Credit Union Park located in Rockland County, NY. In 2012 and 2014, Rockland was named the Can-Am’s “Organization of the Year.” The Boulders are owned and operated by NYB, LLC, a sports and entertainment company comprised of former executives from all levels of major and minor league sports. NYB is committed to providing superior customer service and quality, affordable family entertainment experiences for the New York Metropolitan area, Lower Hudson Valley and northeast New Jersey. Slide to www.nyboulders.com for more information.

WILD THINGS BOLSTER STAFF FOR 2021 SEASON

The Washington Wild Things’ roster for the quickly-approaching 2021 season has grown by one more today as the team has announced the signing of pitcher McKenzie Mills to a contract. Mills, a former 18th round pick out of Sprayberry High School (Ga.), most recently spent time during the American Association’s 2020 season with the Winnipeg Goldeyes.

Mills started two games and appeared in a third for Winnipeg last summer and logged 7.1 innings. The stint was on the heels of six seasons in the minors out of high school. He played for three different organizations during those six seasons: Washington (drafted by the Nationals in 2014), Philadelphia (traded with international pool money for Howie Kendrick) and Miami (traded for Justin Bour).

Now, Mills is set to join the Wild Things for the 2021 campaign.

“McKenzie was a guy we discussed for the past few months. He’s been valued by many organizations over the years and his experience with over 75 pro starts is meaningful,” said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. “McKenzie brings us another left hander to balance out the rotation and a demeanor with something to prove.”

Manager Tom Vaeth said the acquisition is a “huge addition” for the team.

“This is a guy who was a top prospect that was included in major-league trades a few years ago and is looking to regain that form and get back on track to reach the big leagues,” said Vaeth. “I know from talking to him that he is coming in with a huge chip on his shoulder and is eager to prove that he is ready to take the necessary steps to reach the next level. We are looking for him to pitch at the top of our rotation and to be one of the premier left-handers in the league.”

Mills reached as high as Double-A with the Marlins organization in 2018 and 2019, and comes to the Wild Things with 107 MiLB appearances (75 starts). He logged 421.2 innings and fanned 384 batters in the six years in the three farm systems. His strikeout to walk ratio was 2.33 in the minors.

“It’s been a rough offseason trying to get an affiliated job,” said Mills. “I spoke with Tom and he was willing to give me an opportunity to prove myself. Hopefully a season with the Wild Things leads to something great. My personal goal is to show teams that I’m ready to compete at the big-league level. A lot of my ups and downs have been mental and command of my secondary pitches. This offseason I believe I made those adjustments. As a teammate I want all the players to know I have their back and I’m always available for advice and talking about the game in general.”

Mills said fans can expect a hard worker.

“Everyday is a day to better yourself on and off the field,” said Mills. “Fans should except a bulldog on the mound.”

The Wild Things are scheduled to open their season May 27 against the New York Boulders on the road, with the home opener slated for June 4.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League, partner league of Major League Baseball, that plays in Washington, PA. Since their inception in 2002, the Wild Things have won six division titles and earned numerous playoff appearances. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media platforms and website, washingtonwildthings.com. For other inquiries, call the front office at 724-250-9555.

 

FORMER ROCKFORD MANAGER FRISBIE JOINS TIGERS’ MLB COACHING STAFF

The Detroit Tigers have hired former Rockford Aviators’ field manager James Frisbie as a left-handed batting practice specialist.  Frisbie, who was assigned number 97, will be part of Detroit’s coaching staff and be uniform for all games.

“The Frontier League has always been my home, and I know that the Frontier League always had the best intentions for me and my career,” Frisbie stated.  “I appreciate everything that the Frontier League has done to help me and have great respect for the many people I worked with during my time there.

Frisbie was hired as Rockford’s field manager 23 games into the 2013 season.  He managed the Aviators through the 2015 season, guiding the team into the playoffs for the first time since the 2007 season.  Frisbie managed the West Division team in the 2015 All-Star Game.

Frisbie managed three future Major League players during his time in Rockford, Jose Martinez, Drew Rucinski, and Josh Smoker.  From Frisbie’s coaching staff, Jeff Brooks now works for MLB China and Patrick O’Sullivan is a hitting coach in the San Diego Padres’ organization.  Former players Tyger Pederson (Double-A hitting coach for St. Louis) and Alex Sunderland (professional scout for the New York Yankees) also now work for MLB organizations.

Along with his time in Rockford, Frisbie served as pitching coach for the Chillicothe Paints in 2005, helping guide the team to the Championship Series, and for the Gateway Grizzlies in 2019.

A former pitcher at Abilene Christian University, Frisbie spent four seasons playing in the Texas-Louisiana League for the Alexandria Aces, Lafayette Bayou Bullfrogs, and Greenville Bluesmen.  Along with Rockford, Frisbie managed the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings (Central League, 2003), Bradenton Juice (South Coast League, 2007), Texas AirHogs (American Association, 2016), and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Atlantic League, 2018). He had been hired to manage the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association for the 2020 season.  Frisbie also served as Pitching Coordinator for the California Winter League the past three years.

Frisbie is the ninth Frontier League alumni on a Major League Baseball coaching staff for 2021, joining Jeff Albert (St. Louis), Darren Bush (Oakland), Donnie Ecker (San Francisco), Andy Haines (Milwaukee), Chris Hook (Milwaukee), Mike Kashirsky (Chicago White Sox), Guillermo Martinez (Toronto), Brendan Sagara (Texas),

Founded for the 1993 season, the Frontier League is the largest and longest running independent professional baseball league.  An official Partner League of Major League Baseball, the Frontier League features 16 clubs stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway.  The Frontier League annually moves the most players into Major League Baseball organizations of any of the independent leagues.

THIS SEASON IT IS GOING TO BE… Y’ALL OR NOTHING

The Florence Y’alls unveil their 2021 promotional schedule and announce individual tickets are on sale on the same day. The Y’alls are ecstatic for their first true season. Fans will see classic promotional nights return along with brand-new nights guaranteed to excite.

The Y’alls season will kick-off with an extravagant opening weekend. Fans can start Memorial Day weekend off right at Y’alls Ballpark on Saturday, May 29 with a firework show and band performance after the Y’alls take on the Southern Illinois Miners. Bronson Arroyo, our featured guest at the ballpark, and his band take the stage Sunday, May 30 and will sign autographs on the concourse. The weekend ends on Monday, May 31 with a Memorial Day Extravaganza and Kids Opening Day!

Tickets are on sale now and prices are, as always, family friendly! Fans can sit in the Dugout, Air Serv Reserve or Family Sections for only $10 when tickets are bought in advance. Upgrade your seats to the McDonald’s VIP Section for only $4 more and receive a coupon for a FREE McDonald’s value meal. Take a look at the promotional schedule and pick a game or two perfect for your family.

Classic promotions that will return in 2021 include Bark in the Park, Baseball Brew Fest, Princess Night and Dudes and Daughters Dance. The Y’alls and Marvel have partnered up to enhance our Super Hero days at the ballpark. Two Marvel Super Hero days will take place this year. Friday, July 23 and Friday, August 27 will feature a Thanos Bobblehead and an Ironman Bobblehead, respectively.

Fans will see new promotions added to the schedule such as 80s and 90s Night, Y’alls Olympics, Healthcare Appreciation Night and Prom Night. Due to the unforeseen circumstances last season, the Y’alls will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Negro League this year on July 8, which includes a Satchel Page Bobblehead.

Weekly promotions make a return with Thirsty Thursday, Firework Friday, Rockin’ Saturday, and Family Sunday. The Y’alls add $2 Tuesday to the list with $2 tickets and $2 deals at the concession stands.

The Y’alls encourage all fans to go to florenceyalls.com and to follow Florence Y’alls on all social media platforms for more details and the full promotional schedule. All promotional nights are subject to change, and events may be added to the schedule prior to the start of the season.

Tickets can be purchased at florenceyalls.com or by calling the Box Office at 859.594.4487. And as always, we have FREE PARKING!

 

GRIZZLIES WELCOME NEW MANAGER CAMERON ROTH

For the first time since 2007, the Gateway Grizzlies will have a new manager on Opening Day: 2019 Frontier League Manager of the Year Cameron Roth has been named the fifth skipper in franchise history and only the third since 2003.

Roth began his managerial career with the Lake Erie Crushers in 2017 and led the Northeast Ohio club to a pair of winning seasons over his three years in charge, including the 2019 Frontier League West Division championship, which the Crushers won by seven games.

“As I enter my 11th year in professional baseball and eighth year in the Frontier League, I can’t help but to reflect,” Roth said. “There has always been one away stand that I particularly looked forward to visiting each season, and it just so happens to be the one in Sauget, Illinois. I am excited and humbled to be joining the Gateway Grizzlies as their manager. The reputation the Sauget gamily, Steve Gomric, and Phil Warren have earned through a professional atmosphere, compassion for how the game is supposed to be played, and prioritizing their community is something I have always respected. I will work diligently to ensure the Grizzlies are the premier organization in the Frontier League. I have very big shoes to fill, but I welcome the challenge. I am grateful for Phil’s support during this transition, and I am thrilled he will continue to be a part of this organization.”

Roth previously pitched three seasons in professional baseball and finished his career with the Schaumburg Boomers in 2012. His earlier two seasons were spent in the Baltimore Orioles organization — 2010 with Rookie-Adv. Bluefield (W. Va.) and 2011 with Class-A Delmarva in Salisbury, Md. — after the O’s selected him in the 29th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft out of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The Newport News, Virginia, native was given the Elrod Hendricks Community Service Player Award while in Baltimore’s minor-league system. Given out since 1992, the award recognizes one minor league player whose level of community involvement is worthy of special recognition that truly stands out within the Orioles organization.

“I am thrilled to have Cam Roth leading our team this season,” Grizzlies general manager Steve Gomric said. “He is a bright young baseball mind with tremendous potential. He has a history of winning. Cam brings intensity to the playing field and professionalism to the clubhouse, not to mention the fantastic success his pitching staffs have had in the Frontier League that will be invaluable to us in a hitter-friendly ballpark.”

At UNCW, Roth was a Freshman All-American as a relief pitcher. He fought through injury issues as a sophomore to join the Seahawks’ rotation, then became a Second Team All-Colonial Athletic Association choice as a junior. Roth also pitched the 2009 summer for the Bourne Braves of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League.

In 2019, Roth put his pitching acumen to good use, steering Lake Erie to an incredible 2.91 team ERA, the best mark in the Frontier League. The next-closest team posted a 3.30 ERA. Roth’s 2019 Crushers also led the league in strikeouts, batting average against, and fewest home runs allowed.

“As a manager, I am a huge advocate of the philosophy, ‘you are only as good as those with whom you surround yourself,’ and that extends beyond the players you sign,” Roth said. “Championships start in the locker room by establishing the right culture. I think Bobby Brown does a phenomenal job procuring the right players for independent baseball, and in this industry, that’s 90 percent of the battle to be successful. Also, Bobby’s knowledge and experience put into action as the hitting coach make him invaluable on this staff. The Grizzlies’ stadium is much different than others I’ve called home with it being a ‘hitters park,’ so to speak. We are going to have to learn to live with the solo home run, but we cannot afford to put people on base for free. Offensively, I firmly believe if you try to have at least seven experienced batters in your lineup, you are putting yourself in a good position to produce. Another addition to the coaching staff is James Keller, who served as my catching coordinator in 2019. He is the Swiss army knife of coaches, but he is especially effective with catchers. He will also coach third base. Having someone I trust there is particularly important, so that I can best manage the bullpen, as well as collaborate with Bobby for offensive strategy.”

Grizzlies fans will get the chance to see Roth’s club for the first time May 27 at GCS Credit Union Ballpark against the Florence Y’alls. Gateway’s 96-game schedule will run until Sept. 12, including a home game on the 4th of July to conclude a seven-game homestand and the Greatest Night in Baseball on Sept. 5.

Frontier League debuted in 1993 and is the largest of the Major League Baseball Partner Leagues, featuring teams stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway. More information and the complete 2021 schedule can be found at frontierleague.com.

AIGLES ESTABLISH PRACTICE CENTER AT BASEBALL 360

The Trois-Rivières Aigles have entered into a three-year agreement with Baseball 360 to set up its practice center there. Thus, all players in the Aigles structure, from professional level to youth, will benefit from top-notch facilities to develop, and this, during all four seasons of the year.

Baseball 360 moved to Trois-Rivières last June. The complex dedicated entirely to the practice of baseball and the ball is equipped with four batting cages, a pitching pen, a training room, a specialized store and a sports lounge.

“It’s a unique place. We can count ourselves lucky to have a complex of this size in Mauricie. Since our arrival in 2013, the mission has been to promote the practice of baseball in the community. It is therefore quite natural to partner with a company that shares the same values,” said the president of the Aigles, René Martin.

This partnership is the fulfillment of one of the key elements of the Aigles’ vision, which was to build on leading facilities that would allow our region, our baseball, to continue its development and its influence at the regional, provincial and regional levels. even international.

“We want to be a key player who actively contributes to the growth of baseball in Trois-Rivières, Mauricie and Quebec. This partnership not only allows the Aigles to come and practice at Baseball 360, but also the community and fans to rub shoulders with them, to practice their sport in the same environment. We want to become in a way, in addition to the Quillorama Stadium, the Maison du baseball in Mauricie where it is good to meet, mingle, spend time with people who share this same passion, regardless of your caliber of play”, explains Steeve Ager, President and CEO of Baseball 360 Trois-Rivières.

CAPITALES ADD MLB ALUMUNUS NGOEPE

The Quebec Capitales made a big catch by formalizing the signing of Gift Ngoepe. The South African shortstop played 40 games in the Major Leagues in 2017 and 2018 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays. He became the first player from the African continent to play Major League Baseball. With more than 1000 professional games under his belt, the 31-year-old veteran will be a mainstay for the Quebec team.

Gift Ngoepe has an inspiring career in professional baseball. In 2009, at the age of 19, he made his debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and eventually rose through the ranks of affiliated baseball one by one. During his career in affiliated baseball, the dynamic outfield produced statistics showing a combination of batting power and speed on the trails (50 home runs and 95 stolen bases).

The veteran is all the more recognized for his defensive skills. Five times, he was named Pittsburgh player of the year for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system. A regular in spectacular games, Ngoepe has the necessary qualities to play both at shortstop and second or third. This versatility helped as Ngogpe was used in all these positions during his promotion to the Major Leagues.

“Gift is our player with the most experience and will bring a lot of leadership. We can expect good production both offensively and defensively. I am excited to see him in action with us and his know-how will also be put to good use by supporting me in my duties as a batting instructor,” said Capitales’ manager Patrick Scalabrini.

Despite the pandemic, Gift Ngoepe remained active. He played with the Melbourne Aces, the 2020 Australian Baseball League champion team, whose caliber was particularly high with the participation of several affiliated players due to the cancellation of their North American baseball season. After Yordan Manduley, Jonathan Malo, Ivan Naccarata and others, Gift Ngoepe will join this line of Capitales shortstops excelling defensively. Ngoepe will serve as one of the three coveted veteran players in 2021.

BOOMERS ACQUIRE FORMER WHITE SOX OUTFIELDER

The Schaumburg Boomers have acquired former White Sox outfielder Willy Garcia from the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association in exchange for a player to be named later.

Garcia, 28, joined the Goldeyes for the 2019 season. In 86 games the righty hit .310 with 23 doubles, 17 home runs, and 73 RBIs. Garcia finished tied for third in the American Association in slugging percentage (.548) and sixth in on-base percentage (.924).

“We are really excited to get a player of Willy’s caliber with us this year,” said manager Jamie Bennett. “His impact in the middle of our lineup, along with some of the returners we have in place, really add a new dynamic to our offense. He is a threat to do damage every time he steps in the box and will be an exciting player to watch.”

Garcia comes to Schaumburg with over 10 years of professional playing experience. He was signed as an international free agent by the Pittsburg Pirates in 2010. Garcia joined the Chicago White Sox organization in 2017.

The White Sox called Garcia up at the beginning of the 2017 season. He hit .238 with two home runs, and 12 RBIs in 44 games. Garcia also added five doubles and three triples with a .705 on-base percentage.

The Boomers 2021 season begins at Wintrust Field on Thursday, May 27 vs Evansville Otters. Single-game tickets are on sale now. Season ticket packages and group and hospitality offerings for the 2021 season can be reserved by calling (847) 461-3695 or emailing info@boomersbaseball.com.

To stay up to date with all things Boomers baseball, follow the Boomers on social media and on www.boomersbaseball.com.

BOULDERS TO HOST TEAM ISRAEL BASEBALL TEAM

The New York Boulders announced today the Team Israel National Baseball Team will train and play an exhibition game at Palisades Credit Union Park this July as they prepare to compete for a medal in Tokyo this summer.

Team Israel, with a number of former Major League players including four-time All-Star Ian Kinsler, will play the Boulders in an exhibition game on Monday, July 12.  They will also have a free workout on Saturday, July 10 from 8-10 p.m.

Team Israel won the round-robin tournament featuring Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the Czech Republic, the top 5 teams from the 2019 European Championship, in Italy, Sept. 18-22, 2019. As the winner of that tournament, it qualified to be one of the six national teams that will compete in Tokyo.

Japan automatically qualified as the host country while Mexico qualified as the best team in the Premier 12 tournament from the Americas.  South Korea qualified as the best team in the Premier 12 from Asia (other than already-qualified Japan). The two remaining spots in the six-nation field will be determined in tournaments this June.

Team USA will compete in an Americas qualifier in Florida in early June, along with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, Canada and Colombia. The dates and sites of the Americas qualifier are yet to be determined.

The winner of that tournament lands a spot in the Tokyo Games, while the second and third place finishers in the event will get a chance to earn the sixth spot by joining Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands, Australia and China in the final qualifying tournament hosted in Taichung, Taiwan in late June.

Kinsler, 38, broke into the major leagues with the Texas Rangers in 2006 and also played with the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres in a career that spanned 14 years. He retired after the 2019 season with the Padres. Kinsler was an All-Star in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Kinsler won the World Series with the Red Sox in 2018 and the World Baseball Classic with Team USA in 2017 and is going for the trifecta with Team Israel in the Olympics.

Team Israel’s roster also includes infielders Ty Kelly and Danny Valencia, as well as catcher Ryan Lavarnway.

Kelly, 31, saw time with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies between 2016-18, while Valencia, 34, logged time with six teams from 2010-18. Lavarnway, 33 and a member of the Cleveland Indians, has seen time with seven other MLB teams in a career that began in 2011.

Tickets for the exhibition games are scheduled to go on sale on April 19 and are subject to New York State Department of Health guidelines. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Israel Baseball Association to help offset their expenses and help grow the sport of baseball in Israel.

“I am quite excited to be coming to Rockland and being hosted by the Boulders as Team Israel begins its workouts to prepare for competing for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics,” Peter Kurz, Israeli Association of Baseball general manager, said. “We were ready to come last year, and the anticipation now is that much greater.”

He added, “As someone who grew up in the New York Metropolitan area it will be a true homecoming, and to bring Olympic Team Israel along is a dream come true.  I look forward to meeting the fans, and the players are itching to get back on the ballfield.”

Team Israel was scheduled to play two games in Rockland last July – one versus the Boulders, the other against the NYPD Finest. However, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, those games were cancelled.

Boulders’ team president Shawn Reilly said, “We are pleased and honored to host Team Israel as the Olympics are one of the world’s great sporting events and Team Israel is sure to be one the great storylines of Tokyo. They had many options to choose from to train in other locations so we are thrilled they chose our wonderful community so our local residents can come and cheer on Team Israel before they head overseas.”

Team Israel team will possess a local flavor with Westchester County resident Eric Holtz as the team’s manager. Additionally, Yorktown Heights native Jonathan DeMarte, 27 and a pitcher in the Chicago Cubs’ organization, is expected to represent Israel.

“As a Westchester resident for 30 years and the head coach of the Israel National team, playing the Boulders in Rockland could not possibly get any better for me,” Holtz said. “Like a homecoming where both of my worlds collide. I couldn’t be more excited to get out there and also get the Rockland community behind our boys in blue and white.”

To be eligible to represent a country at the Olympic Games, a person must hold citizenship in that land.

After their game in Rockland, Team Israel will continue their tour of the Northeast United States before heading  to Tokyo on July 21.

PIERRE ARSENAULT JOINS QUEBEC COACHING STAFF

The Quebec City Capitales today announced the hiring of a new assistant coach. The coaching team will be able to count on an addition of experience as Pierre Arsenault has ratified an agreement linking him to the organization. He will support manager Patrick Scalabrini as head assistant coach and wear several hats, including pitching coach.

Pierre Arsenault has an impressive track record in professional baseball. First an amateur player in his early years in Montreal, he started his career in the major leagues as a coach with the Montreal Expos. Starting in the late 1980s as a batting practice pitcher and catcher in the bullpen, Pierre Arsenault has held a variety of positions in the Montreal organization.

Known for his coaching skills with the Montreal team, Arsenault also demonstrated the breadth of his communication skills as he analyzed Expos games on the radio for two seasons.  The 1992 season was his first as bullpen coach. He held similar roles until the early 2000s with the Expos.

When his position was transferred to Miami with the Marlins, Pierre Arsenault was the first Quebecer in uniform to win the World Series (in 2003). He retained his responsibilities as bullpen coach until 2009, after which he continued his career with the Marlins, but as a scout. His affiliation with a Major League team ended recently after 19 years.

Manager Patrick Scalabrini welcomed the announcement, “We are very excited to be able to start this collaboration with Pierre Arsenault. He has a lot of recent Major League and affiliated baseball experience, which will complement our team. He wore different hats with the Expos and the Marlins. As much with hitters, catchers, pitchers and in terms of scouting, his field of expertise is very wide!”

“In addition to adding undisputed experience to our team, we are all the more pleased to see that Pierre is excited to start this new adventure with us!”, commented Capitales President Michel Laplante.  The Capitales and independent baseball can count themselves lucky to make such an addition to their staff.”

JR DAVIS RETURNS TO WASHINGTON FOR 2021 SEASON

As the season gets closer to its beginning, the Wild Things have continued to add to the roster for the 2021 campaign. Today, the team announced the signing of infielder JR Davis to a contract for the 2021 season. Davis was with the Wild Things in the late stages of the 2019 season after spending the first portion of 2019 in the Mariners’ farm system.

In 36 games in 2019 with Washington, Davis slashed .273/.310/.373 with 41 hits, 10 of which went for extra bases. He drove in 19 runs and had two walk-off hits: July 24 against River City, a two-run single and August 8 versus Joliet, a three-run homer.

Now Davis, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy and 15th round pick of the Cardinals in 2016, has decided to return to Washington and chase big things.

“We saw flashes of JR’s impact ability back in 2019,” said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. “He is an offensive-minded infielder with an aggressive approach and a comfort using the whole field. Adding another experienced bat will provide us the lineup depth we strive for.”

Davis said he had a good time in his stay in Washington in 2019 and that helped make the decision to come back a bit easier.

“[I] made some good relationships with front office and players so it was easy for me to come back into a good environment,” said Davis. “The vibe and energy is second to none. Everyone has one goal in mind and that’s to win. If we all mesh together we can bring a chip back home to Washington.”

Davis played three sports in high school and batted .425 as a senior and .556 as a junior on the diamond. He’d go on to play two years of JUCO ball at Contra Costa College before spending 2015 at Seminole State trying to obtain a redshirt. After a stellar year at Oklahoma State in 2016 that saw him slash .347/.422/.438 with 13 doubles, 32 RBI and a home run and earn All Big-12 first team honors and the conference batting title, Davis was drafted by the Cardinals in the 15th round of that year’s amateur draft.

He played with Johnson City in 2016 (Rookie ball) and hit three home runs to go along with a .347 batting average in 46 games. He then spent 2017 and 2018 with the Peoria Chiefs, the then-Midwest League affiliate of the Cards. In 2017, he had 18 doubles, four home runs and drove in 32 and in 2018 he hit 14 doubles, four homers and knocked home 27.

That’s when he went to the Mariners’ organization and split time between A-ball West Virginia (Power) and AAA Tacoma. With the Power, he played 47 games. He played one game for Tacoma and was 1-for-4.

He then arrived in Washington.

“I’m a hard-working, exciting team guy who is going to leave it all on the field every single time I strap on my cleats,” said Davis. “[Fans] can expect me to play hard and show love to everyone who supports the team. Winning is the only thing that I have in mind for the 2021 season. Personal goals mean nothing to me. All I want to do is win.”

Davis and his teammates are set to report in May in advance of May 27’s scheduled opener in New York against the Boulders.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League, partner league of Major League Baseball, that plays in Washington, PA. Since their inception in 2002, the Wild Things have won six division titles and earned numerous playoff appearances. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media platforms and website, washingtonwildthings.com. For other inquiries, call the front office at 724-250-9555.

 

VALLEYCATS TO HOST ANNUAL COACH THE COACHES CLINIC VIRTUALLY ON MARCH 30th

The Tri-City ValleyCats will host their annual Coach the Coaches clinic on Tuesday, March 30th from 6:30 – 7:30 PM. This year’s event has been moved online and will be conducted as a Zoom video call. The clinic is free for youth coaches to attend and participants must register by Thursday, March 25th to guarantee a spot. The link to register is available on www.tcvalleycats.com or here: bit.ly/CoachTheCoach2021

The ValleyCats new Field Manager, Pete Incaviglia, will participate along with former professional players Ryan Cameron and Joe Mahoney, as well as former Albany High School Head Coach, Garett Baron. The instruction will review fundamentals and proper techniques for pitching, hitting, and fielding. The panel will also discuss the philosophy of coaching with tips on new drills and ways to run a more fun and engaging practice.

Pete Incaviglia brings over 35 years of experience in professional baseball, including a twelve-year, playing career in Major League Baseball. Since 2001, Incaviglia has held a variety of coaching and managing positions within professional baseball. This includes championships as a Field Manager in the Atlantic League (’18) and American Association (’15, ’11). His coaching experience also includes time in the Detroit Tigers farm system. Incaviglia’s most recent tenure was with the Sugar Land Skeeters, formerly of the Atlantic League.

Ryan Cameron pitched for 10 seasons in professional baseball after being drafted by the Colorado Rockies out of UMASS Amherst. He averaged nearly a strikeout per inning during his career that also included time in the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies organizations. Ryan now owns and operates Ryan Cameron Baseball to provide professional pitching instruction and league player development consulting.

Joe Mahoney was drafted in 2007 by the Baltimore Orioles and enjoyed a professional career that spanned 7 years. Mahoney made his Major League Baseball debut with Baltimore in 2012 and also spent time in the big leagues with the Miami Marlins in 2013. The first baseman attended Catholic Central High School in Troy before playing his college ball at the University of Richmond.

Garett Baron is the former head baseball coach at Albany High School as well as a Section 2 All-Star Coach. Baron also has coaching experience at the college level as an assistant with U-Albany and in several collegiate summer leagues, including the Coastal Plains League and New York Collegiate Baseball League.

The Tri-City ValleyCats will begin their first season as a member of the Frontier League on Thursday, May 27th as part of an eight-game road trip to kick off the 2021 campaign. The ValleyCats return to The Joe for their home opener on Friday, June 4th as they host Les Capitales de Québec. First pitch is slated for 7:00 PM.

Information on ticket options and group events is available at www.tcvalleycats.com or by contacting the team’s Ticket Operations & Sales Manager, Jessica Guido, at jessicaguido@tcvalleycats.com. The fully updated schedule can be accessed or downloaded here: http://bit.ly/2021TCVCSchedule

ABL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR JOINS QUEBEC

In a unique move, the Capitales leaned toward the Southern Hemisphere for the latest signing for next season. Australian pitcher Mitch Neunborn, the 2020-21 Australian Baseball League Rookie of the Year, will travel the globe to make his North American professional debut in Quebec City. The right-hander will join the starting rotation at the start of the season.

In the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Mitch Neunborn posted sparkling statistics in Australia. In 35.1 innings pitched (6 starts), he struck out 38 batters and allowed only seven earned runs (an ERA of 1.78). The 23-year-old pitcher dominated his opponents in every chapter, less than one hitter per inning ended up on the bases while he was on the mound.

“Mitch has the potential to have a very big impact in our rotation. He was dominant in the Australian League in 2020 even though he faced several affiliated baseball players who played there during the pandemic season. Mitch will be very exciting to watch and could become one of the best recruits in the Frontier League this season, commented Capitales’ manager Patrick Scalabrini.

Patrick Scalabrini’s roster is taking shape more and more. Despite his performances in Australia, Neunborn will still enjoy rookie status in the Frontier League, a great deal for the manager who will complete his training soon. Mitch Neunborn will also represent Australia at the Olympic Games this summer.

BIGGER DREAMS AND POTENTIAL IN SUSSEX COUNTY

While fans were quarantined and hibernating over the winter, Major League Baseball made its most dramatic changes to the minor league system in decades.

When the Sussex County Miners open their season at Skylands Stadium on May 27, they’ll be a part of this newest chapter in baseball history.

After five years in the Can-Am League, Sussex County will now play in the newly-expanded Frontier League, which was designated in February as an MLB Partner League.

“This is great for the team and the fans,” said Sussex County owner Al Dorso.

“There will be a higher caliber of talent, both on our team and on opposing teams. We took a step up when we joined the Frontier League and now it’s another step up to be designated as a Partner League with Major League Baseball.”

In the winter shakeup, MLB “streamlined” its minor league structure, reducing the number of affiliated teams from 160 to 120. MLB also reduced its pro draft from 40 rounds down to 20 rounds.

Those moves will send close to 2,000 young and hungry players out of the affiliated system and into an independent league, like the Frontier League — the biggest and longest-running independent league in the U.S., with the most successful track record of sending players on to big-league organizations.

The Frontier League is still an independent league with no MLB-affiliated teams, but it’s now a league with an even bigger pipeline for players to move on to affiliated teams and, ultimately — hopefully — to Yankee Stadium or Citi Field.

“There will be bigger dreams and bigger potentials here than ever before,” said Miners manager Bobby Jones.

He would know. 

The lefty pitcher out of Rutherford High School was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 44th round of the 1991 MLB draft. Today, that draft pick would not exist and he might have come here to play for the Miners.

Of course, things turned out well for Bobby, who worked his way up to the big leagues and enjoyed six seasons on the mound with the Rockies, Mets, Padres and Red Sox.

Will there be more big-leaguers of the future at Skylands this year?

“Definitely,” the manager said. “The trick will be to pick them out of the crowd at these early stages of their careers.”

In Thursday night’s season-opener, Sussex County will face a familiar rival in the New Jersey Jackals, the team that beat them in the final Can-Am League championship in 2019.

Both Garden State teams will play this year in the Northeast Division of the Frontier League’s Can-Am Conference. And, yes, there will still be the long road trips across the border to Ottawa, Quebec and Trois-Rivieres.

Virtually all of the Miners games this year will be played against other teams within the Can-Am Conference, which is in part a concession to travel issues due to the coronavirus. The only exception occurs late in the summer when the Florence Y’alls, out of the Midwestern Conference, travel to Skylands from their Kentucky home.

Most other teams in the Can-Am Conference are familiar names for Sussex County fans, but two new squads join in – the Washington Wild Things (of Washington, PA) and the Tri-City Valley Cats (of Troy, NY).

After a 96-game season, the winners of the four divisions will square off in the Frontier League playoffs.

“It’s going to be an exciting year around here, that’s guaranteed,” said Sussex County general manager Justin Ferrarella.

“The talent level on the field is going to be way up, and I’m also very excited about our new connection with MLB and how we can work with them on community projects.”

After four years of abandonment, Skylands Stadium was purchased by Dorso in 2014, with no team or league in sight.

By the spring of 2015, Dorso had founded the Sussex County Miners as a new franchise in the Can-Am League, and, in 2018, the team became league champs.

California Winter League

 

Frontier League Transactions