Archive for June, 2010

Game 66: Riversharks @ Patriots

June 30, 2010

Game 66 – Camden Riversharks @ Somerset Patriots
June 30, 2010
TD Bank Ballpark – Bridgewater, NJ

Pitching Matchup: CAM Josh Brey vs. SOM Mike Thompson

Starting Lineups:

CAMDEN

Chris Walker, CF
Teuris Olivares, 2B
Garrett Guzman, LF
Brian Burgamy, 3B
Jorge Piedra, RF
Chris Malec, 1B
Brett Bonvechio, DH
Kyle Haines, SS
Shea Harris, C

Josh Brey, P

SOMERSET

Wayne Lydon, CF
Tim Raines, Jr., LF
Josh Pressley, DH
Noah Hall, RF
Pete LaForest, 3B
Elliott Ayala, SS
Joe Burke, 1B
David Housel, 2B
J.R. Hopf, C

Mike Thompson, P

Radio Links: Click here to listen to Adam Amin’s broadcast on WCTC

Live Box Score: The link to Pointstreak box score is here.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): Leadoff triple by Wayne Lydon, infield single by Tim Raines, Jr., bam…Somerset leads, 1-0, B1.

Noah Hall with an RBI groundout…2-0, B1.

Raines, Jr. with a single to center…makes it 3-0, B2.

Josh Pressley grounds into a run scoring double play…4-0, B2.

Noah Hall…RBI single…5-0, B2.  Not Josh Brey’s best effort in a pennant race, which keep in mind, Camden’s very much so in.

Brey’s out after 5 1/3…Camden still trails, 5-0, in B6.

A double steal off of another former Patriots legend, Jeremy Lewis, and an RBI groundout from J.R. Hopf and we’re at a 6-0 game.  With York trailing Long Island, 2-0, thanks to former Somerset catcher Robinson Cancel’s home run, it would appear the Patriots have life for another day as of now…

In-Game Photos:

In-Game YouTube Videos:

Final Score: 6-2, Patriots

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 66: Pre-Game Notes

June 30, 2010

6:15 PM — Just saw Jason Monti on the field.  Had not seen Monti at the stadium.  Spoke to Monti.  Turns out, this is the first time in his four-year career that the 25-year-old righty has been on the disabled list. 

Monti had an MRI done with contrast, and according to him, everything came back negative.  He went on two 24-hour treatments of an anti-inflammatory and he hopes to be back for the series in Lancaster after the All-Star break.  He said he felt pain on every pitch he threw.

“My last start in Long Island, I should have pulled myself,” Monti told me.

“I tried to go back out, and it just wasn’t happening.  As far as coming back goes, it depends on how I respond to this.  I’ve been off of it for about a week and a half now.  I start a throwing program in the next 48 hours, so hopefully by Lancaster, I’ll be back.”

The only time his elbow hurt?  When he had to throw a baseball…kind of important for a pitcher.

“It doesn’t bother me as long as I don’t throw a baseball,” said Monti with a laugh.

“We’ll find out how it goes when I come back, I guess.”

6:05 PM — Lineups…

CAMDEN

Chris Walker, CF
Teuris Olivares, 2B
Garrett Guzman, LF
Brian Burgamy, 3B
Jorge Piedra, RF
Chris Malec, 1B
Brett Bonvechio, DH
Kyle Haines, SS
Shea Harris, C

Josh Brey, P

SOMERSET

Wayne Lydon, CF
Tim Raines, Jr., LF
Josh Pressley, DH
Noah Hall, RF
Pete LaForest, 3B
Elliott Ayala, SS
Joe Burke, 1B
David Housel, 2B
J.R. Hopf, C

Mike Thompson, P

6:00 PM — Spoke to Teuris Olivares for about five minutes in the Riversharks dugout.  I’ll have that for you after the game…

4:25 PM — For the second straight day, Jeff Nettles is taking BP…he literally took just three swings yesterday after arriving late following a doctor visit, but he’s a lot more involved today.  He’ll be back after the break…

3:50 PM — Not a whole lot going on here just yet…

Mike Thompson (3-3, 4.50) and former Patriot Josh Brey (3-6, 8.02) are your starters for the evening.  I’ll have some more after BP, but not real sure there’s going to be a ton to pass on…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Pete LaForest’s Taiwanese Adventure

June 30, 2010

Sure, Pete LaForest has a few tangible reminders of his month-long trip to Taiwan.  A few extra dollars in his wallet and a black glove with Taiwanese characters on it are the most noticeable.

However, it may be something else, something intangible that may prove to be more valuable than any of that: Renewing his ability to play third base.

LaForest, who has Major League experience with the Rays, Padres and Phillies, had not played the majority of his games at third base since 1999 when he was in Low-A coming up with Tampa Bay, and had only played 31 games at the position in the ten seasons that followed.  Having re-familiarized himself with third base in Taiwan, LaForest now finds himself filling in there at Somerset until Jeff Nettles returns after the All-Star break.

“Mostly, the adjustment is just throwing from third,” he said.

“But aside from that, I’m really comfortable there.  I came up as a third baseman with the Devil Rays, but then I got converted to catching.  In 2007 with the Padres, I played about 50 (28) games there.  I really like it over there.”

LaForest also really likes it in Somerset, and that’s why he wanted to come back.  To be able to jump right back into a pennant race…well, what’s left of one, is an added bonus.

“It’s fun, actually,” he said.

“Any time we play, we want to be put in that situation.  We want to play for a playoff spot, we want to be a contender or in first place.  You don’t want an easy job, being in last place and knowing you have no shot.  That doesn’t make your job better.  So this is fun, it makes it intense. ”  

Signed by the Sinon Bulls of the Chinese Professional Baseball League of Taiwan, the 32-year-old native of Canada was brought in as a third baseman and stayed in the Taiwanese minors, an insurance policy to Wilton Veras, who once manned the hot corner for the Boston Red Sox. 

However, with Sinon having clinched the first half, the Bulls wanted to keep Veras, who had been struggling when LaForest was brought in, as their regular third baseman as a sign of loyalty.  That made LaForest expendable, and now he’s back where he started the season, in Somerset.

“I didn’t really do what I wanted to do over there,” LaForest said.

“(Wilton) is a great guy and a great player.  It’s his fourth year in Taiwan, so by clinching a spot in the playoffs, they kind of owe him that much to leave him in there and let him figure out his swing.  I performed well in the minor leagues with them and did everything I had to do.  It’s unfortunate I didn’t get a shot, but hopefully I get another shot to go over there later this year or next year.”

In his second season of independent ball, LaForest got his first taste of playing overseas.  He had went to Japan last fall and worked out with a team over there for approximately a month, but didn’t end up playing.  He did, however, fall in love with the idea of playing overseas one day.

“I love that kind of atmosphere,” LaForest said.

“I love going new places, I have no problem adapting to anything.  I already had to do it once coming over to the States from Canada and learning English and all that.  So I’m familiar with the process and I like it.  I like trying new stuff, so it was fun.  I liked it.”

And that mysterious black glove with red Taiwanese lettering and the number “24” embroidered on it?

“I had a Rawlings, and this guy really wanted it,” said LaForest with a smile.

“He gave me he his and I gave him mine.  (It) says his name on it, but I don’t know what it is.  It’s too complicated (Laughs).”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Patriots Lose Seventh Straight

June 29, 2010
Josh Miller allowed two runs over seven innings and received a no-decision

(PR) Bridgewater, NJ – The Camden Riversharks defeated the Somerset Patriots 6-3 in ten innings at TD Bank Ballpark on Tuesday night to hand Somerset their seventh straight loss.

The Riversharks broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the top of the tenth inning. Pinch hitter Richie Robnett reached on a single and scored on a wild pitch. Camden added three more runs on a two run single by right fielder Jorge Piedra and a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Chris Malec to make the score 6-2.

The Patriots jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning after center fielder Wayne Lydon reached on a bunt single, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice by left fielder Tim Raines Jr., and scored on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Michael Hernandez to make the score 1-0.

Camden tied the game up 1-1 in the top of the third inning on a solo homerun by left fielder Garrett Guzman (7).

The Riversharks took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning after a solo homerun to right field by first baseman Brett Bonvechio (3).

The Patriots evened the score 2-2 in the bottom of eight inning after Raines Jr., singled, stole second, and scored on an RBI single by second baseman Matt Hagen.

Somerset added a run in the bottom of the tenth inning on a solo homerun by Lydon (3).

Camden reliever Gabriel Alfaro (2-1) picked up the win after allowing an earned run on one hit in 1.2 innings pitched. Somerset reliever Ben Grezlovski (4-1) got the loss, allowing four runs on three hits in 2.1 innings pitched. Ryan McKeller got the save after tossing 0.1 innings to secure the victory.

The Somerset Patriots 2010 Season presented by Ford will continue at home on Wednesday night when the Patriots take on the Riversharks at 7:05 pm. The game includes Mini-Bats for the first 2,000 fans courtesy of TD Bank. Great seats are available by stopping by the Patriots Ticket Office located at TD Bank Ballpark, by calling (908) 252-0700, or on-line at http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

Game 65: Riversharks @ Patriots

June 29, 2010

Game 65 – Camden Riversharks @ Somerset Patriots
June 29, 2010
TD Bank Ballpark – Bridgewater, NJ

Pitching Matchup: CAM Brad Knox vs. SOM Josh Miller

Starting Lineups:

CAMDEN

Chris Walker, CF
Teuris Olivares, 2B
Garrett Guzman, LF
Brian Burgamy, 3B
Jorge Piedra, RF
Chris Malec, DH
Brett Bonvechio, 1B
Kyle Haines, SS
Shea Harris, C

Brad Knox, P

SOMERSET

Wayne Lydon, CF
Tim Raines, Jr., LF
Michael Hernandez, RF
Josh Pressley, DH
Matt Hagen, 2B
Pete Laforest, 3B
Jason Belcher, C
Elliott Ayala, SS
Joe Burke, 1B

Josh Miller, P

Radio Links: Click here to listen to Adam Amin’s broadcast on WCTC

Live Box Score: The link to Pointstreak box score is here.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): Josh Miller strikes out two Riversharks on 17 pitches in the first inning…he allows a hit as well, but we’re scoreless, heading into B1.

Michael Hernandez with a sac fly…1-0, Somerset, B1, after some small ball by Wayne Lydon and Tim Raines, Jr. to start things off…

Raines, by the way, going to give hitting as a lefty a shot tonight…apparently he can hit sliders better from that side, and Knox throws them often.

Pretty sure Joe Burke leads the team in “Allstate Good Hands Plays of the Game…”

Camden’s tacked on two runs in the third and fourth on solo home runs by Garrett Guzman and Brett Bonvechio.  It’s 2-1, Riversharks, heading into T5.

Matt Hagen ties it up in the 8th…RBI single to score Raines, and it’s 2-2 going into T9.

And Camden takes the lead on a bases loaded wild pitch in the 10th by Ben Grezlovski…3-2. 

And Jorge Piedra knocks in two with a single…5-2…this one’s over, kids.

6-2 heading into B10…

Wayne Lydon makes it 6-3 with a no doubt solo shot to right field to lead off the inning…

In-Game Photos:

In-Game YouTube Videos:

Final Score: 6-3, Camden.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 65: Pre-Game Notes

June 29, 2010

5:30 PM — Lineups…

CAMDEN

Chris Walker, CF
Teuris Olivares, 2B
Garrett Guzman, LF
Brian Burgamy, 3B
Jorge Piedra, RF
Chris Malec, DH
Brett Bonvechio, 1B
Kyle Haines, SS
Shea Harris, C

Brad Knox, P

SOMERSET

Wayne Lydon, CF
Tim Raines, Jr., LF
Michael Hernandez, RF
Josh Pressley, DH
Matt Hagen, 2B
Pete Laforest, 3B
Jason Belcher, C
Elliott Ayala, SS
Joe Burke, 1B

Josh Miller, P

5:10 PM — Spoke to Pete Laforest about his time in Taiwan and jumping right back into somewhat of a pennant race…stay tuned for that after the game.

5:00 PM — Josh Miller vs. Brad Knox is your pitching matchup for the evening…I’ll have lineups in a bit.

3:45 PM — Lyle also said that P Jason Monti is taking anti-inflammatories for his elbow, but that there’s no structural damage and they’re waiting for those to take affect so he can start throwing again.

3:30 PM — I’ve been here for about an hour, but I had some transcribing and other fun stuff to do.  But you don’t care about that…what you do care about is that I spoke to Michael Hernandez about not making the All-Star team, as well as Sparky Lyle and Josh Pressley.

HERNANDEZ 

“I was just happy for the guys that made it and also happy that I got three days off to rest my body.  It would have been fun, you know.  I thought I put up some pretty decent numbers for the time I was here, but maybe I didn’t have enough AB’s or whatnot.  But it would have been cool to play in Long Island and represent Somerset.  Tough break.”

“It really didn’t bother me too much.  Like I said, I was just happy for the guys and happy I got three days off.”

PRESSLEY

“I didn’t even know I was really eligible.  But it’s an honor to be selected, and I think maybe even more of an honor considering the circumstances…that people think enough of me to select me to be in it.”

“(Physically) I’m all right.  I’m not exactly where I’d like to be, but I’m good enough to get out there and swing.  Now, it’s just about getting at-bats.  You miss five weeks where you’re not doing anything for basically four of them, and it takes a little while to get back into the rhythm of things.  But I’m just trying to play the middle as far as getting at-bats and taking it easy so that I can get in there for a while.”

“I think if you’re selected, you’ve got to respect that.  If they think enough of you to select you, you owe it to them to show up and play.  I’m planning on taking part in everything they want me to take part in.”

LYLE

“I was surprised (Hernandez didn’t make it.)  I think the reason is, is that when you look at the other outfielders who are on there, they’re all hitting .350-something.  He wasn’t on the ballot?  I never saw the ballot.  I definitely think he should be there.  I’m hoping that if somebody cancels or something, they can take him.  But I haven’t heard anything yet.  I definitely think he should be there, there’s no question about that.”

“(Pressley’s) fine to play right now.  He’ll probably do the Home Run Derby and maybe get one or two at-bats and that will be it and we’ll put somebody else in.  But I want everybody to play in this game.  And I haven’t seen the list yet.  But he’s fine.  Yesterday, I kept him out of there simply because he seemed to be so frustrated when we were in Maryland and he wasn’t getting some key hits.  He was burning up inside, so I just decided to give him a day off yesterday to just go in the cage, get his head right.  That’s all there is to that.  But as far as I know, he’s fine.  He said he’s ready to go.  We’ll find out about Nettles today.” 

—————————

Additionally, I spoke to Pressley and Lyle about the mindset of the team going into the final six games, where they can’t afford to lose any of them if they want to win the first half and clinch a playoff berth.

PRESSLEY

“Win, that’s always our mentality.  We’ve fought for three years, nothing ever comes easy in this league.  It didn’t come easy for us last year, the year before, or the year before that.  So we’ve got to come out and win.  Whether it’s first half, second half, wild card, whatever it is, we need to win games, and that’s what we’ve got to do.  We’ll be fine.  I don’t think anybody in here is really that worried about it.  I just think we have to get back on track and get everybody healthy.  As soon as we get everybody healthy, I’d put us up against anybody and like our chances.”

LYLE

“It’s ridiculous.  We just seem to make that one throwing error or whatever that costs us the game.  Hopefully, we just get back to full strength and go from there.  I mean, I know we’re not mathematically eliminated yet, but it’s not looking good.  That’s kind of where we’re at right now.  It’s very frustrating for all of those guys out there, maybe they’re trying too hard now.  Maybe the All-Star break will be a good thing to get their heads straight.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Brett Jodie On: Ryan Houston

June 29, 2010

This is the sixth part in a series in which Somerset Patriots pitching coach Brett Jodie takes a look at each pitcher on his staff.  So far, the former big leaguer has broken down Casey Cahill, Jesse Darcy, Ben Grezlovski, Brian Henderson and Carlos Hines.

Now, it’s time to talk about Ryan Houston, who leads the Atlantic League with 15 saves.

JODIE: “Houston’s been great.  I think he’s had one little bump in  the road, and that’s just when he was getting some work in.  He gave up a few runs or whatever, which I hate to see, and it happened kind of fast.  But in save situations, he’s been great.  He’s very confident out there in the ninth inning, and you feel comfortable putting him out there in those situations.  He has a certain swagger about him, I guess you could say.  But it’s a confident thing, it’s not an arrogant type thing, it’s what the team needs to see.  Every time we’re able to get a lead and hand him the ball, we’re feeling really good about it right now.

“He has three quality pitches, and is not scared to throw any of them at any time.  If you compare him to Bret Prinz, they both have very good fastballs, but Prinz came at you with the fastball and every now and then, the slider.  He can throw the split, the slider, the fastball, and he’s got great downward angle on the ball.  That’s something I noticed in his first bullpen in spring training, how he really uses his whole body and gets his arm up on top and creates that angle, and I’m a huge believer in downward angle.  I love the way he throws and the way he competes out there.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Patriots Send Six To All-Star Game

June 28, 2010

Second baseman Matt Hagen, outfielder Wayne Lydon (pictured), catcher Jason Belcher, designated hitter Josh Pressley, closer Ryan Houston, and starting pitcher Josh Miller have all been selected to play for the Freedom Division in the 2010 Atlantic League All-Star Game.

Hagen will be making his third straight All-Star Game as a Patriot. He is batting .277 with 40 runs scored, 64 hits, 17 doubles, three home runs, and a team high 36 RBI through June 27th.

Lydon is batting .267 with 37 runs scored, 62 hits, nine doubles, three triples, two home runs, 20 RBI, and 28 stolen bases in 58 games played.

This will be Lydon’s second straight Atlantic League All-Star Game after making it last year as a Camden Rivershark.

“I’d like to be doing better than what I’m doing, but it’s still something nice to be a part of,” Lydon said.

Lydon, who unlike many Atlantic League players, possesses one standout tool — his speed — doesn’t feel any additional pressure to showcase that, despite the fact that scouts from many Major League organizations will be in attendance.

“I don’t know that I need to show that off,” he said.

“I think if they look at the track record, they pretty much know.  I just want to go out there and have fun, not worry about scouts and stuff like that.”

Belcher will be making his second All-Star appearance for Somerset. He is batting .270 with 50 hits, seven doubles, two home runs, and 24 RBI.

“I really don’t play for the off the field accolades, I’m more concentrating on what goes on on the field,” Belcher said.

“But it feels good to be rewarded for what you’ve done on the field.  It’s always good to go instead of not going, it means you’ve done something good.  It’ll be nice to represent the Patriots there.”

Pressley, despite missing much of the season with injuries, was named to his third straight All-Star Game. He currently has four home runs and 15 RBI in 22 games played.

Houston is the league leader in saves with 15 in 22 games pitched. He has a 2-1 record, a 2.57 ERA, and 26 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.

Miller is making his second straight All-Star appearance in Somerset. He is 5-4 with a 3.64 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 84 innings over 13 games started.

There was some shock in the clubhouse that outfielder Michael Hernandez didn’t make it.  Lydon was quick to stand up for his teammate.

“We all know he deserves it, but it doesn’t really mean much,” Lydon said.

“He just got snubbed.  What else can you say?”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Parts of a Patriots press release were used in this story…

Playoff Chances Swept Away

June 28, 2010

(PR) Bridgewater, NJ – The Camden Riversharks defeated the Somerset Patriots 4-2 in the second game of the double-header on Monday night.

The Patriots took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after left fielder Tim Raines, Jr. singled and scored on an error after a base hit by right fielder Michael Hernandez.

Somerset added a run in the bottom of the third inning after Raines, Jr. singled and scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by third baseman Pete LaForest for the 2-0 advantage.

Camden scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning to even the score 2-2. Shortstop Kyle Haines singled, left fielder Garrett Guzman singled, and third baseman Brian Burgamy walked to load the bases. Right fielder Jorge Piedra then drove home Haines on a sacrifice fly and first baseman Chris Malec singled to bring home Guzman.

The Riversharks broke the tie in the top of the fifth inning. Second baseman Cesar Suarez reached on an error, catcher Korey Feiner walked, and Suarez came around to score on a throwing error. Feiner then came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Guzman for the 4-2 lead.

Camden starter Ryan McKeller (2-2) got the win after pitching four innings, allowing two runs on four hits. Patriots starter Tim Lavigne (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on four hits in 4.2 innings pitched. Blaine Neal picked up his second save of the season after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

The Somerset Patriots 2010 Season presented by Ford will continue on Tuesday night when the Patriots take on the Camden Riversharks at 7:05 pm. The game includes Thomas the Tank Engine Night presented by HIT Entertainment, Carvel Ice Cream, Courier News, Home News Tribune, CentralJerseyMomsLikeMe.com, Magic 98.3 FM, and WCTC 1450 AM. Great seats are available by stopping by the Patriots Ticket Office located at TD Bank Ballpark, by calling (908) 252-0700, or on-line at http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

Game 64: Riversharks @ Patriots

June 28, 2010

Game 64 – Camden Riversharks @ Somerset Patriots
June 28, 2010
TD Bank Ballpark – Bridgewater, NJ

Pitching Matchup: CAM Eddy Camacho vs. SOM Tim Lavigne

Starting Lineups:

CAMDEN

Chris Walker, CF
Kyle Haines, SS
Garrett Guzman, LF
Brian Burgamy, 3B
Jorge Piedra, RF
Chris Malec, 1B
Brett Bonvechio, DH
Cesar Suarez, 2B
Korey Feiner, C

Eddy Camacho, P

SOMERSET

Wayne Lydon, CF
Tim Raines, Jr., LF
Michael Hernandez, RF
Pete LaForest, 3B
Noah Hall, DH
Jason Belcher, C
Elliott Ayala, SS
David Housel, 2B
Joe Burke, 1B

Tim Lavigne, P

Radio Links: Click here to listen to Adam Amin’s broadcast on WCTC

Live Box Score: The link to Pointstreak box score is here.

In-Game Updates (LIVE from the ballpark): Somerset’s out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning…Tim Raines hit a one-out single, and scored after an errant throw by Jorge Piedra on a Michael Hernandez base hit.

Hernandez, not an All-Star, drives one to the right center field gap in the 3rd…runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out.

Sac fly by Pete Laforest makes it 2-0, B3.

And Camden’s tied it, 2-2, T4…

Two in the fifth make it 4-2, Camden…it’s falling apart here for Somerset.

In-Game Photos:

In-Game YouTube Videos:

Final Score:

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com