On Hiatus Until The Playoffs

September 3, 2010

It had pretty much gone that way, but just to make it official and not leave everyone hanging…I’ll be continuing my break from PatriotsBaseball.com until the start of the postseason — assuming Somerset makes it, which seems like a safe assumption right now.

Please continue to read my weekly stories in the Hunterdon County Democrat and Messenger Gazette (which occasionally actually make NJ.com — how about that?) and follow me on Twitter for Patriots updates.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Your First Place Somerset Patriots

August 22, 2010

(PR) Lancaster, PA – Somerset scored three runs off Charlie Weatherby in the 7th for a comeback victory as the Patriots defeated the Lancaster Barnstormers 3-2 on Saturday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium. With their ninth win in their last 11 games, the Patriots took sole possession of first place for the first time since June 12 in the Atlantic League’s Freedom Division.

Behind Jason Monti’s 6.0 innings of one-run baseball, Somerset stayed within striking distance all night until the 7th inning. After back-to-back base hits for Matt Hagen and Noah Hall, Elliott Ayala’s base hit to right field tied the game at 1-1. Jason Belcher laid down a sacrifice bunt moving Ayala and Hall up a base but Weatherby (1-4) muffed the ground ball allowing Belcher to reach safely, loading the bases for Iggy Suarez. A walk to Suarez brought Hall home, putting the Patriots in front while knocking Weatherby out of the game. Joe Burke grounded out against Pat Overholt, bringing Ayala in for the third run putting Monti (3-6) in line for the win.

Lancaster got to within one with a Bryant Nelson RBI groundout in the 8th against Scott Williamson, a run charged to Ben Grezlovski. Grezlovski pitched a scoreless 7th but put leadoff man Lloyd Turner on base. Williamson entered with one out, saw Nelson come home, and struck out Aaron Herr ending the frame. Williamson struck out two men in the 9th after putting the tying run on base for his third Patriot save. Monti struck out five batters, scattering five hits, going 6.0 innings for the first time since June 12 and picked up his first win since June 7.

The Barnstormers scored the game’s first run in the 3rd while starter Ben Fritz tossed 5.0 scoreless innings, yielding just three hits and walking three, but inducing two double play balls to keep the Patriot offense at bay. Fritz – the league ERA leader but just a three-game winner – got little help from the offense but danced his way out of trouble multiple times, including loading the bases in the 5th with one out, only to wiggle his way out of the jam. Ross Peeples tossed the 6th without damage before Somerset got to Weatherby in the 7th.

Somerset (21-22, 57-56) looks for the series sweep against Lancaster (19-22, 50-61) on Sunday night in the final meeting of the year between the clubs. Jon Ellis (2-2, 3.34) faces Jason Simontacchi (4-6, 5.61) with coverage beginning at 5:55 pm on 1450 WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

NOTES: Jeff Nettles went 0-4, still stuck at 499 career Somerset RBIs… the Patriots assured themselves of a winning season against Lancaster, now 11-8 against the Barnstormers with one game left. The Patriots have never had a losing year against Lancaster…Grezlovski has allowed runs in three straight outings after 8.0 scoreless innings…Ayala went 3-4 with a run scored and an RBI.

Long Island Can’t Duck The Patriots This Time

August 18, 2010

(PR) Bridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots defeated the Long Island Ducks 5-1 at TD Bank Ballpark on Wednesday evening.

The Patriots took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. First baseman Joe Burke singled and later scored on a wild pitch.

The Ducks evened up the score with a run in the top of the second inning. Third baseman Javier Colina doubled and came home to score on an RBI single by second baseman Matt Cavagnaro.

Somerset took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning after center fielder Wayne Lydon reached base on a dropped third strike and scored on a double by Burke.

The Patriots added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Designated hitter Josh Pressley doubled and second baseman Matt Hagen (5) followed with a two run homerun to center field to make the score 4-1.

Somerset added a run in the bottom of the eighth inning after Pressley singled, was pinch run for by David Housel, and Housel came around to score after shortstop Iggy Suarez singled to right field for the 5-1 final.

Patriots starter Brian Adams (2-1) got the win after allowing a run on six hits in seven innings pitched. Ducks starter Kyle Jackson (3-9) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in six innings pitched. Patriots reliever Jeff Kennard picked up his third save of the season after tossing 1.1 scoreless innings.

The Somerset Patriots 2010 Season presented by Ford will continue at home on Thursday, August 19th when the Patriots take on the Long Island Ducks at 7:05 pm. The game includes Fireworks courtesy of Berkeley College. 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.

Patriots Blown Out Of The Water By The Ducks

August 18, 2010

(PR) Bridgewater, NJ –The Long Island Ducks defeated the Somerset Patriots 16-3 before 5,618 fans at TD Bank Ballpark on Tuesday evening.

Long Island scored in the top of the first inning to take an early 3-0 lead. Center fielder Joey Gathright walked, left fielder Ray Navarrete singled, and designated hitter John Rodriguez reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Gathright then scored on a wild pitch, catcher Robinson Cancel hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Navarrete, and Rodriguez scored on the second wild pitch of the inning.

The Ducks exploded for ten runs in the top of the third inning highlighted by a two-run homerun by first baseman Matt Padgett that scored Cancel and six RBI base hits to give the Ducks a 13-0 advantage.

Somerset got on the board in the bottom of the third inning after left fielder Elliott Ayala doubled and scored on an RBI single by center fielder Wayne Lydon to make the score 13-1.

The Patriots scored in the bottom of the fifth inning after right fielder Noah Hall doubled and shortstop Iggy Suarez hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring him home and make the score 13-2.

Long Island added two runs in the top of the seventh inning. Rodriguez singled and scored on an RBI single by Padgett and third baseman Javier Colina singled and scored on a fielder’s choice by right fielder Matt Esquival for the 15-2 lead.

Somerset scored in the bottom of the seventh inning on a solo homerun by Hall (6).

The Ducks added one more run in the top of the eighth inning on a solo homerun by Erick Monzon (9) for the 16-3 final.

Ducks starter Randy Leek (11-6) picked up the win after allowing three runs on five hits in seven innings pitched. Patriots starter Jon Ellis (2-2) got the loss, allowing three runs on one hit in an inning pitched.

The Somerset Patriots 2010 Season presented by Ford will continue at home on Wednesday, August 18th when the Patriots take on the Long Island Ducks at 7:05 pm. The game features entertainment by the Zooperstars! presented by sanofi-aventis and Scout Night. 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.

Patriots Sweep Bears

August 15, 2010

(PR) Bridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots defeated the Newark Bears 9-5 at TD Bank Ballpark on Sunday evening.

The Patriots got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the first inning. Third baseman Jeff Nettles singled to left field and designated hitter Josh Pressley (19) followed with a two run blast to right center to give Somerset a 2-0 lead.

Newark scored in the top of the third inning after second baseman Tim Raines Jr. walked and came around to score on a fielder’s choice by left fielder Elijah Dukes to cut the lead to 2-1.

The Bears evened the score 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning after Raines Jr. singled, stole second, advanced t third on a passed ball, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Dukes.

Newark scored to take the lead in the top of the sixth inning. Designed hitter Carl Everett singled, catcher Manny Mejia walked, and shortstop Randy Gress reached on a fielder’s choice that brought Everett. Raines Jr. followed with a single to left field to score Gress and give the Bears a 4-2 lead.

The Patriots answered with six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to regain the lead. The Patriots rally was highlighted by a two-run game tying homerun by Nettles (3) and a two run triple by left fielder Elliott Ayala that gave Somerset an 8-4 advantage.

Somerset added a run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a solo homerun by Nettles (4) to make the score 9-4.

Newark scored a run in the ninth on an RBI single by Daryle Ward.

Patriots reliever Andrew Dobies (1-1) got the win after tossing 1.1 scoreless innings and striking out two. Bears starter Derek Blacksher (1-2) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs on six hits in 5.2 innings pitched. Patriots closer Scott Williamson picked up his second save after retiring Carl Everett to end the game.

The Somerset Patriots 2010 Season presented by Ford will continue at home on Tuesday, August 17th when the Patriots take on the Long Island Ducks at 7:05 pm. The game includes Back-to-Back Champions Hats for the first 2,000 fans courtesy of Wells Fargo Advisors- Warren and a Chance to Win $10,000. 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.

Raines Returns, Speaks About Somerset Fallout

August 14, 2010

To say Tim Raines, Jr. was a disappointment with the Somerset Patriots would be putting it kindly.  But to say there wasn’t some disappointment from Tim Raines, Jr. when it comes to the Somerset Patriots, well…

“Things were said when I came here, and it just was a little different,” he said.

“I think the communication was off.  But I wasn’t playing very well, so I think that had probably had a lot to do with it, too.  But I had a great time here.”

The former major leaguer’s time with the team came to an abrupt end when he was dealt to the Newark Bears on August 9, a story first reported by Ryan Dunleavy of The Courier News.  At the time, Patriots manager Sparky Lyle told Dunleavy that: “He wasn’t happy with his playing time or his (low) spot in the order.”

When asked directly about that being an issue, Raines took a long pause.

“I guess so.  I guess you could say that,” he said.

Another revelation in the Courier News story was that Raines didn’t sit in the Patriots dugout the day before he was ultimately dealt, and that he went to Patriots director of player personnel Brett Jodie asking to be traded to the Bears, having already cleaned out his locker.

“I went out exactly the way I wanted to,” Raines said.

“We had talked before.  It wasn’t just like one day, ‘I’m out.’  I had talked to (Brett) before, and I talked to Sparky, too.  I think it went about as professional as it could have went.”

At the time of the move, Raines’ .241 batting average was second-worst on the team among active players, and he’d added six home runs and 27 RBI over the course of 86 games.  As he suggested, his performance had something to do with his demise in Somerset, but with a short roster and father Tim Raines managing the Bears, going to Newark seems to be the perfect scenario to turn things around for him.

“Any place where I was going to play every day and be somewhere up in the top of the lineup was what was ideal for me,” Raines said.

“It just so happened that it was with Newark.”

Any extra motivation against his old team now that he’s moved on?

“No, man.  This is like any other game,” he said.

“I want to go out there and perform and help my team win.  It’s a little weird knowing that all my boys are on (the other) side, though.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Patriots Bash Bears

August 14, 2010

(PR) Bridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots defeated the Newark Bears 6-1 before 6,039 fans at TD Bank Ballpark on Saturday evening.

Somerset scored to take the lead in the bottom of the second inning. First baseman Joe Burke singled, shortstop Elliott Ayala singled, and catcher Jason Belcher followed with an RBI single to bring home Burke. Third baseman Jeff Nettles then singled to left field to score Ayala and Belcher and give the Patriots a 3-0 lead.

The Patriots added a run in the bottom of the third inning after second baseman Matt Hagen singled, right fielder Noah Hall singled, and Burke hit a sacrifice ground ball back to the pitcher that brought home Hagen for the 4-0 advantage.

Newark cut the lead to 4-1 in the top of the fourth inning after left fielder Elijah Dukes singled, stole second, and scored on an RBI single by first baseman Daryl Ward.

Somerset added to their lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Hagen singled, Hall singled, Burke singled to bring home Hagen, and Ayala singled to score Hall to make the score 6-1.

Patriots starter Josh Miller (9-8) got the win after holding the Bears to a run on eight hits in seven innings pitched. Bears starter Matt Smith (6-11) suffered the loss, allowing six runs on 13 hits in seven innings pitched.

The Somerset Patriots 2010 Season presented by Ford will continue at home on Sunday evening when the Patriots take on the Newark Bears at 5:05 pm. The game includes T-Shirts for the first 2,000 fans courtesy of Flemington Department Store. 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.

Pulsipher Powers Patriots To Victory

August 14, 2010

(PR) Bridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots defeated the Newark Bears 9-1 before 6,052 fans at TD Bank Ballpark on Friday evening.

Newark scored to take the lead in the top of fourth inning after left fielder Elijah Dukes singled and came around to score on an RBI triple by designated hitter Sandy Madera for the 1-0 advantage.

Somerset scored to go on top in the bottom of the fourth inning. Third baseman Jeff Nettles reached on a single and designated hitter Josh Pressley (17) followed with a two-run homerun to left-center to make the score 2-1.

The Patriots added seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to increase their lead to 9-1. The rally was highlighted by a two-run homerun by first baseman Joe Burke (6) and a three-run blast to right field by Pressley (18) for his second homer of the game.

Patriots starter Bill Pulsipher (3-0) got the win after allowing a run on five hits while striking out four in seven innings pitched. Bears starter Kelvin Villa (2-6) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in 6.1 innings pitched.

The Somerset Patriots 2010 Season presented by Ford will continue at home on Saturday night when the Patriots take on the Newark Bears at 7:05 pm. The game includes Glow Fans for the first 2,000 fans courtesy of EmPoWER SOMERSET. 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.

Here Come The Patriots…

August 12, 2010

(PR) Bridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots defeated the York Revolution 13-4 at TD Bank Ballpark on Thursday afternoon.

York took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning after shortstop Chuck Jeroloman singled, center fielder Scott Grimes singled, and right fielder Erold Andrus singled to plate Jeroloman.

Somerset rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Shortstop Iggy Suarez walked, advanced to second on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a single by first baseman Joe Burke. Third baseman Jeff Nettles followed with an RBI double to score Burke, and designated hitter Josh Pressley doubled to drive home Nettles. Right fielder Michael Hernandez made it three consecutive doubles for the Patriots to score Pressley. Left fielder Noah Hall then followed with a single to score Hernandez and give the Patriots a 5-1 advantage.

The Revolution cut the lead to 5-2 in the top of the fifth inning after Grimes walked, Andrus singled, and third baseman Ramon Castro singled to bring home Grimes.

York scored in the top of the sixth inning on a solo homerun by first baseman Ian Bladergroen (13) to make the score 5-3.

Somerset scored in the bottom of the sixth inning after Burke doubled, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored after Nettles grounded into a fielder’s choice to make the score 6-3.

The Patriots added to their lead during the bottom of the seventh inning. Nettles had a three-run double and center fielder Elliott Ayala had an RBI single as part of the six run inning that gave Somerset a 12-3 lead.

York scored in the top of the eighth inning after catcher John Pachot singled and scored on a single by Grimes to make the score 12-4.

Somerset added a run in the bottom of the eighth inning after second baseman Matt Hagen singled and came around to score on an RBI single by shortstop David Housel for the 13-4 final.

Patriots started Brian Adams (1-1) got the win after allowing two runs on seven hits in five innings pitched. Revolution starter Ryan Basner (2-2) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on six hits in three innings pitched.

The Somerset Patriots 2010 Season presented by Ford will continue at home on Friday night when the Patriots take on the Newark Bears at 7:05 pm. The game includes Fireworks courtesy of AT&T. 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.

Patriots Take Two Straight From York

August 11, 2010

(PR) Bridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots defeated the York Revolution 3-0 at TD Bank Ballpark on Wednesday evening.

Somerset took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after center fielder Wayne Lydon singled, stole second, and came around to score after left fielder Joe Holden singled to put the Patriots on top.

The Patriots added two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Lydon led off the inning with a home run (5) to right field. Third baseman Jeff Nettles singled and later scored on an RBI single by right fielder Michael Hernandez for the 3-0 final.

Patriots starter Jonathon Ellis (2-1) picked up the win, allowing two hits over six scoreless innings. Revolution starter Corey Thurman (8-8) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on six hits in 7.1 innings pitched. Scott Williamson earned his first save of the season for Somerset with a scoreless ninth inning.