Tag Archive | "Independent Leagues"

Minor Leagues: Pecos League Drops to Eight Teams for 2013 Season


As we predicted in December, the Pecos League has dropped two teams prior to the start of the 2013 season.

The league had hoped to start the new season with 10 teams, but instead will be going with 8.

The Pecos Bills will be dropped from the league with the possibility of them coming back for the 2014 season. The league was relying on Reeves County to move forward with plans to move lights at Martinez Field, but they did not more forward on a motion for the lights.

The county might approve the motion in February, but that is too late for the league who will start their spring training in early May.

Another issue was that of the oil boom that is going on in the area that is taking up all of the housing. It was brought into question where the league would house players with the housing shortage that is occurring with the oilfield boom.

With Pecos dropping out for 2013, the league will also drop the Carlsbad Bats who were slated to be a travel team for the 2013 season.

Ryan Parent was slated to manage in Pecos. He has since accepted an open coaching position with the Trinidad Triggers. The Triggers and Bills will be merging rosters with 30 players from the two teams becoming free agents.

In addition, Taos will move to the Southern Division to even out the schedule with each division having four teams apiece.

Everyone involved is still hopeful that the Bills will be back for the 2014 season including Pecos League Commissioner Andrew Dunn.

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Minor Leagues: Abilene Prairie Dogs Out in 2013


The Abilene Prairie Dogs will not return to the field for the 2013 season.

The team played the 2012 season in the North American Baseball League’s United Division.

The team played at McMurry University where alcohol was not allowed to be sold at games. This put added strain on the team’s finances and without an agreement in place to build a new stadium, the team decided to cease operations for the 2013 season.

League officials have stated that there is a possibility the team will return for the 2014 season. This will give the league and city time to perhaps work out an agreement for a new home for the Prairie Dogs.

It is still up in the air what will become of the old North American Baseball League. The northern division of the 2012 league split off to for m the Pacific Association. The United Division will likely remain under the NABL name or go back to the United Baseball League name it was under before its merger.

With Abilene out in 2013, the league options are still unclear. The league might start a new franchise in either Brownsville, Tyler, or Del Rio but nothing has been stated publicly.

The league is running the Texas Winter League which starts in a few days, and I would suspect more announcements in the coming days about team locations for the 2013 season.

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Minor Leagues: Yuma Desert Rats Pull Out of American West Baseball League for 2013


The American West Baseball League had a setback this week as the Yuma Desert Rats elected to pull themselves out of the league.

Yuma was going to be apart of the inaugural American West Baseball League season in 2013. The league was slated to have four teams including Yuma, Fullerton, San Diego, and Orange County.

The league is rumored to be full of potential issues including one stadium with no lights, and others in financial problems.

It is still uncertain if the league will move forward for 2013 or postpone a year to get some of the issues resolved.

Here is the press release issued by Yuma:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Part 1/1 January 24, 2013

Yuma Desert Rats Withdraw from American West Baseball League

YUMA, ARIZONA – Tim Ferguson, owner of the Yuma Desert Rats announced today that the team has elected to immediately remove themselves from the American West Baseball league. The Desert Rats were set to be part of the inaugural season of the AWBL a four-team independent minor league with teams in Fullerton, San Diego, Orange County, and Yuma. Desert Rats Owner and President Tim Ferguson said, “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the Yuma Desert Rats will not be playing in the AWBL this season. We believe it is in the best interest of our fans, the City of Yuma, our corporate partners and sponsors to take some time to explore the best way that we can add value to the Yuma community through the game of baseball.”

While minor league baseball is at an all time high in attendance across the nation, hopes are high that the team will be able to continue to grow its fan base, build its corporate partnerships and community outreach programs while continuing to rebuild a foundation for professional baseball in Yuma. “There have been tremendous strides made towards bringing professional baseball back to Yuma. With more time to prepare, we feel that we will be able to sell a significant number of season tickets which will in turn attract even more community partners and sponsors. It also allows us to solidify our position within the local youth and amateur baseball programs in Yuma. We also think it will give us the proper time to find a suitable successor league which will provide the stability to create several much-needed business and support functions at the team level” added Ferguson. Because of a non-disclosure agreement, Ferguson is not able to release any other details regarding his decision to withdraw from the AWBL.

The team ownership went on to state “we would like to thank the community for welcoming myself and my family to Yuma. We remain committed to bringing baseball back in the very near future. We thank our staff, city officials and player participants in the AWBL league tryout for their hard work and dedication. I would also like to thank the many individuals who have helped me navigate this very difficult decision. We look to continue with you all as we look towards a strong and prosperous future within the game of baseball”. Said Ferguson.

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Pacific Association Releases Logo


The new independent league based in the Western United States, the Pacific Association, has released its new logo.

The league will consist of four teams. Two of them will be based in California in the San Rafael Pacifics and the Sonoma County Grapes, who will be a traveling team. The other two teams are based in Hawaii.

The four teams made up the North American League’s North Division in 2012, but with the league falling apart they have branched out and started their own league.

Each team will play a 78 game schedule including interleague games with other independent leagues.

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Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs Announced


As we reported in December, the North American League teams will be splitting up into new associations.

The first to announce is the new Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs.

The San Rafael Pacifics announced the creation of the new league that will consist of the teams from the old North American League North Division including the Sonoma County Grapes (a traveling team owned by the same group as the Pacifics), the Hawaii Stars, and the No Koa Ikaika Maui.

The two California teams will also play 24 interleague games with Arizona’s Freedom Pro League with both teams traveling to Arizona before hosting games in California as well.

The two teams from Hawaii will play interleague games as well. However, they will play games with the independent Baseball Challenge League of Japan.

Each team will play a 78 game schedule in 2013.

Former manager of the San Rafael Pacifics, and former Major-Leaguer, Mike Marshall has been announced as the leagues new commissioner.

As for the United Division of the old North American League, the Texas based teams are expected to form their own association. At this time it is unclear if they will return to the United League name, or keep the North American League name in some for or fashion. Look for more info on this later this month.

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Independent Baseball League News and Notes


Independent baseball is an ever changing world of teams and leagues, and this year is no different. The 2013 season will see a lot of changes in the independent leagues starting with one league folding after playing only two seasons.

North American League

The NAL is no more. After just two seasons of play, the league has dissolved.

The league saw a lot of issues last season as the management group walked away before the season. The league had formed when three other leagues combined including the Golden Baseball League, the United Baseball League, and the Northern League.

Last year the league was split into two divisions that didn’t even play one another for the championship.

So what will happen to the teams in 2013? Most likely the Texas teams will go back under the United Baseball League brand. Most of the teams will be back with the addition of new ones. The travel team in McAllen will likely be gone and replaced by a team in either Tyler, Del Rio, or Brownsville. If a travel team is needed, it will likely not be out of the McAllen/Edinburg area again.

The Northern Division of the NAL consisted of teams from California and Hawaii. The teams will be re-branded as the Pacific West League or perhaps the Pacific Baseball Association. They will likely keep the team in San Rafael and add a third team in Hawaii. Two more teams in California could be added with one being a travel team perhaps. The most interesting thing is the inter-league games that could be played with indy league teams from Japan.

The Atlantic League

This is one league that seems to have it together, at least for now. The league will be back with the same 8 teams, but look for more expansion into the Texas/Louisiana area in the future for a possible division in that area.

The American Association

The AA will be back in 2013 with the same 15 team lineup with the same inter-league play with the Can-Am League. However, the league isn’t without its problems as well. El Paso will be going AAA next year, so the Diablos will need to find a new home or dissolve. It is also rumored that Amarillo is having financial issues.

Can-Am League

The Can-Am League will continue in 2013 with five teams. However, the league will feature a new team. The new team will be the second team in Quebec as the Trois-Rivieres Aigles. They will replace the Worcester Tornadoes who had their team charter revoked by the league at the end of the 2012 season. Look for the league to add a sixth team in the future.

Frontier League

The oldest running independent league in the US is the Frontier League. The league started in 1993.

The league will feature pretty much the same lineup as last season. It will include a traveling team in the Frontier Greys to fill out the 14 team league.

There is also rumor of possible trouble in the coming years with one of the Illinois teams, and its possible a team or two could drop out in the next few years. Then again that’s just typical independent league baseball.

The Pecos League

The Pecos League is looking to start the season with 10 teams in 2013, but its possible they drop two teams before the season even starts. The league is young and I see it expanding too rapidly before getting a foothold in the areas where they are already. There is a lot of expansion into small areas with little or no revenue stream. If the league continues in this direction, look for it to go the way of the old Continental League.

One sign that the league isn’t spending money, quite possibly because it doesn’t have any, is the league is using clipart images for their primary logo.

New Leagues

The Freedom League

The League will be back for 2013 and will expand to six teams. The league is rumored to be in financial trouble  as they look to stay afloat in 2013. It is possible they will also include inter-league play with the Pacific West League.

American West Baseball League

The new league on the block is the AWBL. The league consists of four teams right now with one being a travel team. The league is seemingly full of old Golden Baseball League teams and locations. But the league seems to have a lot of issues.

The North County Cannons will play at Cal State San Marcos, but there aren’t any lights there. So temporary lights will have to be added or games will be played during the day. Other teams are rumored to be in debt and/or have huge leases hanging over them like a noose.

One plus for them is that two-time World Series champion Edgar Renteria invested in the league to acquire an ownership stake and control of the Fullerton territory.

There is some talk here that the league won’t even get off the ground in 2013 and might have to push back another year, if it ever gets off the ground.

So there you have it, a round up of the (potential) nine independent baseball league around the US. The league maps are always changing, and this is only scratching the surface.

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Independent League Roundup: American Association and Atlantic League


American Association

The American Association began play in 2006. Today there are a total of 13 teams in the league spread throughout 3 divisions. Teams range from Canada to the south of Texas. As well, some teams have been in operation since 1993 while one is new for 2012.

The league includes two of the Top 10 Independent League Managers in Doug Simunic and Ricky Van Asselberg.

Currently the Grand Prairie AirHogs and the Wichita Wingnuts lead the South and Central divisions. While the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and Winnipeg Goldeyes are tied for first in the North division.

League Leaders

Jake Kahaulelio (Wichita) is the league leader in batting with an average of .381. Tim Alberts (Amarillo) is second at .369.

Cristian Guerrero (S. Falls) leads the league in home runs with 14. CJ Ziegler (Wichita) is second with 13.

Nic Jackson (Fargo) leads the league in RBI with 55, with John Alonso (Lincoln) second with 50.

Zach Penprase (Fargo) leads the league in stolen bases with 25.

Nick DeBarr (Grand Prairie) is the league leader in wins with 9, as Josh Lowey (Wichita) has 8.

The strikeout leader is Matthew Rusch (Winnipeg) with 66. In second are Ryan Mitchell (Amarillo) and John Brownell (Grand Prairie) with 61.

Shaun Garceau leads the league in ERA at 2.25 with Matthew Rusch close behind at 2.52.

American Association Standings:

North Division
1. Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks 32-21
2. Winnipeg Goldeyes 32-21
3. Sioux Falls Pheasants 27-25
4. St. Paul Saints 24-28

Central Division
1. Wichita Wingnuts 33-20
2. Kansas City T-Bones 29-26
3. Sioux City Explorers 24-30
4. Gray SouthShore RailCats 23-31
5. Lincoln Saltdogs 20-33

South Division
1. Grand Prairie AirHogs 37-17
2. Amarillo Sox 29-25
3. Laredo Lemurs 23-29
4. El Paso Diablos 20-31

Atlantic League

The Atlantic League has been in operation since 1998. The league has a higher salary cap than most independent leagues and thus will routinely employ higher level players including many ex-Major Leaguers.

The league includes 8 current teams with a 9th team slated to start play in 2014. It also includes two of the Top 10 Independent League Managers in Sparky Lyle and Andy Etchebarren.

The league is broken down into two divisions with the Lancaster Barnstormers leading the Freedom Division and the Long Island Ducks leading the Liberty Division.

League Leaders

Adam Goodwin (Lancaster) leads the league in hitting with a .349 average. Andres Perez (York) is second in the league at .328.

Brock Peterson (Bridgeport) is the league leader in home runs with 16. Jaime Pedroza (Lancaster) and Brandon Sing (Long Island) are tied for second with 13.

The all-time Atlantic League RBI leader Jeff Nettles (Somerset) and Ramon Castro (York) are tied for the league lead in RBI with 50.

Adam Goodwin also leads the league in stolen bases with 21 where he is tied with 3 others including former Major Leaguer Freddie Bynum (Somerset).

Bobby Livingston (Sugar Land) leads the league in wins with 9. Paul Phillips (Somerset) and Corey Thurman (York) are tied with 8.

Mark Brackman (Lancaster), Paul Oseguera (Bridgeport), and Mike McGuire (Camden) are all tied for the league lead in strikeout with 74.

Dwayne Pollok (Lancaster) is the league leader in ERA at 2.33. Former Seattle Mariner John Halama (Lancaster) is second in ERA at 2.62.

Atlantic League Standings:

Freedom Division
1. Lancaster Barnstormers 47-25
2. York Revolution 36-36
3. Somerset Patriots 36-36
4. Sugar Land Skeeters 30-42

Liberty Division
1. Long Island Ducks 39-32
2. Camden Riversharks 35-36
3. Bridgeport Bluefish 33-39
4. Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 31-41

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Independent League Roundup: Frontier and Can-Am League


Frontier League

The Frontier League is the oldest independent baseball leagues still around having started play in 1993. The league is made up of 14 teams broken down into two divisions, West and East.

The league also has 2 of the Top 10 Independent League Managers in Steve Brook and Phil Warren.

So far the Traverse City Beach Bums have a 3 game lead in the East Division, while the Schaumburg Boomers lead the West Division by 2 games.

League Leaders

Javier Herrera (Rockford) leads the league in hitting at a .380 clip. Joash Brodin (London) is second in the league at .371.

Jose Vargas (Traverse City) is the league leader in home runs with 18, while his teammate Jeff Flagg is second with 13.

Jose Vargas also leads the league in RBI with 54. Javier Herrera is second with 51.

Darian Sandford (Southern Illinois) leads the league with 30 stolen bases.

Dustin Williams (Windy City) is the league leader in wins with 7. Seven pitchers are tied with 6 wins for second.

The league leader in saves is Eric Massingham (Evansville) with 13.

Mike Recchia (Windy City) leads in strike out with 80, well ahead of the pitcher in second.

Dan Blewett (Evansville) is the league leader in ERA with a 1.06 in 7 starts.

The league has placed 11 players so far in 2012 with 6 different MLB club’s minor league affiliates.

Frontier League Standings:

East Division
1. Traverse City Beach Bums 32-17
2. Southern Illinois Minors 29-20
3. Florence Freedom 28-22
4. Lake Erie Crushers 26-23
5. Evansville Otters 22-27
6. London Rippers 20-29
7. Washington Wild Things 19-29

West Division
1. Schaumburg Boomers 30-19
2. Windy City ThunderBolts 27-20
3. River City Rascals 26-23
4. Gateway Grizzlies 26-24
5. Joliet Slammers 21-28
6. Rockford Riverhawks 19-29
7. Normal Cornbelters 16-31

Can-Am League

The Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, or Can-Am League, is in its 8th season of play. The league consists of 5 teams. However, the teams will play an interlocking schedule with the American Association with each team traveling to play the teams from the AA.

The league includes one of the Top 10 Independent League Managers in Patrick Scalabrini of Quebec.

So far the Quebec Capitales lead the league by 5.5 games over the New Jersey Jackals.

League Leaders

Nick Giarraputo (New Jersey) leads the league in hitting at .375, while Ryan Scoma (Rockland) is second with a .346 average.

Keith Brachold (Rockland) is the league leader in home runs with 19 and RBI with 54. Nick Giarraputo is second in both categories with 16 home runs and 47 RBI.

Bryan Sabatella (New Jersey) leads the league in stolen bases with 20.

Keith Brachold also leads the league in runs scored with 51.

Steve Fox (New Jersey) leads the league with 8 wins. Two others are tied for second with 7.

Pat Moran (Rockland) is the league leader in strikeouts with 67. Jeff Duda (Quebec) is second with 62.

Karl Gelinas (Quebec) leads the league in ERA at 2.30. Steve Fox is close behind at 2.39.

The saves leader is Jorge Vasquez (Newark) with 10.

Can-Am League Standings:

1. Quebec Capitales 36-18
2. New Jersey Jackals 29-24
3. Rockland Boulders 27-26
4. Worcester Tornadoes 17-35
5. Newark Bears 17-38

Next up in the Independent League Roundup are the American Association and the Atlantic League.

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Independent League Roundup: Pecos and North American Baseball League


Pecos League

The Pecos League is in its 2nd season of play and already includes one of the top independent league managers in Chris Paterson.

The Alpine Cowboys and the defending champion Roswell Invaders are locked into a nice battle atop the standings with the Las Cruces Vaqueros not far behind.

League Leaders

Chris Brown (Santa Fe) has absolutely torn up the Pecos League pitching. In 23 games, Brown leads the league in home runs with 16. He has driven in 39 runs and is hitting .451. Logan Lotti (Las Cruces) is second in the league with 15.

Logan Lotti (Las Cruces) and Steve Rinaudo (Las Cruces) lead the league in RBI with 61. Teammate Randy Wells is second with 59.

The top hitter (by the hitting score via the league) is Steve Rinaudo. He is hitting .379 (top 5), with 14 home runs (top 5), 61 RBI (tied 1st), 74 hits (tied for 7th), 17 doubles (tied for 1st), and 74 runs (1st). That is quite a season he is putting up so far and its only been in 49 games.

Anthony Smith leads the league in wins with 7, but he has an ERA of 6.90 in 11 starts.

Rich McNeil (Las Cruces) leads the league in saves with 8, but he has an ERA of 5.76.

The top pitcher (by the pitching score via the league) is Brett Kennedy (Alpine). In 8 games (7 starts), Kennedy is 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.

Players Promoted

Many players have been traded to higher independent leagues, but two have been signed by MLB clubs and assigned to their minor league systems.

Jonathan Edwards was picked up by the Texas Rangers and assigned to their Class A affiliate in Spokane.

David Valesente was picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates and assigned to their Class A affiliate the State College Spikes.

Pecos League Standings:

1. Alpine Cowboys 33-18
2. Roswell Invaders 33-19
3. Las Cruces Vaqueros 32-22
4. Trinidad Triggers 24-30
5. White Sands Pupfish 19-34
6. Santa Fe Feugo 18-36

North American Baseball League

The North American League started in 2011 with the merger of 3 different leagues including the Northern League, United League, and the Golden Baseball League. The league also includes a few of the Top 10 Independent League Managers in Eddie Dennis and Doc Edwards.

The 10-team North American Baseball League is divided into two divisions. So far the San Rafael Pacifics have a 3 game lead in the North while the Edinburg Roadrunners have a 1.5 game lead in the South.

League Leaders

Maikal Jova (San Rafael) is leading the league in hitting at a .383 clip. Not far behind is Chad Gabriel (Ft. Worth) at .376.

Joe Weik (Abilene) and Brandon Jones (Ft. Worth) lead the league in home runs with 9.

Carlos Hereaud (Edinburg) is the league leader in RBI with 39. Fidel Hernandez (Rio Grande Valley) is 2nd with 38.

Celson Polanco (RGV), Blake Nation (FTW), Miguel Martinez (EDB), and Luis Chirinos (RGV) are all tied atop the league with 6 wins.

Celson Polanco leads the league in ERA at 1.44, while Dustin Crenshaw (Sonoma County) is second at 1.73.

North American Baseball League Standings:

North Division
1. San Rafael Pacifics 19-11
2. Hawaii Stars 15-13
3. Maui Na Koa Ikaika 14-16
4. Sonoma County Grapes 10-18

South Division
1. Edinburg Roadrunners 30-18
2. Rio Grande Valley Whitewings 28-19
3. Ft. Worth Cats 27-20
4. San Angelo Colts 22-25
5. Abilene Prairie Dogs 19-28
6. McAllen Thunder 16-32

Next up in the Independent League Roundup are the Frontier League and the Can-Am League.

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Minors: Pecos League Blasts Off into Second Season


The Pecos League kicked off its second season earlier this month. The league consists of six teams playing in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado.

So far the league has proven to be fairly evenly matched with 5 of the 6 teams at or over .500. The one exception so far has been newcomer Santa Fe Fuego who sit at the bottom with a 3-11 record.

The defending champion Roswell Invaders are sitting in second place at 8-6 trailing the league leading Las Cruces Vaqueros (9-4).

Positions three through five have the Alpine Cowboys sitting at 6-5, with the White Sands Pupfish, led by last season’s manager of the year Chris Paterson, at 8-8. In fifth place is the Trinidad Triggers, the lone Colorado team, sitting at .500 with a  7-7 record.

The hottest team in the league has to be the White Sands Pupfish. The Pupfish started the season 1-8. They were not losing close games either. In their first 9 games, the Pupfish offense averaged over 7 runs a game (67 total runs). However, the pitching staff gave up a total of 99 runs including 26 in one game to the Las Cruces Vaqueros.

It’s hard to win giving up 11 runs a game.

The have definitely turned the page. In their current 7 game winning streak, they have given up only 47 runs. Now that’s still not ideal for a team to give up almost 7 runs a game. However, if your offense is putting up almost 14 runs a game it’s easier to live with. The offense in the winning streak has put up game totals of 11, 13, 21, 18, and 16 in consecutive games. That’s an incredible total no matter what league you are in.

As the homepage of the league says, ” The league’s high power offenses are fueled by high altitudes and smaller ballparks.” I guess they mean it.

So far there have been some incredible offensive numbers put up.

Trevor Whyte (Las Cruces) leads the league in home runs (tied with 1 other at 5), batting average (.578), RBI (25), and is second in hits (26) and doubles (6). All of this coming in only 13 games.

Jordan Stouffer (White Sands) is having a quite the start as well hitting .453 (2nd), with 4 home runs (2nd), 20 RBI (2nd), and stealing 6 bases (3rd).

This would definitely be a fun league to watch, so if you are near a team head on over and check out the offensive explosion that is happening in the Pecos League.

For more information check out PecosLeague.com

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Interview: White Sands Pupfish Coach Ryan Parent


Today we talk with the first base coach of the White Sands Pupfish of the Pecos League Ryan Parent. Ryan was kind enough to answer some questions for us about his playing days and now his venture into coaching.

Can you tell us a little bit about your baseball career before joining the Marines?

Well prior to Joining the Marines my baseball career was mostly high school. I had a couple of Jr Colleges that were interested
But i didn’t have the money to attend the schools. I had been living on my own since I was 18, so at that time money was tight. I was playing some adult ball at the time and was spotted by a scout from the White Sox, but again lack of money got in the way.

During your time with the US Marine Corps you played for the “Heroes of the Diamond” (the US Military All-Star Team). What was that experience like, and what teams would you play?
That was probably one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. The coaches on that team are second to none and Terry Allvord runs a great program and puts on a wonderful show for a great cause and I am very grateful to have been a part of it. Due to being on Active duty my unit would not allow me to travel with the team so i was only allowed to play when they were in the area. One of the teams we played were the SO. MD Blue Crabs, and with the help of one of the Military coaches I was able to get the gig as the Blue Crabs bullpen catcher.

During the 2010 season you were apart of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League as a bullpen catcher. What was that experience like?
To get a chance to catch for guys who have been in the show and guys who had high professional experience was great. The coaches were awesome there too.I was treated like a member of the team. I owe a lot to Butch Hobson for allowing me to be able to come out and Jeremy Owens for working with me. Jeremy will make a great coach when he is done playing. They were very classy and fun group to be around and I am forever thankful for that experience. But due to my active duty work schedule my time with them was cut short but I was grateful for every moment of it.

A lot of us saw the article about you in the Yuma Sun newspaper. At that time you were playing in the Arizona Winter League trying to catch on with a team. You fought some injuries during that time. Can you tell us how your time went in Arizona?
Yeah I was fighting an elbow strain and it turns out I probably need Tommy John surgery, so since the rehab takes a year and im getting too old to be chasing playing dreams anymore so I decided to give coaching a shot, but my time in Arizona was a blast. I met some great guys who a lot of them I still keep in touch with. The coaching in that league was top notch. We were able to get a lot of attention from the coaches and they were willing to work with you to help you become a better player. My coach Benny Castillo was a great coach and helped me out a lot and spent many hours in the cages with me helping me with my swing. He knows a lot about the game of baseball and was teaching me the coaching side of the game at the end of the season. He even let me manage our winter league team for the last two games of the season and was helping me understand when to make certain moves and to look at certain situations that i might not have ever thought of as a player.

You signed on to be a coach with the White Sands Pupfish of the Pecos League. Was this a product of your time in the Arizona Winter League?
Honestly I don’t know. I would like to hope so. Half way through the AWL when i decided that playing pro ball just wasn’t in the cards I started to pick the brains of Benny and Brooks Carey, who was another coach in the AWL, but anyways i started to gain a passion for the other side of the game and they were able to teach me a lot about coaching and managing a team and a game. Since I love to teach others I thought it was a better fit. But the ironic side of it just happened that I was able to catch the attention of Chris Paterson this past winter and he was willing to offer me a coaching job for the summer and I am honored to be able to be a part of a new league and a great team.

Can you tell us a little bit about your duties for the Pupfish?
To do what the Manager tells me to do… ha.. Well I will have many hats this summer for the Pupfish. But as of right now i am slated to work with the catchers and to serve as the first base coach. But seeing that the town is located next to a big air force base they are hoping that I can use my military back ground to help us with the mostly air force population and to earn a good relationship with the base. I will also be helping run clinics for the youth on the base.

You are going to be learning under one of the best young managers in the independent leagues. Do you hope to find yourself in a managerial position in the future?
I would love to have my own team one day, but for now I’m just hoping to be able to learn from Chris as best I can to help set me up to manage my own team one day god willing. Chris is a very wise baseball man and I couldn’t be in a better situation to help start my baseball coaching career. I hope after a year or two I can find a club that’s willing to give me a shot a being the manager. But I still have a lot of learning to do and I am sure that Chris can help prepare me to one day manage my own team. My goal is to maybe one day be able to get a coaching job in affiliate ball, but at this point in my career I’m not picky, as long as I can continue work in the game I love and to be able to teach skills to players then I’m very happy. Although I am now a reservist in the Marine Corps so I hope that I will be able to work with my Coaching Career and still be able to serve.

But I would like to say that I am very blessed to have been given this chance to coach in professional baseball and to be a part of a great new league. I had a chance to fly out to New Mexico a couple of months ago and had a chance to meet the league head, Chris Paterson and our Booster club president Wally Anderson and I can say that this league and our team have a big future ahead of them and I am very happy to be a part of this season and I hope I can help us win and have successful season.

For those who would like to follow us this season you can go to our website at whitesandspupfish.com or can follow us on face book by searching pupfish booster club.

We’d like to thank Ryan for taking some time to answer questions for us, but we’d also like to thank him for his continued service to his country in the Marine Corps.  We wish him and his team the best of luck this season. Join us in following Ryan’s team by visiting the Pupfish’s website at whitesandspupfish.com or join the conversation on Face Book at the Pupfish Booster Club.

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Minors: Independent League Managers Top 10 – Part 2


Today we wrap up our top 10 list of the best baseball managers in independent leagues. This list shows the depth of talent in the independent leagues. It ranges from guys who have been in the game fro 50+ years, managed or played at the highest levels, but also includes some of the up and coming talent.

# 5 Doug Simunic

Doug Simunic is entering his 20th season of managing in independent baseball. For the past 16 years he has been the manager of the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks. He has some impressive records in his time. He has posted winning records in 18 of his 19 years as a manager. He has six titles to his credit including five with the Redhawks, and last season became the first independent manager to win 1,000 games.

Simunic has 17 trips to the postseason, and looks to get back on track in 2012 after his only losing season last season.

#4 Patrick Scalabrini

Former minor leaguer and Canadian National Team member Patrick Scalabrini has kept the winning tradition alive in Quebec when he took over the Capitales job in 2010. Scalabrini served as the Capitales hitting coach in 2009 when they won the Can-Am League title.

After taking over in 2010, Scalabrini led the Capitales to two straight titles. Both seasons under Scalabrini, Quebec has finished with the best record and the title. He will look for his third title in as many years this year as he returns to Quebec to lead the Capitales.

#3 Sparky Lyle

Former Major League pitcher Sparky Lyle has been at the helm of the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League since its inception in 1998. Over that time he has led the Patriots to over 900 wins and five championships.

In 14 years of managing, Lyle’s teams have finished under .500 only twice. The former Cy Young winner has won the Manager of the Year three times in the Atlantic League.  He will return to the Patriots this season for his 15th year.

#2 Doc Edwards

Doc Edwards has been in baseball for over half a century including playing and managing at the highest level. After 13 years in the minor leagues as a manger, Edwards got his shot at the big leagues with Cleveland in 1987 where he would go on to manage over 350 games.

Edwards started his independent managing career in 1996 with the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League. Two years later he would lead the Atlantic City Surf to the initial Atlantic League title.  Edwards has won over 600 games over the years leading several of his teams to the playoffs.  For the past five seasons he has been at the helm of the San Angelo Colts of the North American League, formally of the United League, where he has led them to the playoffs three times and the championship once.

#1 Ricky Vanasselberg

Where ever Ricky VanAsselberg has coached success has followed. In six years managing independent league teams, he has led his teams to four championships including the last two in the American Association. Last season he led the Grand Prairie Airhogs to their first league crown. The previous season, in 2010, he led the Shreveport-Bossier City Captains to their first title in only his second season at the helm.

Prior to winning titles in the American Association, VanAsselberg was winning back-to-back titles in the United Baseball League with the Alexandria Aces. After a two year absence, the Aces joined the United League in 2006 and promptly took home the crown.  A year later, they would repeat under the tutelage of VanAsselberg. Heading into the 2012 season, VanAsselberg has posted a .580 winning percentage and four titles over six years.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on the list as well. Think we left someone off? Let us know by commenting below.

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Minors: Independent League Baseball Managers Top 10 – Part 1


With the help of a few people in the know, we have compiled a list of the top 10 independent league managers. We are going to bring this to you in a two part series with #’s 6-10 today. So here is the first part of our list….

#10 Steve Brook

Steve Brook took over as manager of the River City Rascals in 2010 after a successful career pitching for the club. In his first season he led the team to a 2nd place finish in the regular season. In the postseason that year, he would lead them to a Frontier League Title.

In his second season, he led the Rascals to a franchise record 68 wins and a return trip to the finals where they fell to the Joliet Slammers.  He returns to the Rascals for his 3rd managerial season in 2012.

#9 Chris Paterson

Chris Paterson is the reigning manager of the year from the Pecos League having led the Roswell Invaders to the first ever Pecos League crown. He returns to the Pecos League in 2012 leading the White Sands Pupfish.

Chris Paterson might be one of the youngest managers in the game. After spending most of his professional playing career overseas with some of the top clubs in Europe, he began his managerial career in 2010 for the Desert Valley Mountain Lions of the Continental Baseball League. He led the team to a 26-26 record to garner his first Manager of the Year award.  He has managed teams in the California Winter League, the Arizona Winter League, and the Pecos Spring League.

In two seasons as field manager, Chris has a .579 winning percentage and has won 2 Manager of the Year awards in two separate leagues. He looks to continue his success this season in New Mexico.

#8 Phil Warren

Phil Warren is heading into his 6th season as the Gateway Grizzlies manager in the Frontier League. In his first 2 seasons with the Grizzlies, Warren led them to playoff appearances.

The former Frontier League All-Star led Gateway to a franchise record 64 wins in his first season at the helm in 2007. He has led the Grizzlies to almost 250 wins in his short tenure, and he looks to improve on the Grizzlies 3rd place West Division finish.

#7 Eddie Dennis

Eddie Dennis has had three stints as the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings manager. He took over the team in the 1998 season and led them to their only title in 2000 in the Texas-Louisiana League.  He returned in 2006 as the WhiteWings were reborn after two years, this time in the newly formed United League.

Dennis would continue manage again for the 2007 season before stepping away once again. However, he returned to help rebuild the franchise in 2009 after a horrible 20-62 2008 campaign. He was able to almost double their win total the next season going 39-41, and in 2010 brought the WhiteWings back to the playoffs. In the 2011 season, Dennis led Rio Grande to the league finals only to lose to Edmonton.

# 6 Andy Etchebarren

Two-time World Series Champion Andy Etchebarren also has a few titles as a manager for the York Revolution.  The former MLB catcher has led York to back-to-back titles the past two seasons in the Atlantic League.

After managing for years in the Baltimore Orioles organization, Etchebarren returned in 2009 to take over the Revolution managing spot late in 2009. He was able to turn a last place team from 2009 into league champions in 2010. The team continued to get better in 2011 posting the leagues 2nd best record and once again winning the Atlantic League title. “Etch” returns to York in 2012 as he looks for his 3rd straight title.

We’ll bring you the top 5 tomorrow. So be sure to check back.

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Can-Am League: 2011 Season Recap


Originally founded as the Northeast League in 1995, the Can-Am League has gone through various changes over the years but has continued to play without missing a season. Renamed the Can-Am League in 2005, the league has seen 9 different champions. This year the Quebec Capitales won its 4th title and 3rd straight.

The 2011 season consisted of 8 teams including the Brockton Rox, New Jersey Jackels, Newark Bears, Pittsfield Colonials, Quebec Capitales, Rockland Boulders, New York Federals, and the Worcester Tornadoes.

Quebec took both halves of the season finishing 8.5 games ahead of 2nd place New Jersey. Pittsfield (12 games back) and Brockton (14.5 games back) also made the playoffs for the 2011 season.

Can-Am League Standings

Team Won Lost Streak
Quebec Capitales 64 26 Won 8
New Jersey Jackals 57 36 Lost 3
Pittsfield Colonials 53 39 Won 4
Brockton Rox 51 42 Won 3
Worcester Tornadoes 48 44 Lost 4
Newark Bears 41 52 Won 1
Rockland Boulders 40 52 Lost 1
New York Federals 15 78 Lost 6

Playoffs

In the first round of the playoffs Quebec took on 4th place Brockton while the #2 and 3 seeds played one another in New Jersey and Pittsfield.

Quebec made quick work of Brockton winning the series in 3 games by a combined score of 24-4. Only Game 3 was close with Quebec coming out on top 3-2. The Rox just couldn’t overcome the strong Quebec pitching as the Capitales moved onto the finals to face the New Jersey/Pittsfield winner.

Quebec Capitales 10, Brockton Rox 1
Quebec Capitales 11, Brockton Rox 1
Quebec Capitales 3, Brockton Rox 2
*Quebec wins series 3-0

The other semi-final series wasn’t much of a contest either as the New Jersey Jackals swept the Pittsfield Colonials in 3 games. New Jersey only trailed once in the 3 games and only for 2.5 innings as they outscored the Colonials 21-4.

New Jersey Jackals 5, Pittsfield Colonials 1
New Jersey Jackals 8, Pittsfield Colonials 2
New Jersey Jackals 8, Pittsfield Colonials 1
*New Jersey wins series 3-0

So the finals were set as the top two teams from the regular season would face off with one another. The games were a bit closer than in the semi finals and there was no sweep, but in the end Quebec was too much for New Jersey as they won their 3rd straight, and 4th overall, league title.

Game 1 saw a great pitching performance from Quebec’s Bryan Rembisz who went 7 shutout innings allowing only 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5 to pick up the win. Pete Laforest provided all the necessary offense with a 3-run home run in the 4th inning off New Jersey starter Isaac Pavlik.

Game 2 was another close game with Quebec coming out on top 4-3. Once again Quebec got to the New Jersey starter early with 4 runs in the 3rd inning. Geofrey Tomlinson drove in the first run with a double, and he would later score on Sebastien Boucher’s RBI single. The next hitter was Rene Leveret who would drive in the final two runs with a 2-run blast off Jackal starter A.J. Wideman. Wideman would take the loss going 6 innings allowing the 4 runs.

The Jackals bounced back in Game 3 with its first, and only, victory of the finals. This time the Jackal pitchers kept the ball in the ballpark and Jon Kibler gave New Jersey a strong start going 6 innings allowing only 1 run on 2 hits while striking out 5. The Jackal bats woke up as well as they belted 3 home runs in the game.

New Jersey got on the board in the 4th on a DAngelo Jimenez 2-run home run.  Myron Leslie drove in 2 as well in the 8th with a 2-run bomb of his own. And in the 9th the Jackals would add an insurance run with a Nick Giarraputo solo shot.

Game 4 would be all Quebec after the first inning and a half. New Jersey jumped out in front 4-1 after the first inning and a half, but it was all down hill from there. Quebec would get 2 runs in the 2nd and 3rd and a single run in the 4th to win their 3rd straight Can-Am League Title. Ryan DiPietro picked up the win for Quebec going 6.2 innings giving up 4 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks. Pete Laforest (0-for-3)and Geofrey Tomlinson (2-for-4) both drove in 2 runs to help Quebec defend their title.

Quebec Capitales 3, New Jersey Jackals 0
Quebec Capitales 4, New Jersey Jackals 3
New Jersey Jackals 5, Quebec Capitales 1
Quebec Capitales 6, New Jersey Jackals 4
*Quebec wins series 3-1

League Leaders

Danny Bomback (Pittsfield) led the league in hitting with a .355 average. Danny had 121 hits in 91 games including 32 doubles and 5 home runs.

Nick Salotti led the league in home runs with 23 for Worcester a year after he hit 10. He finished just ahead of teammate Chris Colabello who finished 2nd with 20.

Keith Brachold of Brockton led the league in RBI with 80 finishing just ahead of Chris Colabello (79).

On the pitching side of things, Zach Zuercher (Worcester) led the league in wins with 14 just ahead of New Jersey’s Isaac Pavilk (13).

Isaac Pavlik (New Jersey) led the league in strikeouts with 112. He also finished 3rd in ERA at 2.73.

The ERA crown went to New Jersey’s James Leverton who had a 2.38 mark.

Pittsfield Colonials right handed pitcher Patrick Moran won the Rookie of the Year award finishing tied for 3rd in wins with 11 and 10th in ERA at 3.62.

Player of the Year went to Worcester Tornadoes infielder Chris Colabello. Colabello finished in the top 3 in 12 offensive categories. He batted .348 with 20 home runs, 79 RBI, 127hits, 75 runs, and 32 doubles. He had a slugging percentage of .600 and a .410 on-base percentage.

There will be some changes in 2012 as the Can-Am League and the American Association announced that the two leagues will play interlocking schedules. The Can-Am League will adopt the American Association’s 100 game schedule while 5 teams from each league will make 10-game road trips to play teams from the other league.

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Frontier League: 2011 Season Recap


The Frontier League is currently the oldest running independent baseball league dating back to 1993. Teams are primarily located in the Midwestern United States. The league has 2 7-team divisions with each team playing a 96-game season.

The teams for the 2011 season included the Joliet Slammers, the Lake Erie Crushers, Traverse City Beach Bums, Windy City Thunderbolts, Washington Wild Things, and the Rockford Riverhawks in the East Division. The Florence Freedom, Evansville Otters, Gateway Grizzlies, Normal CornBelters, Southern Illinois Miners, and the River City Rascals played in the West Division.

 

East Division W L PCT GB
Joliet Slammers * 56 40 0.583
Lake Erie Crushers  51 44 0.537 4.5
Traverse City Beach Bums 51 45 0.531 5
Windy City ThunderBolts 48 48 0.500 8
Washington Wild Things 42 53 0.442 13.5
Rockford RiverHawks 37 59 0.385 19
West Division W L PCT GB
River City Rascals * 68 27 0.716
Southern Illinois Miners  58 38 0.604 10.5
Normal CornBelters 46 50 0.479 22.5
Gateway Grizzlies 39 56 0.411 29
Evansville Otters 39 57 0.406 29.5
Florence Freedom 39 57 0.406 29.5
* Clinch Division
 Clinched Playoff

League Leaders

Jake Eigsti led the league in hitting at a .340 clip pounding out 114 hits in 92 games for Rockford. Andrew Davis of Lake Erie finished second just a point behind at .339 pounding out 123 hits in 93 games including 39 doubles and 12 home runs.

Gateway catcher Charlie Lisk led the league in home runs belting 24 round trippers a year after hitting 21. Lisk now holds the all-time home run record for the Frontier League at 113. JT Hall of Traverse City finished 2nd to Lisk with 23 long balls.

Charlie Lisk also led the league in RBI with 94 with Lake Erie’s Andrew Davis finishing 2nd with 87.

Brandon Anderson of Windy City led the league in stolen bases with 53.

Stephen Holdren of River City got on base at a clip of .449 to lead the league.

Southern Illinois’ Will Block led the league in slugging percentage at .610 and was one of 11 with an OPS of over .900.

The leader in OPS went to Stephen Holdren of River City who had an incredible 1.018.

On the pitching side of things, Jake Renshaw of Joliet finished in the lead in wins with 13. Ryan Sheldon of Normal finished second with 12.

Dustin Williams of Windy City led the league in strikeouts with 157, and once again Sheldon finished second with 134.

The ERA title went to Gateway’s Mark Brackman who had a 2.15 mark. Barely behind him in 2nd was Justin Edwards of Washington with a 2.16.

Stephen Holdren (332/21/84) of River City was named MVP for the 2011 season.

Pitcher of the Year was Josh Lowey of River City going 11-2 with a 2.44 ERA .

Pitcher Casey Barnes of Washington was named Rookie of the Year after going 5-5 with a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts. During the season Barnes was signed by the Philadelphia Phllies organization.

Playoffs

The Divisional Series pitted Joliet against Lake Erie and Southern Illinois against River City.

Joliet cruised through their series with Lake Erie in 3 games winning close games each time.

Joliet 5, Lake Erie 2
Joliet 3, Lake Erie 1
Joliet 5, Lake Erie 2
*Joliet advances to championship round

River City dropped game one to Southern Illinois but then ran off 3 straight wins to advance to face Joliet in the finals.

Southern Illinois 9, River City 7
River City 3, Southern Illinois 2
River City 5, Southern Illinois 2
River City 4, Southern Illinois 1
*River City wins series 3-1 and advances to championship round

The Best of Five Championship Round had the two top teams in the regular season facing off with one another. After Game 1 was postponed by a day of rain, River City jumped on top in the series by winning 8-5. River City jumped all over Joliet starter Jake Renshaw who allowed 6 runs in only an inning of work. But it would be the only win for River City.

Joliet came back strong in Game 2 winning a close game 3-1. This time the Joliet starter Tommy Mendoza would go 5 innings allowing only 1 run on 5 hits and a walk to earn the victory. The Joliet pitchers kept league MVP in check as Holdren went 0-for-4. The Joliet bats got a big boost from shortstop Brad Netzel and second baseman Hector Pellot who both hit home runs to power Joliet to the win.

Game 3 was another close victory for Joliet as they pulled it off 4-3 with single runs in the bottom of the 8th and 9th innings. After a sea-saw battle that saw several lead changes, River City went into the bottom of the 8th inning with a 3-2 lead after tying the game in the 6th with a run and taking the lead in the 7th with another.

After Joliet got an unearned run in the bottom of the 8th to tie it, Brandon Peters came up huge with a walk off home run to lead off the bottom of the 9th giving Joliet a 2-to-1 lead in the series.

Game 4 was another close one. This time Joliet would hold off a River City rally to close out the series and win the 2011 Frontier League Championship.

The game was scoreless until the 5th inning when River City got 3 runs in the top half of the inning. However, Joliet came right back with a 3 spot of its own to tie the game. After River City took the lead again in the 6th with a run, Joliet once again scored 3 runs in the 7th to put the game away. Jake Renshaw came back to pitch 5 innings giving up 4 runs but didn’t factor into the decision. Brad Netzel drove in a pair of runs and Ryan Quigley came in to close the door in the 9th to earn the save.

River City 8, Joliet 5
Joliet 3, River City 1
Joliet 4, River City 3
Joliet 6, River City 5
*Joliet wins series and championship 3-games-to-1

The Joliet Slammers won its first title and denied the River City Rascals a repeat championship.

For more information on the league and the 2012 schedule, visit FrontierLeague.com

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North American League: 2011 Season Recap


The newest league to join the independent ranks this year was the North American League. The league formed from the merger of 3 independent leagues in the Golden League, the Northern League, and the United League of Baseball. The league played a 96-game schedule.

The league is split into 2 divisions with a North and a South. The teams that made up the North Division were Calgary Vipers, Chico Outlaws, Edmonton Capitals, Lake County Fielders, and the Na Koa Ikaika Maui. The South Division was made up by the Edinburg Roadrunners, McAllen Thunder, San Angelo Colts, Rio Grande Valley White Wings, and the Yuma Scorpions.

Both divisions had good races with each division winner winning by only a game or two. In the North, the Edmonton Capitals (56-32) came out on top of the Calgary Vipers (53-33) by 2 games. Edmonton won the final two games of the season over Calgary by scores of 6-4 and 8-5 to take the division.

The South Division was even closer. The San Angelo Colts (52-36) won the division by 1 game over the Rio Grande Valley White Wings (51-37). Both teams limped into the playoffs losing their final 3 games of the season. Rio Grande Valley had a chance to take the division with San Angelo losing, but they failed to do so.

Playoffs

The top two teams in each division faced off in the first round to see who would advance to the championship round. With both teams limping into the playoffs, San Angelo squared off with Rio Grande Valley. After not being able to seize the division, Rio Grande Valley rattled off 4 straight victories over San Angelo to knock the Colts out of the playoffs. Only Game 1 was close with a score of 4-3. Rio Grande Valley ran away with the other 3 victories by scores of 13-3, 12-4, and 9-0.

San Angelo 3, Rio Grande Valley 4
San Angelo 3, Rio Grande Valley 13
Rio Grande Valley 12, San Angelo 4
Rio Grande Valley 9, San Angelo 0

The North Division playoffs was a bit better of a series with Edmonton winning in 6 games over Calgary. Calgary jumped out to a huge Game 1 win 9-3, but Edmonton bounced back with a 7-5 Game 2 victory.  In the sea-saw battle Calgary trounced Edmonton in Game 3 15-3, but that was all Calgary could manage. Edmonton would win Games 4, 5, and 6 to take the series.

Calgary 9, Edmonton 3
Calgary 5, Edmonton 7
Edmonton 3, Calgary 15
Edmonton 14, Calgary 7
Edmonton 12, Calgary 6
Calgary 2, Edmonton 9

In the first ever North American Baseball League Championship, the Edmonton Capitals took on the Rio Grande Valley White Wings. The series only lasted 5 games with Edmonton taking the first ever North American Championship title.

Former Colorado Rockies catcher J.D. Closser led the way for Edmonton on the offensive end. Closser hit .421 with 2 home runs, 13 RBIs, and 10 walks in the 11 games of the playoffs. Steve Brown chipped in with a .400 average with 3 home runs and 9 RBIs. Brent Matheny went nuts in the playoffs hitting 5 home runs in 10 games while hitting .359.

On the hill Lou Pote was outstanding. In 4 games started, Pote went 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA. Dallas Buck added 2 wins in 3 starts with a 2.87 ERA.

Rio Grande Valley 1, Edmonton 7
Rio Grand Valley 4, Edmonton 7
Edmonton 10, Rio Grande Valley 3
Edmonton 1, Rio Grande Valley 5
Rio Grande Valley 3, Edmonton 7

Regular Season League Leaders

Chico Outlaws second basemen Danny Gonzalez was named Rookie of the Year. Gonzalez hit .310 with 11 doubles and 27 RBI while playing some great defense up the middle of the diamond.

Edmonton Capitals outfielder Todd Linden was named Most Valuable Player after hitting .355 with 14 home runs and 79 RBI.

San Angelo Colts pitcher Chandler Barnard was named the Pitcher of the Year after leading the league in wins with 12 and finishing 2nd in ERA at 3.25.

David Peralta (RGV) led the league in hitting at .392 and hits with 133.  Finishing second was Jimmy Rohan (CAL) and Wilver Perez (CAL) both who hit .379.

Daryl Jones (SAN) led the league in home runs with 28 and RBI with 90. Cory Patton (SAN) finished 2nd behind teammate Jones with 25 while Landon Camp (SAN) finished 3rd with 24 to finish out the trifecta for San Angelo.

Eric Blackwell finished 1st in the league in ERA at 3.01.

A few new teams will join the league in 2012 including the Fort McMurray (Alberta, Calgary), the Henderson Roadrunners, and the San Rafael Pacifics.

For more information visit NorthAmericanLeague.com

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Pecos League: 2011 Season Recap


With most of the baseball over (there are some excellent winter leagues that we will continue to cover), we will be taking a look back at all of the leagues throughout the world. We will be starting with the independent leagues in the USA and then continue to climb the ladder of baseball in the States and all over the world.

Now let’s get this started.

The Pecos League was a new league for the 2011 season. Six teams competed throughout New Mexico and Texas for the inagural crown. The teams included the Roswell Invaders (perhaps with the greatest uniforms of all time?), White Sands Pupfish, Ruidoso Osos, Alpine Cowboys, Las Cruces Vaqueros, and the Carlsbad Bats.

The six teams played a shortened season (70 games in 2012) starting in May and lasting through mid August.

The Roswell Invaders, led by manager of the year Chris Paterson, took 2-of-3 from the Ruidoso Osos in the finals to win the first Pecos League crown.

With six teams only four teams made the playoffs. Roswell finished with the best record in the league at 47-27. They were led by some of the better hitters in the league as well. Clifton Thomas, named league MVP, was near the top of the league in batting average at .369. He was also tied for 4th in home runs with 9, 2nd in RBIs with 61, and 2nd in hits with 94.

Thomas had a lot of help though. Catcher Adrian Martinez hit .321/7/46 and outfielder Trivon Howard hit .302/1/29 with 34 stolen bases.

On the hill Roswell was led by pitchers Reed Brown (4.52 ERA) and Josh Grady (5.55 ERA) who both tied for the league lead in wins with identical 7-2 records. Anthony Carrillo (3.93 ERA) led the league in saves with 6.

Playoffs

In the first round of the playoffs, Roswell faced off with 4th place finisher Alpine. Roswell took the first game in a huge way winning 19-4 but failed to put Alpine away in game 2 of the best-of-3 series losing 6-5. Then in dramatic fashion the Invaders advanced to the finals with an 11-9 win in 10 innings. With 1 out and  a runner at 2nd, Brian Ramirez a 1-2 pitch and deposited it over the fence for a home run, a walk-off series winner.

Roswell 19, Alpine 4
Alpine 6, Roswell 5
Roswell 11, Alpine 9
Roswell advances with 2-1 series win

In the other first round match up, Ruidoso (2nd place) took on White Sands (3rd place). Ruidoso made quick work of White Sands winning the series in 2 games closing them out 7-0 in Game 2

Ruidoso 8, White Sands 6
White Sands 0, Ruidoso 7
Ruidoso advances with 2-0 series win

The top two teams of the regular season faced off with one another in what turned out to be a good finals. Ruidoso won Game 1 5-3 but Roswell bounced back in Game 2 winning 7-1 to force a decisive final Game 3. The final game turned out to be a good one with Ruidoso jumping out to an early 1-0 lead after a half inning on a Jason Hyland home run (2nd of the playoffs). But Roswell would bounce back in the bottom of the 6th inning to take the lead 2-1 on a Clifton Thomas 2-run home run.

However, the 1-run lead was short-lived as Ruidoso came back in the top of the 7th to tie the game at 2. Kip Masuda reached first after the 3rd strike got away from the catcher. He advanced to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt and then scored the tying run on a Sean Proni single.

But in strong fashion, Roswell quickly regained the lead for good in the bottom of the 7th. Brian Ramirez doubled with 1 out and scored on a Brycen Bell single. The Invaders got an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th on a Josh Cakebread sacrifice fly. Josh Grady finished the game earning the save pitching 2 innings after being a starter for most of the season.

Clifton Thomas led the Invaders in the playoffs like he did all year long hitting .464 with 1 home run, 1 triple, 2 doubles, and 13 hits in the 6 playoff games. He also drove in 9 runs.

Roswell 3, Ruidoso 5
Ruidoso 1, Roswell 7
Roswell 4, Ruidoso 2
Roswell wins 1st Pecos League Title

Final Standings:
Pecos League

Team Won Lost
Roswell Invaders 47 27
White Sands Pupfish 41 29
Ruidoso Osos 38 29
Alpine Cowboys 37 31
Las Cruces Vaqueros 35 32
Carlsbad Bats 09 59

 

The Pecos League will be back in 2012 but will have a few changes. The Ruidoso Osos and the Carlsbad Bats will not return in 2012. To replace these two teams, the league has added the Sante Fe Fuego and crossing into a third state in Colorado, the Trinidad Triggers.

The 2012 season looks like it will be an exciting one with the additions of the new teams in the league. The league will continue to develop talent. During the 2011 season the league placed 43 players with higher independent and affiliated teams.

For more information, visit the leagues website at PecosLeague.com

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Pecos League Tryout – December 4th Riverside, California


The Pecos League, an independent baseball league in the US, will be having a tryout camp on December 4th in Riverside, California.

The Pecos League has teams in the New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado.

Details for the tryout:

December 3rd 11AM PST
La Sierra University,4500 Riverwalk Parkway
Riverside, Ca 92515
This camp is for the White Sands Pupfish and will be conducted by manager Chris Paterson – Chris.Paterson AT pecosleague.com

For more information visit PecosLeague.com

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Strange Fight from the Pecos League


From the files of “What was he thinking?” comes a fight from the newly formed Pecos League.

In the 7th inning of a game between the Roswell Invaders and the Las Cruces Vaqueros, a Vaqueros player was picked off of first base. The third base coach then ran over to argue and wound up pushing the umpire. Things from there got a little out of control.

The benches cleared as the arguing continued. No punches were thrown and no one was hurt. But as the players were on the field a strange thing happened. Roswell Invaders owner and league commissioner Andrew Dunn ran out onto the field holding a metal folding chair above his head.

Dunn has since apologized for the incident. No one was hurt or hit with the chair. It seems to have been a spur of the moment things as he was getting a chair the fight broke out and he ran out to break it up. As owner and commissioner he knew that fighting at a game was bad for the team/league. In a written apology he writes, “In no way shape or form, was I trying to use the chair to harm anyone. I sincerely apologize for the actions I might have brought about because of my poor judgment, but I want to make clear that I do not condone any fighting on or off the baseball field.”

The Las Cruces coach has been suspended and several Vaqueros players released from the incident. The league has also changed their rules regarding players entering the field during a dispute. They must now stay in the dugout and maintain a certain distance during any disputes.

The Invaders are holding a “Bring your own chair night” on June 11. Any fan who brings a lawn chair to the game will get $2 off general admission tickets.

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Pecos League Opening Day


New this year in independent league baseball is the Pecos League. The league formed this season with 6 teams all located in New Mexico and Texas with the thought to further expand in Texas and other locations in the future. Several of the teams are from the Continental Baseball League that folded after last season. The league will play a 68 game regular season, and play began on Tuesday in Ruidoso.

Game 1 of the league featured the Roswell Invaders, with some of the greatest uniforms of all time, going up against the Ruidoso Osos.

What is gaining a lot of attention on the homepage of the league is the statement of, “The league’s high power offenses are fueled by high altitudes and smaller ballparks.” The first 2 games of the season definitely lived up to that statement.

Game 1 featured a slug fest between Ruidoso and Roswell. Roswell scored 13 runs, but still fell up quite a bit short.

Roswell Invaders 13, Ruidoso Osos 19

Ruidoso started off strong scoring 3 runs in the first 2 innings, and they never let up after that. They went on to score 6 in the 3rd inning, 8 in the 5th inning, and 2 more in the 7th. They pounded out 18 hits and took advantage of the Invaders 5 errors.

The Roswell Invaders’ first baseman Matt Palko (2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs) hit the first home run in Pecos League history leading off the 2nd inning. Jake Burns (1-for-5, 4 RBI) and Brian Ramirez (3-for-4, 2 RBI, 3 runs) also went deep for Roswell.

Ruidoso also did their share of hitting. Shortstop Chris Davis (1-for-4, 3 RBI, 2 runs) and catcher Kip Masadua (2-for-4, 1 run, 3 RBI) both went deep for the Osos. Lead off hitter and center fielder Drew Paterson led the way going 4-for-6 with 4 runs scored.

Both starting pitchers struggled. Nick Shoup gave up 14 runs on 11 hits and 4 walks while striking out 4 over 4 innings for the Roswell Invaders. The Osos starter Erick Campos also went 4 innings giving up 10 runs on 9 hits and 4 walks while striking out 4.

Game 2 played on Wednesday featured almost as much offense.

Roswell Invaders 10, Ruidoso Osos 16

You can find more information on the league and what is happening at PecosLeague.com.

The 6 teams in the league consist of the following:
Roswell Invaders
Ruidoso Osos
White Sands Pupfish
Las Cruces Vaqueros
Alpine Cowboys
Carlsbad Bats

A few photos from opening day between Roswell and Ruidoso:

Photos Courtesy PecosLeague.com
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USA: North American League Announces Schedule


The 2011 North American League schedule has been announced. The NAL will begin play on May 25th. Each of the league’s 10 teams will play a 96 game schedule, with the regular season ending on September 5. Featured on the schedule is a Prospects Game on July 19th, where the top young players from each team will compete. The Prospects Game will give fans a chance to see the most exciting young players from each North American League team in one place.

The Golden Baseball League, the Northern League, and the United League have joined forces for the 2011 season to form the North American League! The NAL will be made up of 12 teams in two divisions with teams in Canada, Mexico, Texas, up and down the West Coast, and as far east as Illinois, making the North American League the largest independent baseball league in terms of geographical area. The Golden Baseball League is very excited to be a part of the new North American League!

Courtesy NorthAmericanLeague.com

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Can-Am League: Quebec Claims Title


Quebec 6, Pittsfield 1 (Quebec wins the championship, 3-1)

The Quebec Capitales scored two runs in the first inning and three more in the third to take a 5-0 lead and would cruise from there to a 6-1 victory and win their second consecutive Can-Am League championship. RF Sebastien Boucherr (Pictured) was the star for Quebec tonight as he went 3-for-5 at the plate with a double, two runs scored, two home runs and five RBIs. Capitales SS Ivan Naccarata also chipped in with three hits, scored two runs and drove in one. Quebec starting pitcher Michel Simard notched his second win of the postseason going seven innings allowing only an earned run on three hits with five strikeouts.

Source: CanAmLeague.com

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Can-Am League: Quebec Takes 2-1 Series Lead


Quebec 1, Pittsfield 0 (Quebec leads series, 2-1)

SS Ivan Naccarata’s (Pictured) triple in the bottom of the eighth inning plated CF Goefrey Tomlinson from second base to score the game’s only run as the Quebec Capitales defeated the Pittsfield Colonials 1-0. This game featured a pitcher’s duel between Pittsfield’s Kyle Zaleski and Quebec’s Karl Gelinas. Zaleski tossed eight strong innings allowing the game’s only run on five hits with five strikeouts. Gelinas went the distance giving up only five hits while fanning 12 Pittsfield batters. With the win, the Capitales take a 2-1 series lead and can wrap up the Can-Am League title tomorrow night in game four. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 PM with the Colonials sending Patrick Moran to the mound while Quebec is countering with Michel Simard.

Source: CanAmLeague.com

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American Association: Haymarket Park Named Best Playing Field


HAYMARKET PARK NAMED BEST PLAYING FIELD

LINCOLN, NE – The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball announced on Monday that Haymarket Park, the home of the Lincoln Saltdogs, is the 2010 recipient of the league’s “Best Playing Field” award. The honor, which is voted on by the league’s managers and media representatives, encompasses all aspects of the ballpark. Haymarket Park has earned the award in each of its ten years in existence, including each of the American Association’s first five seasons.

“From the day Haymarket Park opened in 2001, it’s been one of the best facilities in all of minor league baseball,” said Saltdogs general manager Tim Utrup, “and we continue striving to keep it that way. To receive this award for the tenth consecutive season is a testament not only to the quality of this ballpark, but also the work that goes into keeping this facility in top condition day in and day out. We’re also proud of the fact that this award is voted on by the field managers and media reps, since those are the people that make their living at ballparks all season long. I want to congratulate Josh Klute, Dave Aschwege and their staffs for the job they’ve done this year in maintaining the entire facility. They’re part of the tradition that makes Haymarket Park one of the best places for baseball in the country.”

Klute is in his fifth year as the Athletic Turf Manager at Haymarket Park; he was assisted in 2010 by J.J. Borecky and Jennifer Roeber. Aschwege is in his second year as the Director of Stadium Operations; he was assisted this season by Brett Myers.

Source: AmericanAssociationBaseball.com

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