“All the Fun of Minor League Baseball”
This year’s team will features four familiar faces for DiamondDawgs fans. Right-handed pitcher Dustin Stanton from the University of Southern Maine, infielder Tyler Townsend from the University of Kentucky, Northwestern Oklahoma State University shortstop Michael Ciombor and infielder David Soltis from Bryant University all return for another stint with the DiamondDawgs.
Fans at Veteran’s Memorial Field may also notice some other familiar faces among the team this year as the DiamondDawg’s feature a mix of local talent. Mohawk Valley Community College teammates Mike Fasolo and Zach Ciccotti have both signed on to play with the DiamondDawgs this summer. Fasolo, a former Whitesboro High School standout and Ciccotti of Rome Free Academy have both signed commitments to continue their collegiate baseball careers following the DiamondDawgs season this summer. Fasolo is headed to Lee University in Tennessee where he joins a team that was ranked number two in its 2011 pre-season poll. Meanwhile, for the 2012 season Ciccotti will suit up for Division II Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL.
The Herkimer Generals will also be well represented at this summer when teammates Wille Gabay and Hassan Evans join the DiamondDawgs. Gabay, a Mahopac, NY native is a 6’1 180 lb right-hander pitcher who also plays the outfield similar to Evans at 6’3 193 lbs from Brooklyn, NY who is also a righty and plays both positions.
Further down the Thruway, three University of Albany teammates are set to join the DiamondDawgs in 2011 in right-handed pitchers Brian Gauthier and Chas Griffiths. They will be joined by left-handed hitter DJ Hoagabon who brings versatility to the team having played catcher, infield and outfield.
The remainder of the DiamondDawgs roster is stacked with a barrage of solid arms and bats from all over the country and many from some of the nations top Division I schools including the University of Kentucky, University of Washington, University of North Dakota, Auburn University and the University of Cincinnati to name a few. “Offensively we are going to be extremely fast. We will have 4-5 guys that have 6.7 speed or better, and with the size of our ball park down the lines, I foresee a lot of doubles and triples” said Heiser.
The team’s strength this year should clearly be its pitching as it features a good mix of both right and left-handed pitchers that will give the team the needed bullpen depth that Heiser feels the team lacked last year.
“The old saying in baseball is good pitching beats good hitting any day, and with the pitching staff we have put together we are going to have a chance to win every night. We have some very good arms coming to the Mohawk Valley who have the potential to have very long careers in professional baseball.” Some of those arms include left-handed hurler Brian King from Paradise Valley Community College as well as right-hander Mike Bradstreet from the University of Rhode Island both who come highly touted by their college coaches says Heiser.
Heiser expects that the added pitching depth will help solidify both the starting rotation and bullpen and will equate to wins and saves. “If our starters can give us 5 to 6 innings our bullpen will be able to hold on to the lead or keep us in the game so we can come back. Last season our bullpen was very much depleted and quite frankly cost us quite a few games early in the season but with this group’s depth and flexibility we will be able to come at the opposing team with a variety of different arms.”
The DiamondDawgs quest for its first Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Championship kicks off at Thursday June 9th at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Little Falls at 7:05 PM against the Glens Falls Golden Eagles. It will be the first “Thirsty Thursday” of the season with drink specials Sponsored by the Happen Inn Sports Bar and Restaurant. Among the evening festivities, the team will raffle off a New York Mets Dream Night at Citi Field package worth $1,200 to a lucky winner. The winner will be the guest of NY Mets Ron Darling on August 29 as the Mets take on the Florida Marlins. The package includes 4 Premium Field Level Tickets to the Game, on field access to watch the Mets batting practice, pre-game photos in the Mets dugout and a chance to visit the SNY broadcast booth before the game to meet Mets legend Keith Hernandez. Raffle tickets are on-sale now for $5.00 and can be obtained by emailing Travis@MyDiamondDawgs.com