CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – With the 2015 season now underway, the Saugerties Stallions start their inaugural campaign in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) playing six games in as many days. As the excitement has hit the town of Saugerties, fans, coaches, and players alike are ready for an exciting summer of baseball.
Beginning the season as one of two new teams in the PGCBL, the other being the Victor RailRiders, the Saugerties Stallions are led by owner Marty Radford and General Manager Justin Whittaker. With the goal in mind of putting a quality team on the field in year one, Whittaker believes the Stallions have done just that.
“I trust that our team and staff are prepared to compete at a high level in a league that is full of top collegiate talent,” said Whittaker in a recent phone interview with Perfect Game. “This is a huge baseball town. With baseball fans of all ages, we look forward to adding onto the town’s baseball legacy and bringing in big crowds as the summer moves into full swing.”
Leading the Stallions into the ultra-competitive PGCBL will be head coach Matt Righter. Righter, currently the head coach at The State University of New York at New Paltz, has in just two years at the helm of the program coached three different All-State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) selections.
Prior to becoming the head man at The State University of New York at New Paltz, Righter played professional baseball for the Detroit Tigers, making his way to their triple A affiliate before retiring. During his playing days, Righter also became an assistant coach at his Alma Mater, Johns Hopkins University, until his departure for New York at New Paltz in 2013.
With a solid front office staff, and a head coach that has great experience playing and coaching the collegiate game, the Stallions look to be headed in the right direction as the season opens up.
On the field, the Stallions also have talented college products ready to perform. With a 6-2 record at Wayne State this past season, Honorable mention all GLIAC pitcher Jared Tobey will be one guy the Stallions look towards on the mound this summer. As Wayne State's top pitcher in 2015, Tobey looked strong in his first year at the college level, and is now hoping to carry his performance over to the PGCBL.
Dylan Sprague (Photo: Larry Levanti Photography / FDU Athletics
While pitching is an obvious necessity needed to win at the collegiate level, hitting is another. With a .298 batting average coinciding with a .393 OBP during the 2015 college baseball season, Farleigh Dickinson’s Dylan Sprague will bring much needed help at the dish. With this marking the first season in the league for the Stallions, run support will be at a premium.
Another 2015 collegiate baseball award winner is Ramapo College product Joey Venturino. Venturino, a junior who batted a boisterous .410 for the Roadrunners this season, also led the New Jersey Collegiate Conference with 80 hits and 48 runs scored. The all-conference honoree was a Division II second team selection who will look to shed some light on the Stallion’s offense while bringing collegiate experience into the dugout as well.
Although the three players mentioned above will play large roles for Saugerties this summer, the team will need to acquire depth within its roster if they want to have a successful coming out party. With the three-time defending champion Amsterdam Mohawks in the same division, Saugerties will have to morph quickly to keep pace with the title holders.
With the Stallions now settling into their new home in Saugerties, educating the fans may be the main focus for the team’s front office as the season begins. With college baseball talent now calling Saugerties home, nothing can trump great fan support which can boost the energy around a ball club. With the city adding a new press box, locker rooms and an outfield fence alongside new lights to the stadium, Saugerties looks to be a great home for summer baseball.
“The City of Saugerties made a lot of great improvements to the field in the offseason,” Whittaker said. “It shows the dedication this town has to baseball.”
After all is said and done, the town of Saugerties and the players/coaches that will call it home this summer will have one thing in common; their love for the game of baseball. With the season now underway, Whittaker hopes the club makes its inaugural season one to remember.
“We hope our guys go out there to compete and have fun,” Whittaker said. “Joining a competitive league means you have to be ready to play at a high level, and I’m confident our team will do so.”