Photo courtesy Albany Times-Union (2010)
There are changes in store for the Albany Dutchmen at the beginning of their third season. This summer will mark the inaugural season of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, founded earlier this year when the Dutchmen and six other teams from the NYCBL (Amsterdam, Cooperstown, Elmira, Glens Falls, Mohawk Valley, and Watertown) teamed up with the powerful, national scouting service. With the addition of one new franchise (Newark) the new alliance will bring a more competitive brand of baseball to upstate New York.
Hoping to expand their already substantial influence into the world of collegiate baseball, Perfect Game USA shared its vast resources of talent evaluations and scouting reports with the eight members of the new league. With access to this new cache of information, the league stands to see a dramatic rise in competition level. The Dutchmen alone have signed eight players that were named to All-State teams during their respective High School careers and two more that have been named to All-American teams during their time in college.
But it’s not only the improved talent that will be new for the Dutchmen this season. The new look organization will also be unveiling a new home field. Earlier in the year, the team reached an agreement with The College of Saint Rose and the City of Albany to call Bob Bellizzi Field at the Christian Plumeri Sports Complex home. The new location sits right at the foot of I-787, making it an easy destination for fans during the summer months. It also gives Albany the newest home field in the entire league and has led to an increase in family-friendly promotions involving local Little Leagues and other members of the Albany community.
“At the end of the day, our organization is very much a community organization. These players come in for a few months, live with local families, participate in community service events and truly become part of the local culture,” said Dutchmen owner and President Paul Samulski. “We’re trying to create an environment that not only benefits the careers of these young men, but also provides the Albany area with a great source of family-friendly, summer entertainment.”
In keeping true to their community-driven approach, the Dutchmen will again feature a number of homegrown stars on their roster. Returning for a second straight season are Siena College pitchers Justin Brantley (Hudson, NY/Siena College) and CJ Sohl (Guilderland HS/Siena College) and former All-Area pitcher and current star at Hudson Valley Community College, Mike Hughes (Albany HS). They will be joined by last years New York State Player of the Year, Will Remillard (Cohoes, NY/Temple University), former South Troy Dodgers star Steve Anderson (Guilderland HS/Georgetown University) and University of Albany pitcher Austin Chase (East Greenbush, NY).
The local faces will be joined by teammates from all over the country and, for the first time, the Dutchmen will feature players from junior colleges as well as four-year NCAA universities. Three of the junior college stars are pitchers who will make the trek from powerhouse programs across the country to play in Albany. Cameron Brewer of North Central Texas College will be joined by Arizona-native, Preston Hill of Chandler Gilbert CC in Chandler, AZ and Chase Tokunaga, a Hawaii native who will be coming to the Dutchmen from Feather River Community College in Quincy, CA.
Completing the staff will be second-year Dutchmen, Tanner Barron of Trinity University (TX), side-armer Matt Novak of Northeastern University, closer Tim Haley of Quincy University, power lefty Steven Poche of Southeastern Louisiana, talented freshmen Bret Gallihugh of East Tennessee State and J.C. Porter of Fordham University.
“It’s a very deep and talented pitching staff,” explained General Manager, Jason Brinkman. “We’ve got a lot of big, powerful arms that have experienced a great deal of success in their college careers. We’re going to be tough to score runs on.”
But don’t think that the Dutchmen are going to be one-trick ponies. Led by Anderson (Georgetown University) and Remillard (Temple University), the Dutchmen figure to be equally as tough with the bats.
“We’re definitely going to hit,” predicted Head Coach, Nick Davey. “We’ve got a fast, contact-heavy lineup that is going to constantly put pressure on opposing defenses. We’re going to be fun to watch. There is some real talent in our lineup.”
The outfield alone will feature former Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American, Andrew Deeds of Morehead State, projected 2011 draft pick Ryan Van Amburg of Pepperdine University, Georgetown starter Paul Bello, and two-time Arizona All-State selection, Matt Wehrli of Yavapai College.
Wherli is joined on the roster by fellow Junior College standouts, Ryan Cox, a utility infielder and All-District honoree from Texarcana College and Ryan Welke, a three-time All-State catcher from Florida, currently playing at Northwest Florida State Community College.
Rounding out the potent lineup will be talented shortstops Brandon Trinkwon of UC-Santa Barbara, Anthony Turgeon of Central Connecticut State, division two All-Conference second baseman Nikko Echevarria of Nova Southeastern and former All-State honorees, first baseman Garren Palmer of Georgia Southern, third baseman Taylor Drake of McNeese State and catcher Dain McNabb of Middle Tennessee State.
The new look Dutchmen will unveil themselves to the community for the first time on Friday June 10th for their home opener at 7 PM at Bellizzi Field against Mohawk Valley. In an effort to give back to the community, the team is offering FREE tickets to the first 100 people that follow them on Twitter @DutchmenPGCBL. So don’t hesitate.
For all Dutchmen information visit www.dutchmenbaseball.com