As 2015 marks the fifth season of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL), the Adirondack Trail Blazers are looking to make their 2015 campaign one to remember.
Joining the PGCBL in 2013, The Trail Blazers have called Booneville, N.Y., home since day one. Being the smallest market in the league, Adirondack has rallied behind a small-knit community that is home to many loyal fans and host families.
“Our fans and host families take great care of our guys,” General Manager Ray DiBrango said. “It shows the dedication and care people have here in Booneville.”
With great dedication from around the area, the Trail Blazers have also been fortunate to have long-term commitment internally. With seven returning players this year, along with the return of Head Coach Matt Leahy, veteran status will be a huge part of the Trail Blazers success in 2015.
With collegiate and professional coaching experience in his background, Leahy has demonstrated the success it takes to manage a team over the summer months. As this season roles on, his leadership with play a crucial role in the clubs long-term success.
As leadership plays a huge role for all the teams in the PGCBL, DiBrango believes the return of his coach and players alike is, “a testament to how things are ran within the organization.”
With quality work moving its way through the Adirondack organization from the past to the present, the Trail Blazers have been a staple in collegiate summer baseball dating back to before they entered the PGCBL.
While the team has been a part of several different New York leagues throughout their past, they seems to have found a permanent home in the PGCBL.
“The PGCBL is a class organization,” DiBrango said. “With tremendous growth and great teams throughout, we feel the PGCBL is moving in the right direction as a top league in collegiate summer baseball.”
As the PGCBL has become more competitive and high-powered over the years, the Trail Blazers know making a push for their first playoff berth won’t be easy. With seven returners from a year ago, the team is be led by infielder Chris Kwitzer, who has been outstanding from the plate, batting .413, and veteran Brad Jones who has been the signal caller behind the dish while batting .313 over the course of the summer thus far.
While veteran leadership has shown up throughout the season, 2014 Trail Blazer and collegiate Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Mike Carter has not.
Sidelined with a hamstring injury, Carter was recently released by the team after playing in only one game this year. With a .430 batting average last season, Carter’s loss has turned into a big blow for a team that could use a boost in the middle of its lineup.
While Carter’s absence may be noticeable, it also gives Adirondack’s depth the chance to steal the spotlight. While most teams in the PGCBL only return one or two players from past seasons, the Trail Blazers have leverage in returning seven players that should help give the team some breathing room as injuries and long weeks start to take a toll on teams throughout the PGCBL.
“We have a group of talented guys who have been here before and know how to win,” outfielder Chris Kwitzer said. “We have a next guy up mentality.”
With an unchallenged winning mentality from the clubs core, Adirondack seems poised to battle their way back towards the top of the PGCBL’s West Division.
With an 8-9 record, which places the Trail Blazers two and a half games back of division leader Elmira, Adirondack knows making a move in the division is something that needs to happen sooner rather than later.
With a tight race taking place in late June, the team is optimistic that anything can happen as long as they continue to positive and play the way they know how.
“You have to stay in a positive mindset.” Head Coach Matt Leahy said. “Keeping the same intensity and winning the day is what proves to be key in the end.”
With an uphill battle on the Trail Blazers hands, the PGCBL will test the team now more than ever as the battle for August’s playoff run begins.
As the weather continues to heat up in late June, the question will be if the Trail Blazers can do the same, looking to leave their mark in upstate New York.
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