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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: The best baseball you haven't seen...yet!

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The best baseball you haven't seen...yet!

Time is running out for catching some of the best baseball in the Capital Region.

The Saratoga Phillies collegiate baseball team defends it's New York Collegiate Baseball League title 7:30 p.m. tonight in second round playoff action at East Side Rec against Eastern Division rival Glens Falls.

For those of you that haven't taken in a Phillies contest yet, here's a quick history lesson: The NYCBL was founded in 1978 and is a developmental league for professional baseball. All of the players have not yet been drafted by the major leagues and are spending their summers competing in the wood bat league, honing their skills and raising their personal draft stock.

To date, 17 former NYCBL players have played in the majors with 26 NYCBL players drafted in June of this year alone, including two former Phillies players.

Saratoga finished in second-place in the East Division with a 25-14 record and swept the Watertown Wizards in its opening best-of-three series, 15-2, and 5-0.

The Spa City came out in droves last week when the Phillies hosted the Russian Olympic team and saw Saratoga win convincingly, 10-4. The packed grandstands at East Side Rec thrilled players from both countries.

For each and every Little League, Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth or modified, junior varsity and varsity baseball player, Friday night is a can't miss clinic on how to make it to the major leagues as well as how high-level collegiate baseball is played.

Each one of the Saratoga Phillies was an all-star and superstar during their youth baseball days along with being all-district and all-state in their hometowns. Now they are shining on a bigger stage and you can see it all for free!

At the plate, Bryan Rose (University of Kentucky) is batting .307 with 35 hits and 22 RBi. Siena captain Jake Willis is batting a solid .270 with a .410 slugging percentage and owned a 15-game hitting streak to start the year.

The Phillies aren't shy, so get a photo with Donnie Webb (Oklahoma State) before the game starts, his uniform won't be clean for long. Donnie is an instant highlight reel, running down balls in left field, stealing bases and showing young fans what hustle is in a baseball player.

From the mound, right-hander Mark Lamm (Vanderbilt) leads the team with a 1.05 ERA and 32 strikeouts. Lefty Pete Vernon (William and Mary) is the perfect example of a "crafty" pitcher, sporting a 4-1 record this season as a late addition to the Phillies.

When it comes to closing, just wait for lefty Cory Kuzmik (NJIT), right-hander Matt Willis (Oklahoma State) and the ultimate reliever Josh Simmons to shut the door on the opposition.

Phillies co-owners Keith Rogers and Dan Scaring met during their time playing in a col-legiate baseball league and became fast friends. Now, years later, their passion for the game continued and their careers have allowed them to promote the game in Saratoga. They continue to keep the Saratoga Phillies experience as close to the historic Cape Cod Baseball League as possible.

You cannot go wrong, your pocketbook and your young baseball fan will thank you.

See you at the game!



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