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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Saratoga Phillies alums enjoying MLB Success

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, March 26, 2010

Saratoga Phillies alums enjoying MLB Success

Michael Fiers (Saratoga ’07-’08), making his Major League Baseball spring training debut for the Milwaukee Brewers, struck out the side in order on Monday afternoon (Mar. 15) in a game with the Cleveland Indians. Fiers began spring training in Milwaukee’s minor league camp however he was added to the Brewers spring training roster prior to the game with Cleveland.

The 2007 New York Collegiate Baseball League Pitcher of the Year entered the contest for Milwaukee in the top of the eighth inning, wearing number 97 with no name plate on the back of his jersey. Fiers retired three-straight Cleveland hitters on strikes. He was the only Milwaukee pitcher in the game to not allow a base runner.

The Pompano Beach, Fla., native was a 22nd round pick (676th overall) of the Brewers in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft after a standout senior year at Nova Southeastern University. He led NCAA Division II with an NSU school record 145 strikeouts and he was a third-team All-American.

Fiers began his professional career last June with Helena of the Pioneer League. By the beginning of September the former Saratoga Phillie was pitching for Class A-Advanced Brevard County of the Florida State League. Through three levels, Fiers went 2-0 with 11 saves and a 1.33 ERA. He struck out 59 and walked only five in 40.2 innings.

The current Brewer was a two-time all star in the New York Collegiate Baseball League with the Saratoga Phillies. Fiers twice led the 14-team summer circuit in strikeouts with 68 in 2007 and 76 in 2008. He combined to win seven games over two seasons and posted a 5-1 record with a 1.99 ERA in his Pitcher of the Year campaign.

One inning after Mike Fiers made his Brew Crew debut, Donnie Webb (Saratoga ’06-’07) rapped a pinch-hit single for Cleveland off of Milwaukee relief John Halama. Webb would eventually come around to score as the Tribe rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the ninth. Webb, a 10th round draft pick of the Indians in 2008, was assigned to the Major League team on Mar. 13 after starting the spring in the Tribe’s minor league camp. Webb debuted for the Indians that same day and pinch hit in a game with the Texas Rangers. The next afternoon, Webb collected a pinch-hit single against San Diego.

The Stillwater, Okla., began his professional career in 2008 with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the New York-Penn League. After spending most of the 2009 campaign with Class-A Lake County of the South Atlantic League, Webb was a called up to Triple-A Columbus. He hit .367 and drove in seven runs for the Clippers in just six games.

Like Fiers, Webb was a two-year member of the Saratoga Phillies. The former Oklahoma State outfielder was selected first team All-NYCBL in 2007 and he played in two NYCBL All-Star Games. Webb was a starting outfielder for the 2006 NYCBL champion Phillies, batting .278 with 19 RBI in 44 games. During his second season in Saratoga, Webb hit .329, drove in 22 runs and stole 15 bases.

Last year, Casper Wells (Saratoga ’05) become the first former member of the Saratoga Phillies to reach Major League Baseball when he was added to the 40-man roster of the Detroit Tigers. Wells is currently taking part in his second Major League Spring Training. Wells is at Detroit Tigers camp for the second year in a row. After a breakout 2008, injuries hindered Wells in 2009 though he put together solid numbers in the Arizona Fall League this past October. The Schenectady, N.Y., native spent all of last season with the Double-A Erie Seawolves after rising from Low Single-A to Double-A in 2008.

Darin Mastroianni (Saratoga ’06) was placed on Toronto’s roster for a Thursday afternoon date with Baltimore. Mastroianni replaced Vernon Wells in center field and was retired in his only plate appearance. The Blue Jays selected the Mount Kisco, N.Y., native in the 16th round of the 2007 draft out of the University of Southern Indiana. Mastroianni split the 2009 season between Hi-A Dunedin of the Florida State League and Double-A New Hampshire of the Eastern League. He totaled 70 stolen bases between two levels and drove in 51 runs to earn an invitation to the prestigious Arizona Fall League. Mastroianni was chosen first team All-NYCBL in 2006 after leading the Saratoga Phillies to the league championship. He batted a team-high .348, drove in 25 runs, stole 17 bases and led the team with eight triples.

-- Courtesy Keith Rogers, co-owner Oneonta Outlaws (Saratoga Phillies)

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