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Spot starter spot on for Tigers

On limited pitch count, Cooper dazzles in victory

By JOE PEREZ

jperez@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 04, 2010 @ 09:17 PM

NORWICH — When Connecticut Tigers manager Howie Bushong told Patrick Cooper on Friday that he would make his first career pro start, the right-hander had no idea how badly his team would need an outstanding performance from him.

With the bullpen shorthanded from 6 2/3 innings of service the night before, Cooper — who had thrown just one inning this season — was given a 60-pitch limit and needed to make every one count.

He exceeded the Tigers’ wildest expectations.

Cooper used 63 pitches to get through five innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out four in a 6-1 win over Mahoning Valley at Dodd Stadium.

“I was just happy to get the start,” Cooper said. “I just went out there with a different approach than I did in college. I was pitching more for contact. I was on a pitch count and tried to get the most innings that I could.”

The philosophical difference in college ball asks the pitcher to make batters miss rather than play for contact. Catcher Eric Roof, who played American Legion with Cooper in their home state of Kentucky, also caught his pitcher in a summer league.

Roof, who gave his friend the game ball, didn’t manage the game to the pitch count.

“Usually I don’t like to think about it because it ruins your game plan for that day,” Roof said. “But since I played with him for a year and know him as a person, I really wanted him to get five (innings) just to get that first win.”

Cooper had some difficulties locating his fastball in the first inning, and aside from a lead-off triple in the second, made few mistakes. Usually relying upon his slider as his out pitch, Cooper instead worked his fastball all over the plate, getting first-pitch strikes. He retired the last 11 batters he faced, including the first five of those on 12 pitches.

“Cooper was the name of the game (Sunday),” Bushong said. “We were expecting three, hoping for four. … That’s just an absolutely fantastic job on his part and such a big boost for us.”

A 2009 Cape Cod League All-Star as a closer, Cooper relished the opportunity to get back to starting, something he did last season at Bradley University. The 20-year-old went 4-3 with a 3.08 ERA in eight starts as a college junior.

Cooper was a two-time All-State selection in high school and was drafted by Arizona in the 34th round of the 2009 draft. He was a 14th-round pick last month by Detroit.

Patrick Lawson came in and pitched three scoreless innings and Kevan Hess closed the game in the ninth.

Connecticut (10-7) scored a run in the first on Matt Perry’s sacrifice fly. After the Scrappers (8-9) tied the game in the top of the second, the Tigers scored three unearned runs off of two errors.

Chao-Ting Tang walked and Ryan Soares’ double in the left-field corner was misplayed, allowing Tang to score. Ryan Enos (3-for-5, two runs) singled, and then with two out, Josh Ashenbrenner’s grounder was thrown away, allowing two runs to score.

Perry hit a solo home run, his second, in the fourth. Connecticut added another run in the eighth.

Tonight’s starters are Mahoning Valley right-hander Alex Kaminsky (2-1. 1.80) against Connecticut’s Rayni Guichardo (1-0, 7.50). Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Spot starter spot on for Tigers - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Unlikely defensive mistakes undo Tigers

By JOE PEREZ

jperez@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 05, 2010 @ 11:05 PM

NORWICH — Defense has been a source of pride for Connecticut through its first 18 games of the season. The numbers back it up. The Tigers entered Monday night’s affair with Mahoning Valley with the third fewest errors by an infield and were tied for third fewest unearned runs scored.

But sometimes, as manager Howie Bushong said following the 8-3 loss to the Scrappers in front 1,104 fans at Dodd Stadium, “the baseball gods go against you.”

An error, a wild pitch and a nasty hop from a ground ball in one inning contributed to the loss.

“It was the first time this year that our defense has hurt us,” Bushing said.

Starter Rayni Guichardo fell victim to a lack of location and some bad luck in the fourth inning.

Wyatt Toregas, who was the back-up catcher for Double-A Akron last season, drilled a single to left to open the frame. Two batters later, a wild pitch to Giovhanny Urshela got past catcher Julio Rodriguez, advancing Toregas.

Then with one out, Urshela reached on Brett Anderson’s error at short. Guichardo bounced back to get a strikeout for the second out. But the next batter, Carlos Moncrief, hit a chopper to first that took a vicious hop over a leaping James Robbins at first for a double that scored two runs.

“It was just one of those high choppers,” Robbins said. “I tried to take a drop step on it, get behind the ball (and) get that long hop. I don’t know what happened; it hit something, took a bad bounce.”

The damage could have been worse. After Guichardo loaded the bases on a single lined off his foot and a walk, he induced a full-count grounder to Robbins to end the inning.

Guichardo didn’t get a chance to redeem himself, leaving the game following the inning.

Tyler White replaced him and gave up a two-run homer to Chase Burnette in the fifth. Later that inning, Moncrief drove in Kevin Fontanez, who singled and stole second, with a single to left. Brian Heere also connected for a two-run single, which landed in front of P.J. Polk in center field. It was enough to send White to the showers after eight batters.

“He was in hitter’s counts,” Bushing said of White. “He was 2-1, 3-2, 1-0, seemed like on every hitter. He’s in hitter’s counts, so he’s going to get hit. That’s the only thing we want him to learn from (is) you’re going to get hit sometimes. He’s going back out there as soon as he’s ready to go; he’s got a good arm.”

Connecticut mounted a small rally in the sixth, sparked by Londell Taylor’s leadoff triple to center. P.J. Polk followed with a double to left, but Kevin Rucker overthrew the relay, allowing the speedy Polk to take third. Alexander Nunez followed with an RBI single to left, cutting the deficit to 7-2.

Mahoning Valley scored once more in the eighth and Connecticut matched that run in the ninth.

Josh Ashenbrenner led off with an infield single and scored on Julio Rodriguez’s double to the left-center gap.

All three outs recorded in the ninth by the Tigers came on strikeouts by left-handed batters against lefty pitcher Nick Kirk.

Tiger tracks

Guichardo, according to Bushong, will be fine after taking the liner off of is foot. Reliever Antonio Cruz was also banged up after taking a ball to his left elbow. He left the game in the eighth and is listed as day-to-day. … Owen Dew (1-0, 0.00) takes the mound for Mahoning Valley against Josue Carreno (1-2, 4.05) in the series finale at 7:05 p.m., tonight

Unlikely defensive mistakes undo Tigers - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tigers win in walkoff fashion

By MARC ALLARD

mallard@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 06, 2010 @ 11:34 PM

NORWICH — Fans, however few there may be on a sultry July night, are learning that it might be a good idea to stay until the end of the game at Dodd Stadium this season.

The never-say-die Connecticut Tigers put together another late-inning rally and left with some good vibes as they took two out of three from Mahoning Valley with a 5-4, 10-inning win before 907 fans on Tuesday night.

“For some reason, we wait until late, but we always battle and find a way to get it done,” said ninth batter Ryan Soares who started the game-winning rally.

Soares singled to right field and moved to second one out later when Alexander Nunez’s pop fly to no man’s land behind second base fell in for a single. A groundout moved the runners up for catcher Julio Rodriguez, who slapped a Clayton Ehlert (0-1) delivery under the glove of shortstop Tyler Cannon for the game-winning single.

“We needed that,” Connecticut manager Howard Bushong said. “It was a home game, home series and we need to win home series, that’s what championship teams have to do. You won’t always win every game but at home, you can’t afford to lose a series.”

Connecticut trailed, 4-2, going into the bottom of the eighth inning but closed within one when Soares took the second pitch of the inning from reliever Gregorio Rosario and curled it around the left field foul pole for his first professional home run and first RBI of his career.

The Tigers (11-8) played off the momentum generated by the ninth batter and brought home the tying run. P.J. Polk singled to center and stole second base. Alexander Nunez, who came in hitting .164, got his third hit of the game when his bunt was fielded by Rosario, but the pitcher looked toward third initially where Polk was already sliding into the bag.

By the time Rosario spun and looked at first base, Nunez had also reached safely. Matt Perry drove in the tying run when his bouncer up the middle was fielded by Scrappers second baseman Dan DeGeorge, who threw over to shortstop Tyler Cannon for the force out. Nunez did a nice job of taking out Cannon and preventing the throw to first for a possible double play while Polk scored the tying run.

The Tigers could have used a strong starting performance from Josue Carreno as their bullpen has been taxed over the past couple of games, Rayni Guichardo threw only four innings on Monday and Patrick Cooper went five innings the day before. Carreno, who came in with a 1-2 record and a 4.05 earned run average, barely made it through his five innings and gave up all four Mahoning Valley runs.

Two came in the third inning on a trio of doubles. Diego Seastrunk led the two-bagger parade with a line drive to left field, after he was sacrificed to third, Brian Heere doubled to left for the first Scrappers run. Cannon brought home Heere with a double of his own to give Mahoning Valley the 2-1 lead.

Connecticut scored its first run in the second inning on James Robbins’ first triple of the season and a sacrifice fly by Eric Roof, his fifth RBI of the season.

The defense let down Carreno in the fourth after a Giovhanny Urshela single was followed by an infield error. Seastrunk brought home Urshela with a sacrifice fly and Andrew Kinney scored on a second infield error, but the Scrappers (9-10) left the bases loaded.

Connecticut scored a run of its own in the bottom of the inning on a Nunez triple and a groundout by Perry.

The Tigers enjoy one of their four off days this season today before playing back-to-back three-game series at Batavia and Williamsport. The Tigers return home on Wednesday, July 14 against the State College Spikes.

Tigers win in walkoff fashion - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tigers Notebook: Torrealba making case for promotion from Connecticut bullpen

By MARC ALLARD

mallard@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 07, 2010 @ 07:32 PM

NORWICH — Connecticut manager Howard Bushong leaned back in his chair Tuesday, heaping praise on the Tigers’ bullpen after the team’s 10-inning, come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

“The key to this thing was (Michael) Torrealba,” Bushong said. “He absolutely shut things down and gave us a shot.”

The right-hander came on in the sixth inning with the Tigers trailing, 4-2, and allowed just one hit, a single by Giovhanny Urshela. Outside of that, he came within a groundball of striking out the side in all three innings he worked, finishing with eight strikeouts.

The only question now is, how long will Torrealba be pitching at Dodd Stadium?

“I think he’s ready to go,” Connecticut pitching coach Jorge Cordova said.

Torrealba, a Venezuela native, signed as a free agent with the Tigers on July 4, 2006 and spent his first two years in the Venezuelan Rookie League. He made the jump to Oneonta last year and ranked third on the team in appearances with 23 while sporting a 2-1 record and a 2.78 ERA. He struck out 44 batters in 35 innings.

The 20-year-old’s numbers are even better this year. His Tuesday night performance lowered his ERA to 1.23 and in 14 2/3 innings, and he already has 19 strikeouts.

“I think he’s ready to go to High-A (Lakeland, Fla.) — not Middle-A (Western Michigan), High-A,” Cordova said. “He’s throwing strikes, he’s got an average major league curve ball, which is why he got so many strikeouts (Tuesday). But we have to wait for the organization’s decision.”

Cordova added: “It will definitely be sad for the Connecticut Tigers (when Torrealba leaves), but it’s good for me and the organization because we’re developing guys. And when he leaves, that means it’s like four guys we’ve sent out already.”

Nunez coming alive

The Tigers have shown patience with second baseman Alexander Nunez despite his struggles at the plate.

Nunez was batting just .164 with only 11 hits in his first 67 trips. Still, he was in the lineup Tuesday, batting in his normal second slot — and Bushong’s continued confidence in him paid dividends.

The 20-year-old from the Dominican Republic went 4-for-5, scoring once and contributing to both the tying and winning rallies.

“I don’t have time to wait, so I feel very good,” Nunez said of his breakout performance against Mahoning Valley.

In addition to the four hits, Nunez also made a nice diving stab of a groundball headed to right field off the bat of Diego Seastrunk and threw him out. He also broke up a double play in the eighth inning with a clean slide.

“He’s working off some things and he’s putting it into practice,” Bushong said. “Really and truly, he put it into practice (Monday) night, too. He’s starting to hit the ball on the ground and battling a little bit more. He did a great job (Tuesday). The error he made in the fourth inning when we made two of them kind of hurt, but he played well. ... The slide to take the player out was outstanding.”

Day off

The Tigers play 76 games in 80 days, so days off just don’t come very often. So it was a rare treat when the Tigers didn’t have to suit up Wednesday.

“We need it,” Bushong said. “It’s coming at the right time for us.”

Some of them already had plans.

“I will stay with my wife and relax,” Nunez said with a large smile.

“I think we’re all looking forward to it, getting a little rest,” shortstop Ryan Soares said. “I’m going to sleep in for one — that’s a good start — and then probably hang out with the team somewhere.”

Despite the 90-plus degree heat that’s assaulted Eastern Connecticut over the past four days, the Tigers took advantage of their three-game homestand.

“I was afraid they were a little bit tired (entering Tuesday’s game) because we’ve worked them. Not overworked them, but worked them pretty good and they’re doing a lot of things while we have the opportunity,” Bushong said. “Our workouts are fantastic right now, but it has been tough because of the heat. Some of these kids aren’t used to it, especially since when we first got up here the weather was pretty good and now we have Florida-type heat. But coming home and getting the work in that we’ve had the past two days has been fantastic.”

Bushong said he was going to let the team “sleep in” prior to departing for Batavia late Wednesday afternoon to start a six-game road swing. After three games at Batavia, the team has three more in Williamsport before returning home to play the State College Spikes on Wednesday.

Happy guy

Soares was all smiles Tuesday night. That happens when you hit your first professional home run.

“It felt great,” the shortstop said of his eighth-inning shot that almost tickled the foul pole in left field. “I was just trying to put a good swing on it and get on base, but it carried out.”

Soares had played in only six of the Tigers’ first 19 games, registering three hits prior to his home run. He followed that up with a single in the bottom of the 10th inning and eventually scored the game-winning run for the Tigers.

Soares, batting from the ninth slot Tuesday, said he was just doing his job.

“We have such a potent top of the lineup that my job was just to get on base, and I was able to get a good pitch that I could handle and got a good swing on it,” he said.

Tigers Notebook: Torrealba making case for promotion from Connecticut bullpen - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Roof, Robbins lift Tigers in 10th at Batavia

By STAFF REPORTS

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 08, 2010 @ 10:47 PM

Eric Roof hit an RBI triple and James Robbins followed with a run-scoring single to lift the Connecticut Tigers over the host Muckdogs, 4-2, in 10 innings Thursday in Batavia, N.Y.

The contest was the first of a six-game road trip for Connecticut (12-8), which jumped out to leads of 1-0 and 2-1 before the Muckdogs (9-11) rallied both times.

Brennan Smith allowed one run over five innings for the Tigers. Kevin Hess picked up the win after tossing two scoreless innings.

P.J. Polk hit a first-inning solo shot, and after Batavia’s Jon Rodriguez answered with one of his own in the second, Chao-Ting Tang put Connecticut back into the lead after he doubled and scored on Alexander Nunez’s single.

The Tigers held the lead until the sixth when a passed ball and Colin Walsh’s fielder choice helped push Jon Edwards across to tie the game.

The teams meet again at 7:05 p.m. tonight. Clemente Mendoza (1-2, 8.05 ERA) will start for Connecticut opposite Batavia’s Justin Edwards (1-2, 2.16).

Roof, Robbins lift Tigers in 10th at Batavia - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tigers split two games

Norwich Bulletin

Posted Jul 10, 2010 @ 10:39 PM

The Connecticut Tigers put runs on the scoreboard early to take an 8-1 victory over host Batavia in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday. Batavia took the first game, 5-3.

After a six-hit first game, the Tigers responded with 11 in game two. Ryan Enos (2-3) hit a single to score P.J. Polk (hit by pitch) in the first inning. Enos scored two batters later off of a Matt Perry groundout to make it 2-0.

The Muckdogs responded in the bottom of the first with a run of their own. Mike O’Neill doubled and moved to third base on a Joey Bergman groundout. O’Neill scored on Nick Longmire’s groundout to make it a one-run game.

The Tigers scored a run in the third before the offense really clicked in the fourth inning.

Connecticut’s Chao-Ting Tang and Leslie Smith each singled to centerfield. Ryan Soares and P.J. Polk followed with singles to right field. Tang came around to score. Enos and Josh Ashenbrenner were issued walks by Batavia pitcher Kevin Siegrist. Smith and Soares scored and the Tigers led, 6-0.

In game one of the doubleheader, the Muckdogs grabbed the early lead. O’Neill was walked to start the game and advanced to third on a stolen base and a single. He scored the game’s first run off of a Nicholas Longmaire fielder’s choice.

James Robbins tied the game in the second inning when he scored on sac fly by Londell Taylor. But the Muchdogs went ahead again in the second after Audry Perez’s two-run home run.

The Tigers tied the game again in the third, but Batavia put the game away with two runs in the fifth inning. O’Neill singled home Adam Melker to make it 4-3, and O’Neill scored later on a fielders choice

Tigers split two games - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tigers rolled in series opener at Williamsport

By STAFF REPORTS

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 11, 2010 @ 10:04 PM

For the first eight innings of Sunday’s game against Williamsport, the Connecticut Tigers were trying to solve the riddle that was Crosscutters starter Eric Pettis.

While the Tigers struggled to the tune of four hits in that span, the Williamsport hitters opened a wide lead they didn’t relinquish.

Williamsport scored eight runs in the first eight innings and rolled over Connecticut, 8-2, in the opener of a three-game series at Williamsport, Pa.

Pettis picked up his fourth win of the season (4-0), striking out five and walking none.

Connecticut (13-10) scored two runs in the ninth inning off reliever Julian Sampson. Matt Perry’s RBI single and James Robbins’ RBI double accounted for their only runs.

Tigers starter Patrick Cooper (1-1) took the brunt of the damage, as Williamsport (12-11) was all over him early, scoring two runs in the first inning on a pair of RBI doubles.

The Crosscutters got some breathing room in the fifth when Miguel Alvarez hit a two-run home run to make it 5-0. Logan Hoch relieved Cooper in the sixth and didn’t fare much better, giving up three more runs.

The teams will continue their series at 7 p.m., tonight with Rayni Guichardo (1-1, 5.63 ERA) starting for Connecticut. Williamsport’s David Buchanan (0-0, 3.60) gets the start for the hosts

Tigers rolled in series opener at Williamsport - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tigers drop 2nd game in series to Williamsport

By Staff reports

Norwich Bulletin

Posted Jul 12, 2010 @ 11:05 PM

Williamsport used a two-run seventh inning to erase a one-run Connecticut lead and beat the Tigers, 3-2, Monday in Williamsport, Pa., for the Crosscutters’ second win in the teams’ three-game series.

With Connecticut (13-11) up, 2-1, entering the seventh inning, Domingo Santana blasted his third home run of the season, a solo shot to center field that tied the score. The next batter, Jeff Lanning, fired a triple to right field and was plated on Miguel Alverez’s single in the next at-bat to take a lead they didn’t relinquish.

Connecticut reliever Michael Torrealba took the loss to drop his record to 0-2. He was also credited with his first blown save of the season. The Tigers scored a run in the top of the third on a P.J. Polk RBI single and in the top of the fourth on an Alexander Nunez RBI single.

Garrett Claypool took the win for Williamsport (13-11). Connecticut starter Rayni Guichardo pitched 5 2/3 innings in the no decision, surrendering eight hits and an earned run while walking three and striking out two.

Local Roundup: Tigers drop 2nd game in series to Williamsport - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tigers swept by Crosscutters

By Staff reports

Norwich Bulletin

Posted Jul 13, 2010 @ 11:09 PM

The Connecticut Tigers’ early lead was not enough to hold off the Williamsport Crosscutters at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa., on Tuesday night. The Crosscutters scored a combined five runs in the third and fourth innings to win, 7-4, completing a three-game sweep.

Matt Perry and Brett Anderson each singled in the second inning for Connecticut (13-12) and advanced on an error. Matt Mansilla drove both runners home to give the Tigers a 2-0 advantage.

The Crosscutters (14-11) responded with three runs in the third. Kyrell Hudson singled and stole second base. Matt McConnell singled to bring him home then Jeff Lanning’s two-run homer put Williamsport up for good.

In the eighth inning, the Tigers loaded the bases after Alexander Nunez singled and Julio Rodriguez and Chao-Ting Tang walked, but Connecticut was only able to bring home one run.

The Tigers return home for a three-game series against the State College Spikes at 7 p.m., tonight.

Tigers swept by Crosscutters - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tigers: State College slams Connecticut at Dodd

By MARC ALLARD

mallard@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 14, 2010 @ 11:30 PM

NORWICH — Some of the numbers State College brought into their game with Connecticut at Dodd Stadium on Wednesday night were pretty impressive.

And in this case, those numbers didn’t lie.

The Spikes made their Dodd Stadium debut in a productive fashion as they pounded out 13 hits in an 11-1 win over the Tigers before 726 fans.

Matt Curry, who batted third for State College, came in with a .375 batting average, Adalberto Santos sported a .358 mark with Kelson Brown (.333) and Miguel Mendez (.313) also over the .300 mark. That was four more starters than Connecticut had who came in hitting over the .300 mark and all of the State College players saw their average rise on Wednesday night.

Santos finished with a 2-for-5 performance, Curry was 3-for-3 with three runs scored, Brown had a hit in only two official trips to the plate and Mendez had two hits in five trips.

“They worked the counts, got the deep counts, centered the ball up and put it in play all over the field, I thought they did a great job,” Connecticut manager Howard Bushong said of State College. “Sometimes you give them credit, because they swing the bat well and have some good, athletic kids over there.”

Connecticut starter Brennan Smith came in with an 0.64 ERA after allowing just one run in his first 14 innings for the Tigers. He didn’t make it out of the third inning against State College. Smith surrendered two runs in the first inning on RBI singles by Curry and Chase Lyles, had a solid second inning, but ran into even bigger trouble in the third.

Smith picked up his third strikeout of the game to open the third before he yielded consecutive singles again to Curry and Lyles and an RBI double to Pat Irvine. Brown then drove in his 15th and 16th runs of the season with a single to right field. Miguel Mendez followed with the fifth straight hit for the Spikes, a single, that chased Smith.

It was Smith’s first loss of the season and the six earned runs that he allowed helped his ERA to soar to 3.86.

“It was one of those nights for him,” Bushong said. “We thought we had the right guy out there, but he didn’t have it.”

The normally reliable bullpen wasn’t all that much better than the starter as Tyler Clark came on in relief of Smith and allowed three runs of his own in the fourth inning. Santos sent one deep into the right field corner for a stand-up triple, Curry drew a walk and Lyles ground one to Brett Anderson at short.

What appeared to be an easy double play was anything but as Anderson dropped the ball, which allowed Curry to reach safely at second and Anderson’s throw to first sailed over the head of James Robbins, which also allowed Santos to score. Irvine knocked one home and Brown drove in his third run of the night with a sacrifice fly to give State College (14-12) an eight-run lead.

The loss was the fourth in a row for Connecticut (13-13), three of them coming after it was swept in a three-game series in Williamsport.

“The road trip was kind of tough, we had a rain out and had to travel six hours (Tuesday night from Williamsport),” Connecticut shortstop Brett Anderson said. “We hit a lot of balls hard, we’re just hitting them at people. We just have to keep working, it will come together.”

Connecticut struggled again at the plate.

The Tigers, who have scored just nine runs in their last four games, produced their lone run in the third inning. P.J. Polk and Alexander Nunez produced back-to-back infield singles, Polk advanced on a flyout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Eric Roof, who drove in his ninth run of the year.

The two hits were the last ones that the Tigers were able to bunch together as State College starter Zach Von Rosenberg (1-4) and four relievers held Connecticut to six hits, only two after the third inning.

“I don’t think there’s any question (that Connecticut is in a slump),” said Bushong as his team came in hitting just .247. “I thought we would come out of it (Wednesday night) because their guy is a strike-thrower. You have a better chance to come out of a slump against a guy like that than one who is a bit wild, but we didn’t.”

Tigers: State College slams Connecticut at Dodd - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tigers: Batters need more patience at the plate

By MARC ALLARD

mallard@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 15, 2010 @ 11:29 PM

Patience is a virtue, especially at the plate.

It’s something the Connecticut Tigers have not displayed a lot of this season and it may be part of the reason why the Detroit Tigers’ Single-A affiliate went into Thursday night’s game under the .500 mark after losing four straight in the New York-Penn League.

“When things are going bad, things are going bad, and we’re going to have to turn things around,” Connecticut manager Howard Bushong said after his team continued to slide with an 11-1 loss to State College on Wednesday night.

Part of the reason for the downward spiral could be the team’s desire to get things done too quickly at the plate. Tigers hitters came into the game with just 74 bases on balls this season, third-least in the league and just ahead of Williamsport (62) and Brooklyn (72).

Brooklyn, however, leads the league in hitting (.282 as a team compared to Connecticut’s .247 average), and has scored 30 more runs than the Tigers.

“Swinging at bad pitches a lot of times is an individual thing,” Bushong said. “We’re going to have to work the count a little better, it’s something we’ve struggled with pretty much the whole year. That’s something we work on almost every day in both batting practice and the individual hitting work that we do — it may be something that comes with time.”

Tough night

Connecticut shortstop Brett Anderson is capable of making nice plays, a talent he has displayed at Dodd Stadium this season.

He also has had his share of bobbles.

Such was the case in the fourth inning Wednesday when Chase Lyles hit a ground ball up the middle that Anderson ranged to his left to reach.

All he had to do was step on the bag to force Matt Curry out, and then throw to first for what appeared to be a routine double play. Anderson, however, dropped the ball as he went to the bag and Curry slid in safely. That was error No. 1.

The second followed on its heels when Anderson picked up the ball and threw wildly to first, allowing a run to score.

It was the Bristol native’s ninth error in 22 games.

“I just have to listen to what the coaches have to say about positioning, go out there and get experience out there,” Anderson said.

Anderson had played shortstop in high school at Bristol Eastern, but played third base in the Gulf Coast League for the last two seasons.

“I just have to keep working. Errors happen,” added Anderson. “At shortstop, you get to some balls that you don’t get to at third.”

His manager isn’t discouraged.

“He came to us as a shortstop, everyone thought he was more comfortable at shortstop, and he’s had his good days,” Bushong said. “(The errors) are going to happen, he’s still a young kid.”

New face

The Tigers welcomed a new player to their roster on Wednesday.

Chris Sedon, who played with the team in Oneonta, N.Y., last year, returned to the Tigers after seeing limited action with the Western Michigan Whitecaps, Detroit’s Low-A affiliate.

“There’s always a reason you come back here. He’s got some work to do,” Bushong said, “but at the same time, he will get some opportunities here and some playing time. We’re going to see what he can do, I haven’t seen him since extended spring (training), so it has been a while. We will evaluate him as we go.”

Sedon saw limited action at Western Michigan. The second baseman had just 76 at-bats in 24 games and was hitting at a .250 clip with four extra-base hits. Three of those were homers.

Road trip

The Tigers are inviting fans to join them when they play Tri-City on July 24 at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y., as part of the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend ceremonies.

A fan bus will leave Dodd Stadium at 8 a.m., and will arrive in Cooperstown at 11:30 a.m. The game will take place at 1 p.m.

The cost for fans is $50 per person, $40 for those under the age of 17, and includes admission to the game and admission to the Hall of Fame as well as a bag lunch from Panera Bread and round-trip transportation. The bus will leave Cooperstown at 8 p.m. and is scheduled to return to Norwich at 11:30 p.m.

To make reservations, call the Tigers at (860) 887-7962.

Tigers: Batters need more patience at the plate - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Mendoza shines, Tigers bounce back against State College

By BRIAN GIRASOLI

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 15, 2010 @ 10:44 PM

Last update Jul 15, 2010 @ 11:45 PM

NORWICH — Clemente Mendoza certainly has the stuff to be an ace pitcher. But unfortunately for him and the Connecticut Tigers, he hadn’t shown it yet.

That all changed Thursday night when the 19-year-old threw eight scoreless innings of two-hit baseball in a 5-0 win over State College in front of 1,108 at Dodd Stadium.

Mendoza (2-3) threw 105 pitches — 66 for strikes — walked two and struck out seven to lower his ERA almost two runs from 7.88 to 5.91. He helped end the Tigers’ four-game losing streak in the process.

“Biggest thing is, he was throwing strike one,” manager Howard Bushong said. “He was working ahead of the hitters and was throwing the breaking stuff for strikes. He was struggling throwing his breaking stuff for strikes and his fastball … (and) wasn’t locating in the last couple of outings. That’s unusual for him.

“Boy, he was just so sharp and so good (Thursday).”

While his inside fastball and curveball were spot-on all night, Mendoza said his changeup needs work.

“The strike zone” was elusive in previous starts, he said. “So now I’m throwing more strikes, and I’ve got to keep doing that.”

After Connecticut was bum-rushed by 11 runs the previous night, Mendoza kept State College’s hitters off balance. Both Gift Ngoepe and Chase Lyles struck out twice.

“Mendoza’s been our No. 1 guy all year,” Bushong said, “and he’s supposed to do something like that.”

His pitching gave the Tigers (14-13) ample time to score, which they did — especially with their backs against the wall.

Alexander Nunez began Connecticut’s two-out rally in the third inning with a double over the head of centerfielder Adalberto Santos. Matt Perry (3-for-4) followed with a single and Nunez just beat Santos’ throw for a 1-0 lead.

Back-to-back walks loaded the bases, and James Robbins’ single to center brought home two more runs to pad the lead, 3-0.

Robbins came through again in the fifth with a two-out double, scoring Perry for a 4-0 lead.

“I really try to focus down — especially when there’s runners in scoring position — to get a good pitch and hit it hard somewhere. It’s been a learning process for me,” said Robbins, who is in his first full year in the New York-Penn League.

The Tigers used some small ball in the eighth inning to score their final run. Ryan Soares led off with a single and stole second and third on successive pitches. Londell Tyler brought him home with a sacrifice fly to right.

“I think our guys made conscious effort to start anew and get this thing going again,” Bushong said. “They’re capable; we know that. We’re glad to put the four games behind us, there’s no question.”

Around the horn

Perry made a nice catch in the top of the fourth. The third baseman reached over the fence just past the State College dugout and caught Matt Curry’s fly ball. … Spikes (14-13) reliever Brooks Pounders put the first two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, but struck out the next three. … Tonight’s 7:05 game features Connecticut RHP Patrick Cooper (1-1, 4.09) against State College RHP Quinton Miller (0-0, 5.40). Fireworks are scheduled after the game.

Mendoza shines, Tigers bounce back against State College - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tigers: Taiwanese outfielder Tang adjusts to new home - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

Tigers: Taiwanese outfielder Tang adjusts to new home

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Tali Greener/ NorwichBulletin.com

Tali Greener/Norwich Bulletin Connecticut Tigers outfielder Chao-Ting Tang of Taiwan watches State College warm up between innings Wednesday during a game at Dodd Stadium in Norwich.

By JOE PEREZ

jperez@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 14, 2010 @ 11:40 PM

Last update Jul 15, 2010 @ 03:35 PM

NORWICH —

Put anyone, let alone a 22-year-old, into a foreign country with a language barrier and no family and it would be safe to say it would make for a difficult challenge.

Chao-Ting Tang is not here to learn about Colonial New England; nor is he planning on taking in the autumnal colors. Even with the ever-growing diversity in eastern Connecticut, Tang is not a tourist.

Here from Taiwan for his job as a professional baseball player, Tang is hoping that his time with the Connecticut Tigers will lead to bigger and better things.

Unlike most of his peers, Tang’s path to the major leagues requires a few extra hurdles. He doesn’t speak English and the transient nature of life in the minor leagues usually doesn’t allow too much time to become acclimated with any one location.

So far the adjustment to Norwich has gone smoothly.

“It’s really not that difficult because the host family is really nice and they’ve taken care of me really well,“ Tang said through his interpreter, Kenny Chang.

An undrafted free agent, Tang signed with the Detroit Tigers in April 2008. While there has been a steady influx of baseball talent from Asia over the past two decades, Tang’s signing is of particular significance. He is the first Taiwanese player signed by the Tigers.

There isn’t a great track record of Taiwanese players in professional baseball. Washington and former Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang might be the best known. Dodgers pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo became the nation’s first All-Star this week.

Fortunately, the language of baseball translates easily on the field — even if the approach isn’t the same.

“In Taiwan, players treat this more like a job, as a profession,” Tang said. “Versus here, it seems like a lot of players treat it like a hobby or an interest.”

When he signed with the Tigers, Tang was widely considered the top amateur player in Taiwan.

“I’ve seen quite a bit of improvement since Year One,” Tang said. “I feel that the experience in pro baseball has shown me different techniques. It’s an eye opener.”

The eye opening doesn’t belong to Tang alone.

Bob Tobin welcomed Tang into his home as a volunteer host family.

“It’s been fabulous, no other word could describe it better,” said Tobin of opening his home to Tang. “He’s just a remarkable young guy.

“He’s just a great guy and has a tremendous work ethic about his profession.”

Tang’s become part of the family.

He’s taken Tobin’s 13-year-old son Ryan under his wing in a big brother-little brother relationship. When the Tigers are home, Tang will play basketball with the younger Tobin and pass along baseball tips. And when they go out for Chinese food, Tang does the ordering.

There are occasions when words get in the way, but non-verbal communication bridges that gap. And just in case that doesn’t work, Tang carries a electronic translator or the Tobins can text Chang to help troubleshoot.

“He’s a very, very easy going guy,” Bob Tobin said. “We drove him up to the house, he had a big smile on his face (and) said, ‘I like.’ … It’s been a completely positive experience.”

Helping hand

For its part, the Detroit organization does what it can to help ease its players’ transition to America.

With the exception of its Triple- and Double-A affiliates, the Tigers offer English-language classes in the minor league system. Classes are held twice a week, usually Monday and Wednesday during homestands, and help the players learn the language.

Sharon Lockwood is Detroit’s coordinator of international player programs. Based out of Lakeland, Fla., Lockwood is on call to handle any crisis that may arise.

Tang presented a different challenge than most. The vast majority of players who do not speak English communicate in Spanish. Few coaches or other personnel speak Mandarin Chinese.

When he played for West Michigan last season, which is located outside of Grand Rapids, Mich., Tang struggled with the early season cold. That’s exactly the sort of thing Lockwood keeps an eye out for.

“We’ve been lucky,” she said of language or cultural issues. “Most of it is the players’ hesitancy to ask for help because either they're afraid to speak or they’re afraid they’ll get in trouble. They don’t know who to speak to, they don’t know procedures or culture. They catch on pretty quickly.”

On the field

Tang may be an outfielder, but looks up to Phillies second baseman Chase Utley as someone he would like to model himself after.

He first caught people’s attention when playing in the 2006 high school All-America game.

Over his first two minor league seasons, Tang had some mixed results. In his first year, he hit .222 with the Gulf Coast Tigers over 38 games. He began 2009 in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .207 and raising his on-base percentage by nearly 100 points in 22 games. That earned him a promotion to Single-A West Michigan, where Tang struggled against the tougher competition.

Through a 21-game sample, Tang’s batting average dropped to .197. It didn’t help matters that a large portion of his season was lost after he sustained facial fractures when he was hit by a relay throw on an attempted double play.

The 5-foot-11, 176-pound Tang began this season with High-A Lakeland of the Florida State League and saw poor results. A .209 average and slugging and on-base percentages below .300 were a bad sign. However, Tang appears to be finding his groove with Connecticut.

Playing mostly as a reserve, the left-handed hitter was hitting at a .300 clip through his first 13 games and most of his other statistics project to be at or near his career highs.

“I’m sure there are times when it’s difficult, but he’s a pretty smart kid,” Tigers manager Howard Bushong said. “I think he understands what we’re trying to get out of him. He plays as hard as anybody and usually takes advantage of it, the opportunities that he gets. He’s done a good job for us all the way around; he’s been fairly steady.”

Copyright 2010 Norwich Bulletin. Some rights reserved

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Tigers make quick work of Spikes in speedy victory

By MARC ALLARD

mallard@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 16, 2010 @ 11:08 PM

NORWICH — The Dodd Stadium staff almost had to wait for it to get dark enough to put on the post-game fireworks show Friday.

The Connecticut Tigers played the speediest game of their season thus far, taking just one hour and 39 minutes to complete a 2-1 victory over State College. Though believed by some to one of the fastest games ever played at Dodd Stadium, there were no records available to confirm it.

“That was quick,” said Connecticut outfielder Matt Mansilla. “I was looking up in the ninth (at the clock over his shoulder in left field) and saying, ‘No way! Already? It’s only 8:45.’ It was cool.”

That’s what happens when pitchers dominate games, and the two starters — Connecticut’s Patrick Cooper (2-1) and the Spikes’ Quinton Miller (0-1) — did just that.

Cooper threw only 71 pitches, and most of those came in the second inning when he threw 13 of the 28 balls he allowed in his six innings of work.

Cooper walked Gerlis Rodriguez on four pitches to lead off the inning, and after a pair of fly outs, Miguel Mendez singled and Kyle Saukko drew the second walk of the inning to load the bases.

But Cooper got out of the jam when he fanned ninth batter Audry Acevedo, one of his seven strikeouts on the night.

“I was kind of off on my mechanics, and I just had to slow down, pace myself and refocus,” Cooper said. “Once I did that, I got out of it with three good sliders, and then I kind of got in a rhythm.”

The only run the Spikes (14-14) mustered off Cooper came in the third when Matt Curry walked, stole second and scored on a double by Rodriguez, the only other hit Cooper allowed in the game.

“Coop struggled in the second inning, but he did a fantastic job,” Connecticut manager Howard Bushong said.

Behind him and reliever Michael Torrealba, the defense sparkled.

The outfield made 10 putouts, and Mansilla had six in left field, including all three putouts in the sixth inning.

“To tell you the truth, as long as I’ve been an outfielder, I’ve never caught three balls in an inning,” Mansilla said. “It was crazy how many balls came out there.”

The infield got into the act in the ninth inning when Gerlis Rodriguez singled to lead off the inning and Kelson Brown attempted to bunt him over. Connecticut catcher Julio Rodriguez sprinted out of the box and gunned down the lead runner at second. Brown advanced to second on a wild pitch before Torrealba, who picked up his second save, recorded his fourth strikeout of the night.

Miguel Mendez then sent a slow roller down to Alexander Nunez at second and the Connecticut second baseman flipped to James Robbins for the easy final out — at least, that’s what it appeared to those not on field level.

“People won’t realize that (Rodriguez’s throw and Nunez’s pickup) were really, really big plays for us,” Bushong said. “That last ball was spinning pretty bad on Nunez and he made the right call. He called (Robbins) off, got him back to first, because our pitcher was late getting over there. It was outstanding.”

About the only thing that didn’t go so well was the offense, which produced just six hits and two runs, both in the first inning. But it was enough.

Nunez had a one-out single and Josh Ashenbrenner followed with a single of his own. Nunez came home when a groundball to second was thrown into left field, which also allowed Ashenbrenner to move to third. The Connecticut third baseman then scored what proved to be the game winner on a sacrifice fly by Julio Rodriguez.

“I was proud of our kids,” Bushong said. “We needed to win the series, and we found a way to do it.”

The Tigers (15-13) are back on the road for a game at 7:05 p.m., tonight at the Hudson Valley Renegades

Tigers make quick work of Spikes in speedy victory - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Single-A Baseball: Tigers crushed on the road

By STAFF REPORTS

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 17, 2010 @ 11:51 PM

Connecticut Tigers starter Rayni Guichardo allowed five runs in the first two innings and the Tigers fell on the road to Hudson Valley, 10-2.

In the fourth inning, Josh Ashenbrenner was hit by a pitch and replaced with pinch runner James Robbins. Robbins advanced to third base on an error. Julio Rodriguez’s line-drive double scored Robbins.

Connecticut added on more run in the seventh. Julio Rodriguez walked and advanced on a passed ball. Eric Roof (2-4) doubled to right field to bring home Rodriguez.

The Tigers managed six hits, but were hurt by four errors in the field. They will have another shot at Hudson Valley at 5 p.m. today.

Single-A Baseball: Tigers crushed on the road - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Single-A Baseball: Tigers falter again

By STAFF REPORTS

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 18, 2010 @ 09:00 PM

A six-run second inning put the Connecticut Tigers behind early and they were unable to recover Sunday, losing, 9-5, to Hudson Valley in Wappinger Falls, N.Y.

The Tigers (15-15) put up a fight, however, scoring four runs in the third inning, including P.J. Polk’s (2-for-5) score on a throwing error by Renegades starter Miguel Sierra.

Polk reached first on a single and moved to third on a Ryan Enos single before the error sent him home.

Enos, who ended up a third base, scored on a wild pitch. Eric Roof walked and scored on a two-run home run by Chris Sedon to make it 6-4.

The Tigers scored their final run in the fourth inning when Polk doubled and moved to third base on a balk, bringing the Tigers within one run at 6-5.

Hudson Valley hanged a run on Connecticut pitcher Antonio Cruz in the fifth inning and added two more in the eighth to make the final score.

Tigers starter Josue Carrero took the loss.

Connecticut has lost two straight in the three-game New York-Penn League series. The Tigers have a chance to avoid a sweep in the final game at 7 p.m. (WICH, AM 1310) tonight.

Single-A Baseball: Tigers falter again - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tigers game rained out

By STAFF REPORTS

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 19, 2010 @ 11:07 PM

WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. — The Connecticut Tigers’ scheduled game Monday against Hudson Valley was rained out.

The New York-Penn League teams will make up the contest as part of a doubleheader on Aug. 4 at Dodd Stadium. There will be two seven-inning games, with the first starting at 6:05 p.m. and the second starting 30 minutes after the first game ends.

Connecticut (15-15) returns home today to start a three-game series against Vermont at 7:05 p.m. There will be a promotion at the ballpark presented by Price Chopper where fans can buy one reserved ticket and receive one reserved ticket free when they present their Price Chopper Advantage Card.

Local Roundup: Tigers game rained out - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Late run lifts Connecticut

By JOE PEREZ

Norwich Bulletin

Posted Jul 20, 2010 @ 09:36 PM

NORWICH — P.J. Polk's two-out single of the glove of diving Vermont second baseman Blake Kelso scored Ryan Soares with the go-ahead run in the seventh to give Connecticut a 2-1 win on Tuesday night at Dodd Stadium.

The Tigers (16-15) survived a ninth-inning rally by the Lake Monsters. Logan Hoch came on in relief and gave up two singles and a sac bunt before being pulled in favor of Tyler White. White struck out the last two batters to close out the win.

Tigers: Late run lifts Connecticut - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Robbins shines, Tigers take doubleheader opener with Vermont

By STAFF REPORTS

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 22, 2010 @ 09:31 PM

NORWICH — James Robbins fell a home run short of the cycle, driving in two runs on a sixth-inning triple that helped seal the Connecticut Tigers’ 11-7 victory over Vermont in the first game of their doubleheader Thursday at Dodd Stadium.

Robbins finished 4-for-4 with four RBIs and three runs scored in the seven-inning game. He was the center of the Tigers’ late-game push in which they scored six runs between the fifth and sixth innings to erase a 7-5 deficit to the Lake Monsters.

The second game of the doubleheader ended too late for print.

Chao-Ting Tang had three hits, two stolen bases and two RBIs in addition to scoring the go-ahead run in the fifth.

Five other Tigers had two hits, including Julio Rodriguez, who scored three times and started the rally in the fifth with a lead-off walk.

Robbins and Tang followed with consecutive singles — Tang’s driving in Rodriguez — and each stole a base, setting up P.J. Polk’s run-scoring groundout. After a pitching change, Enos then drove Mark Herrera’s offering to right field to drive in Tang and make it 8-7.

The Lake Monsters touched starter Clemente Mendoza for six runs (five earned) in 41/3 innings, but Kevan Hess (2-0) shut Vermont down over 21/3 scoreless innings while the offense went to work. Hess dropped his ERA to 2.87.

Shane McCatty (2-2) took the loss for Vermont, surrendering four runs on five hits in 12/3 innings

http://www.norwichbulletin.com/sports/x1598948444/Robbins-shines-Tigers-take-doubleheader-opener-with-Vermont

Edited by fyrftrjim

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Tigers to get a taste of baseball history with Cooperstown game

By JOE PEREZ

jperez@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 24, 2010 @ 12:00 AM

NORWICH — For 68 years, one of the components of Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y., was a game between two of baseball’s major league teams. But following 2008, baseball decided the scheduling of an in-season exhibition game became too troublesome to continue.

It was replaced by a game played on Father’s Day in the upstate New York hamlet that features a mix of Hall of Fame and not-so famous players.

But since 1991, one game that’s been consistent has been the regular-season contest played between two New York-Penn League franchises.

Today, the Connecticut Tigers play host to the Tri-City ValleyCats at 1 p.m. in Cooperstown. The weekend reaches its climax Sunday with the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

“It’s amazing,” said Tigers general manager Andrew Weber. Connecticut’s game with Tri-City on Friday was postponed by rain to July 31. “From my standpoint, as a player, I would have dreamed of playing there. … With it being induction weekend, that’s ultimately what every guy on that field wants — is to end a career inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

The Tigers, or at least the franchise that was based in Oneonta, N.Y., had been associated with the game since its inception 19 years ago. Oneonta, then the team closest to Doubleday Field, was the home team. Since the team relocated to Norwich last spring after the schedule was produced, the Tigers kept their place in the game.

Weber said team owner E. Miles Prentice wants to keep Connecticut involved in the tradition of the game as long as the league, the Hall of Fame or Minor League Baseball don’t say otherwise.

“I can tell you, I doubt other teams will tell you they’ll voluntarily give up a Saturday home game to play there,” Weber said.

It’s uncertain whether the team will continue its participation, but Connecticut is doing everything it can to take advantage of the rare opportunity to play in Cooperstown.

For $40 or $50 (depending upon age), the team sold packages that included a seat on a chartered bus, a ticket to the game, admission to the Hall of Fame and a bagged lunch from Panera Bread. The offering was a success; Weber said every seat on the bus was sold, and that he hopes the team can send two buses next year.

Tigers manager Howard Bushong and three of his players were part of last season’s game with the ValleyCats.

“Playing in that stadium, playing in that game, makes you appreciate where you are and the opportunities that you have,” Bushong said. “Last year’s game is something I’ll never forget. I hope this year’s game is the same thing.”

With such a unique moment at hand, Bushong plans to give his players advice to cherish the opportunity while playing the game.

And it’s pretty neat to play before nearly 10,000 fans — including Hall of Famers — at the birthplace of baseball. Not that the players, most of who are in the first years of their careers, needed any more pressure.

It’s not unusual either to see players play a little harder and with a little more emotion.

“It’s like a dream for a player to play there,” said Tigers pitcher Clemente Mendoza. “Everyone wants to play there. It’s a really good experience.”

Bushong said the fans at the game are different than at any other game. No matter what uniform a player has on, they’ll cheer for him. It is truly a celebration of baseball.

“They just cheer to watch kids play,” he said. “Every time I have the opportunity — and I’ve been to Cooperstown four times — every time has been special. It gives me chills every time I go.”

If there’s a drawback in the experience it’s that with games the next day, both Connecticut (at Lowell) and Tri-City (at Vermont) don’t have a chance to explore the Hall of Fame. Even if the schedule was amended to give the teams time to check out the exhibits, finding enough hotel rooms for 70 to 80 people on induction weekend is close to impossible.

One possible solution would be to have Connecticut play at Tri-City the night before or the day after the game in Cooperstown.

Regardless of the logistics, the Tigers’ manager hopes the players appreciate the sojourn, especially because some of them are from other countries and may never have the chance to return.

Said Bushong: “I always hope it means as much to them as it does to me.”

Tigers to get a taste of baseball history with Cooperstown game - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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...Single-A Baseball: Tigers survive extended battle

By STAFF REPORTS

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 24, 2010 @ 11:12 PM

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Ryan Soares’ RBI single ended a 13-inning contest Saturday, giving Connecticut a 6-5 win over Tri-City in the New York-Penn League’s annual game at Doubleday Field on the eve of the 2010 induction ceremony at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Julio Rodriguez singled and was pinch ran for with Les Smith. Matt Perry laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Smith to second and Soares’ (4-for-6) shot to left field scored Smith.

Connecticut (18-16) got things started in the first inning when Josh Ashenbrenner hit a triple against ValleyCats (13-21) starter David Martinez. Alexander Nunez (2-for-5) singed Ashenbrenner in.

The Tigers scored again in the second inning and in the third before Tri-City responded with three runs in the fourth inning against Connecticut starter Patrick Cooper.

The ValleyCats added another run in the sixth inning before the Tigers came back with a two-run single from Ryan Enos (2-for-5) to score Soares from third and P.J. Polk from first, giving Connecticut a 5-4 lead.

Back-to-back Tri-City doubles tied the game again in the ninth, where it stayed until Soares’ single. Miguel Mejia (2-0) took the win after three innings of relief for the Tigers.

Connecticut travels to Lowell, Mass., for two games with the Spinners. Rayni Guichardo (1-2, 5.32) gets the start for Connecticut at 5:05 p.m., tonight (WICH 1310-AM).

Single-A Baseball: Tigers survive extended battle - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tiger hits his first home run in win

By STAFF REPORTS

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 25, 2010 @ 11:32 PM

LOWELL, Mass. — The Tigers scored four runs in the ninth inning and it proved the difference as Connecticut outlasted Lowell, 9-5, Sunday night.

Five Tigers picked up two hits, including first baseman James Robbins, who went 2-for-4 with three runs and an RBI. Robbins hit the first home run of his professional career in the sixth inning of the New York-Penn League game.

P.J. Polk had a pair of doubles, two runs, two walks and a run for Connecticut.

With Connecticut head, 5-3, the Tigers’ Josh Ashenbrenner singled and Alexander Nunez (two doubles) reached on pitcher Kyle Rutters’ throwing error when he attempted to get the force out at second.

A failed sac bunt attempt by Matt Perry forced Ashenbrenner at third, but after Robbins walked to load the bases, catcher Eric Roof doubled in two runs. Londell Taylor added a sac fly and a wild pitch plated another run to round out the Connecticut scoring.

The Spinners scored twice in the ninth against Tyler Clark.

Rayni Guichardo (2-2) allowed just one run on six hits and four walks in five innings for the Tigers.

Connecticut, which moved within 31⁄2 games of first-place Vermont in the New York-Penn League’s Stedler Division, plays Lowell again at 12:05 p.m., today.

Righty Jose Carreno (1-4, 6.00) takes the mound for the Tigers. He’s opposed by the Spinners’ RHP Tyler Wilson (0-2, 5.83).

Single-A Baseball: Tiger hits his first home run in win - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Tiger hits his first home run in win

By STAFF REPORTS

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 25, 2010 @ 11:32 PM

LOWELL, Mass. — The Tigers scored four runs in the ninth inning and it proved the difference as Connecticut outlasted Lowell, 9-5, Sunday night.

Five Tigers picked up two hits, including first baseman James Robbins, who went 2-for-4 with three runs and an RBI. Robbins hit the first home run of his professional career in the sixth inning of the New York-Penn League game.

Not quite...there was a little hullabaloo around here when he hit 2 homers in his 1st 2 games last year w/ the GCL Tigers (if memory serves me correct).

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Tigers topple suffering Spinners again

By STAFF REPORTS

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 26, 2010 @ 11:16 PM

LOWELL, Mass. — If there’s one team everyone in the New York-Penn League likes playing this season, it’s the Lowell Spinners.

The Connecticut Tigers handed the Spinners — the Boston Red Sox’s short-season A affiliate — their 30th loss in 38 games, a 3-2 blow Monday afternoon in front of 5,217 fans at LeLacheur Park.

Josue Carreno wasn’t bothered by the breezy conditions. He allowed just two hits and struck out six batters to pick up his second win in six decisions.

The Tigers (20-16), a Detroit Tigers affiliate, scored all the runs they needed in the second inning when they sent eight men to the plate against Tyler Wilson (0-3).

Julio Rodriguez doubled and scored when James Robbins followed with a two-bagger of his own.

Ryan Soares — who had three hits in four trips to the plate — singled Robbins to third, and he came on a Les Smith sacrifice fly to center field.

The Spinners scored their first run in the eighth against Connecticut reliever Antonio Cruz when Felix Sanchez tripled and scored on a groundout by Miles Head. They added another in the ninth off the Tigers’ Tyler White.

Connecticut struck back in the top of the ninth when left fielder Ryan Enos hit his second home run of the season, both at LeLacheur Park.

The win completed a two-game sweep for the Tigers, who have won seven of their eight meetings with the Spinners this season. The two conclude their season series next Monday and Tuesday at Dodd Stadium.

Notes

The Tigers made a trio of roster moves on Monday.

Outfielder Matt Mansilla and infielder Chris Sedon were sent to the Detroit Tigers’ High-A ball affiliate in Lakeland, Fla., and pitcher Kevan Hess moved up the ladder to Low-A Western Michigan.

Mansilla had hit .130 with two homers and nine RBIs in 17 games for the Tigers. Sedon had played in six games and was hitting .333 with a homer and three RBIs.

Hess, in his second year at the short-season A level, was 2-0 with a 2.87 earned run average in 12 appearances out of the Tigers’ bullpen.

The Tigers have today off before going the road for a three-game series with the Staten Island Yankees beginning Wednesday.

Brennan Smith (0-1, 3.38) will get the start for the Tigers in that series opener.

Single-A Baseball: Tigers topple suffering Spinners again - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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Smith shines, but Tigers fall at Staten Island

By STAFF REPORTS

sports@norwichbulletin.com

Posted Jul 28, 2010 @ 02:58 PM

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Brennan Smith on Wednesday enjoyed as good a start as any Connecticut pitcher's had this season.

One pitch spoiled it.

Smith allowed a solo home run to Staten Island’s Casey Stevenson to lead off the fourth inning, and the Yankees (19-16) held on to snap the Tigers’ three-game winning streak in a 1-0 victory at Richmond County Ballpark.

Smith (0-2) allowed six hits and one walk while striking out six in an eight-inning complete game. The 20-year-old is the first Tigers pitcher to go the distance this season, lowering his ERA to 2.76.

But the Tigers (20-17) couldn’t figure out Yankees starters Michael O’Brien (6-1), who struck out three in six scoreless innings, nor his bullpen. Relievers Matthew Jernstad, Preston Claiborne and Chase Whitley combined to strike out six in three innings, allowing two hits.

James Robbins and Ryan Enos had two hits apiece for Connecticut.

The teams continue their series at 7:05 p.m., on Thursday. Clemente Mendoza (2-3, 6,44 ERA) is expected to start for Connecticut against left-hander Nik Turley (0-2, 7.11).

The Tigers return home Saturday for a doubleheader against Tri-City.

Smith shines, but Tigers fall at Staten Island - Norwich, CT - Norwich Bulletin

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