Valley Blue Sox

Valley Blue Sox

Team Logo
Information
League NECBL (Northern Division)
Location Holyoke, MA (2008-present)
Concord, NH (2001-2007)
Ballpark Mackenzie Stadium (2008-present)
Year founded 2001
Nickname(s) Sox, Blues
League championships 2 (2017, 2018)
Former name(s) Holyoke Blue Sox (2008-2013)
Concord Quarry Dogs (2001-2007)
Former league(s)
  • NECBL
    • Northern Division (2002, 2004-2008)
    • National Division (2001)
Former ballparks Warren H. Doane Diamond (2001-2007)
Colors Dark blue, Red
         
Mascot Paws
Ownership Fred Ciaglo, President
Management Chris Weyant
Manager John Raiola
Website valleybluesox.com

The Valley Blue Sox are a collegiate summer baseball team based in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The team, a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, plays its home games at Mackenzie Stadium.[1] The Blue Sox were founded in 2001 as the Concord Quarry Dogs but moved following the 2007 season to Holyoke[2] to fill the void left by the departure of the Holyoke Giants to Lynn, Massachusetts.[3] In 2017, the team won its first NECBL championship against the Ocean State Waves.[4]

Team history

Concord Quarry Dogs

The Concord Quarry Dogs were founded in 2001, as the second NECBL team in the state of New Hampshire. The team led the league in attendance their inaugural year.[3] Despite making the postseason in both 2002[5] and 2003,[6] the fan base slowly began to dwindle. Attendance slipped dramatically in 2004[7][8] with the arrival of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in nearby Manchester, New Hampshire.[9] In 2006, average attendance was only 503 per game.[10] Following the 2007 season, the team was purchased by the brother-sister team of Barry Wadsworth and Karen Rella who had hoped to help keep the team in Concord. But shortly thereafter, citing increased rent costs and low attendance, they began their search for a new home.[11]

Move to Holyoke

With the departure of the Holyoke Giants after the 2007 season, the new ownership group decided to move their team to Holyoke, Massachusetts.[12] Their first year in Holyoke, the Blue Sox finished just under a .500 record and 8 games behind the division winning and eventual NECBL champions Sanford Mainers.[13]

In 2009, the Blue Sox enjoyed far greater success than their inaugural season in Holyoke, finishing with a 20-21 record,[14] earning the fourth and final West Division playoff spot after a one-game playoff with the Danbury Westerners.[15] The Blue Sox then upset the #1 seeded Keene Swamp Bats in the Division Semifinal round, becoming the first ever #4 seed to defeat a #1 seed in the playoffs.[16] However, the Blue Sox were then defeated by the Vermont Mountaineers in the Division Finals.[17] The 2009 season was highlighted by Holyoke's hosting the 2009 NECBL All-Star Game at Mackenzie Stadium. The game saw a record-breaking attendance figure for the event of 4,906.[18]

In 2011, the team finished with a 28-14 record, sharing the West Division regular-season title with the Keene.[19] The team's attendance figures made a dramatic jump, rising from 39th in 2010 to 3rd in collegiate summer baseball.[20] An average of 2,510 spectators attended each game.[21]

New ownership and name change

In 2013, former Wisconsin Woodchucks owner Clark Eckhoff purchased the team and assumed the role of team president. The 2013 squad advanced to the postseason by winning a play-in game with the Saratoga Brigade before falling 2–1 in the West Division Semifinals to the eventual champions, the Keene Swamp Bats.

In May 2014, the organization announced it would be changing the team's name to the Valley Blue Sox.[22]

Quick turnaround and first championship

In September 2013, Eckhoff hired General Manager Hunter Golden. Despite winning only 13 games in 2014, the team made a 5-win improvement under Golden in the 2015 season with the help and leadership of newly-appointed Manager John Raiola. The team also saw its attendance grow to second in the NECBL in their tenure and 29th nationally among all summer collegiate teams according to Ballpark Digest.

In 2016, the team displaced the Newport Gulls as the top-drawing team in the league, and ranked 11th nationally among all Summer Collegiate Baseball teams in attendance. The success off the field was the same as the success on the field, as the team continued its upward trajectory under the Golden/Raiola tandem, as they finished second in the division with 24 wins on the season. After a dramatic walk-off victory in the division semi-finals, the team jumped out to a 1-0 series lead in the Northern Division Finals against the Sanford Mainers. In one of the more dramatic playoff games in NECBL history, the Blue Sox led the deciding game-3 2-1 heading into the 8th inning. A Sam Stauble triple and a Shane Hughes walk off 3-run HR ended the Sox run, but provided the team with a foundation to build to 2017.

In 2017, the Sox repeated their success of 2016 by qualifying for the NECBL playoffs a second consecutive year, replicating the success of only three other franchises in the league. The team continued to wrack up strong attendance numbers, drawing 2,800 fans+ in five consecutive games headed down the stretch run. The team would go on to win 12 of its last 13 games and not lose a single playoff game - capturing the team's first NECBL Championship in franchise history - sweeping through the playoffs an defeating the Ocean State Waves in the championship series.

In the 2018 season, the Blue Sox once again captured the league championship, winning back to back years, as they once again defeated the Ocean State Waves to capture the title.

Postseason appearances

Year Division Semi-Finals Division Finals NECBL Championship Series
Concord Quarry Dogs
2002 Mill City All-Americans L (1-2)
2003 Keene Swamp Bats L (0-2)
Holyoke Blue Sox
2009 Keene Swamp Bats W (2-1) Vermont Mountaineers L (0-2)
2011 Vermont Mountaineers W (2-0) Keene Swamp Bats L (1-2)
2013 Keene Swamp Bats L (1-2)
Valley Blue Sox
2016 North Adams SteepleCats W (2-1) Sanford Mainers L (1-2)
2017 Keene Swamp Bats W (1-0) Upper Valley Nighthawks W (2-0) Ocean State Waves W (2-0)

Accolades

Records

Below is a list of New England Collegiate Baseball League records set by players of the Concord Quarry Dogs and Holyoke/Valley Blue Sox, as of the end of the 2017 season.[23]

Note: An asterisk (*) denotes the record being held by a member of the Concord Quarry Dogs.

Individual

Team

Awards

Below is a list of awards won by members of the Concord Quarry Dogs and Holyoke/Valley Blue Sox.

End of season awards

  • 2001 Defensive Player of the Year* - Matt Tupman[24]
  • 2001 Top Pitcher* - John Velosky
  • 2001 Top Relief Pitcher* - Matt Elfeldt
  • 2002 Top Pro Prospect* - Grant Reynolds[25]
  • 2002 Top Pitcher* - Grant Reynolds
  • 2003 Sportsmanship Award* - Angus Fredenburg and Bobby Tewksbury[26]
  • 2009 Rick Ligi Most Valuable Player Award - Jim Wood[27]
  • 2011 Ben Mount Pitcher of the year - Jim Wood[28]
  • 2011 Ronnie Freeman Sportsmanship Award - Jim Wood[28]
  • 2011 Trey Mancini Rookie of the Year - Jim Wood[28]
  • 2013 Michael Burke Pitcher of the year - Jim Wood[29]
  • 2015 Manny De Jesus Jr Defensive Player of the Year - Jim Wood[30]
  • 2016 Kyle Mottice 10th Man Award - Jim Wood[31]

All-NECBL Team

  • 2001* - All-League Team: P All-Division Team: 3B Brock Koman, C Matt Tupman, P Matt Elfeldt[24]
  • 2002* - First Team: SS P Grant Reynolds; Second Team: P Chris Lambert[25]
  • 2003* - First Team: 2B Second Team: SS Bobby Tewksbury, DH Chris Looze[26]
  • 2004* - Second Team: SS DH Devin Thomas[32]
  • 2005* - First Team: 2B Second Team: 1B Jerod Edmondson, OF Will Bashelor[33]
  • 2009 - First Team: OF Second Team: 3B Jake Rosenbeck[27]
  • 2011 - First Team: C Second Team: C Ronnie Freeman[28]
  • 2011 - First Team: C First Team: C Ronnie Freeman[28]
  • 2011 - First Team: P First Team: P Ben Mount[28]
  • 2011 - Second Team: C Second Team: C Tommy Murphy[28]
  • '2011 - Second Team: 1B Second Team: 1B Trey Mancini[28]
  • 2011 - SecondTeam: 2B Second Team: 2B Paul McKonkey[28]
  • 2012 - First Team: DH First Team: DH Paul McKonkey[34]
  • 2013 - First Team: 3B First Team: 3B Brenden Hendricks[29]
  • 2013 - First Team: P First Team: P Mike Burke[29]
  • 2013 - Second Team: P Second Team: P Jordan Hillyer[29]
  • 2016 - Second Team: DH Second Team: DH Hezekiah Randolph[29]
  • 2017 - First Team: CL First Team: CL Tyler Smith[29]

Professional alumni

Below is a list of Concord Quarry Dogs (20012007), Holyoke Blue Sox (20082012) and Valley Blue Sox (20142014) alumni who have gone on to play professional baseball at the AA level or higher. The alumni are sorted by peak level of baseball in which they have participated.[35]

MLB

Player Year w/ CON/HOL Current/Most recent team Active
Matt Tupman[36] 2001 Lancaster Barnstormers (Indy) Yes
Chris Lambert[37] 2002 Norfolk Tides (AAA) No
Stephen Lombardozzi, Jr.[38] 2008 Miami Marlins (MLB) Yes
Trey Mancini[39] 2011 Baltimore Orioles (MLB) Yes
Juan Perez[40] 2013 Detroit Tigers (MLB) Yes

AAA

Player Year w/ CON/HOL Current/Most recent team Active
Ryan Roberson[41] 2002 Toledo Mud Hens (AAA) No

AA

Player Year w/ CON/HOL Current/Most recent team Active
Derek Miller[42] 2001 Huntsville Stars (AA) No
Cory Haggerty[43] 2002 Birmingham Barons (AA) No
Emary Frederick[44] 2004-2005 Binghamton Mets (AA) No
Michael Moras[45] 2005 Bridgeport Bluefish (Indy) Yes
John Mariotti[46] 2006 Quebec Capitales (Indy) Yes
Joe Testa[47] 2007 Potomac Nationals (High-A) Yes

References

  1. Holyoke Blue Sox at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2010. Archived 1/3/10
  2. Concord: The Concord Quarry Dogs baseball team is expected to move to Holyoke, Mass., for next season at entrepreneur.com, Retrieved November 23, 2008
  3. 1 2 About the NECBL at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2010. Archived 1/3/10
  4. Maroon, Annie (August 9, 2017). "Valley Blue Sox claim first-ever NECBL championship in Holyoke". MassLive.
  5. 2002 Playoff Statistics at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2010. Archived 1/3/10
  6. 2003 Playoff Statistics at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2010. Archived 1/3/10
  7. 2003 Concord Quarry Dogs Statistics at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2009. Archived 1/3/10
  8. 2004 Concord Quarry Dogs Statistics at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2009. Archived 1/3/10
  9. Spinners sister club the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Ready to Open Thursday, April 15 at oursportscentral.com, URL accessed January 3, 2010. Archived 1/3/10
  10. 2006 Concord Quarry Dogs Statistics at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2010. Archived 1/3/10
  11. Quarry Dogs planning to leave town at concordmonitor.com
  12. Welcome: Holyoke Sox at masslive.com
  13. 2008 Standings at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2010. Archived 1/3/10
  14. 2009 Standings at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2010. Archived 1/3/10
  15. Wood and Rosenbeck Power Blue Sox to Postseason at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2010. Archived 1/3/10
  16. The 2009 Vermont Mountaineers Season In Review at necbl.com, URL accessed September 1, 2009
  17. Holyoke Loses game two, Ends Great Season on 5-3 loss at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2010. Archived 1/3/10
  18. West Wins All-Star game in Holyoke, Hometown Hero gets MVP at necbl.com, URL accessed January 3, 2010. Archived 1/3/10
  19. "2011 NECBL Season - Standings". NECBL.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  20. "Ballpark Business Releases 2011 Summer Collegiate Attendance Rankings". Ballpark Biz. 23 August 2011. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  21. "Per Game Average Attendance - Top 50" (PDF). Ballpark Biz. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  22. The Valley's team takes the Valley name at holyokesox.com, URL accessed May 7, 2014.
  23. NECBL Record Book at necbl.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  24. 1 2 2001 Awards at necbl.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  25. 1 2 2002 Awards at necbl.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  26. 1 2 2003 Awards at necbl.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  27. 1 2 2009 Awards at necbl.com, URL accessed January 2, 2010. Archived 1/2/10
  28. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 at necbl.com, URL accessed January 2, 2010. Archived 1/2/10
  29. 1 2 3 4 5 6 2013 Awards at necbl.com, URL accessed January 2, 2010. Archived 1/2/10
  30. at necbl.com, URL accessed January 2, 2010. Archived 1/2/10
  31. at necbl.com, URL accessed January 2, 2010. Archived 1/2/10
  32. 2004 Awards at necbl.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  33. 2005 Awards at necbl.com, URL accessed January 1, 2010. Archived 1/1/10
  34. "2012 AWARDS". NECBL.com. Retrieved 27 Jul 17. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  35. "NECBL Alumni". NECBL.com. Archived from the original on 13 June 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  36. Matt Tupman at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed May 29, 2010. Archived 05-29-10
  37. Chris Lambert at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed May 29, 2010. Archived 05-29-10
  38. "Steve Lombardozzi". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on 13 June 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  39. "Trey Mancini". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on 27 July 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  40. "Juan Perez". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on 27 July 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  41. Ryan Roberson at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed May 29, 2010. Archived 05-29-10
  42. Derek Miller at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed May 29, 2010. Archived 05-29-10
  43. Cory Haggerty at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed May 29, 2010. Archived 05-29-10
  44. Emary Frederick at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed May 30, 2010. Archived 05-30-10
  45. Michael Moras at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed May 30, 2010. Archived 05-30-10
  46. John Mariotti at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed May 30, 2010. Archived 05-30-10
  47. Joe Testa at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed May 30, 2010. Archived 05-30-10

See also

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