Kalafers, Somerset Patriots And Flemington Car & Truck Donate $1,000,000 To RWJ Somerset

1-East high resSOMERVILLE, NJ, Jan. 21, 2020 – Steve and Suzanne Kalafer, Flemington Car and Truck Country Family of Brands and the Somerset Patriots recently donated $1 million to Somerset Health Care Foundation to support the renovation of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s 1-East Geriatric Unit.

Renovations included installing new floors and bathroom fixtures, brightening the walls with new paint and updating the nurses’ station to create a more modern, comfortable environment for patients and their families. Nurses on the unit are specially trained in the care of older adults, earning national recognition as a NICHE Facility (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) from New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing. The unit will open for patients on Jan. 27.

“We are so grateful to Steve and Suzanne Kalafer, Flemington Car and Truck Country and the Somerset Patriots for sharing our commitment to providing personalized care for older adults in our community and for supporting this renovation project,” said Tony Cava, president and chief executive officer, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset. “The Kalafer family’s dedication to improving health care in New Jersey has been simply extraordinary and we are extremely grateful for their long-standing support of our hospital.”

Steve Kalafer is former chairman of the Somerset Health Care Foundation Board of Trustees. He has also served on the hospital’s Board of Trustees and serves on the RWJBarnabas Health Board of Trustees.

He has led fundraising campaigns in support of the building of the hospital’s emergency department, the Paul R. Nardoni Oncology Pavilion, the Mary and John Obzansky Pavilion for orthopedic patients, the Frimmer Healing Gardens and the Edward and Anita Hogan Neuroscience Pavilion. Since 2009, the Flemington Car and Truck Country Family of Brands have sponsored free parking in the hospital’s parking garage for patients and their families.

For more information about Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, visit www.rwjbh.org/somerset. To learn more about how you can support Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, contact Somerset Health Care Foundation at 908-685-2885.

Photo caption: Participating in a ribbon cutting ceremony for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s 1-East Geriatric Unit on Jan. 21 were from left to right, Tom Biga, president, Hospital Division, RWJBarnabas Health; Jack Morris, chairman, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Board of Trustees and RWJBarnabas Health Board of Trustees; Glenn Miller, executive vice president and chief development officer, RWJBarnabas Health; Amy Mansue, executive vice president and chief experience officer, RWJBarnabas Health; Suzanne Kalafer; Paul Hubert, chair, Somerset Health Care Foundation Board of Trustees; Steve Kalafer, chairman of the Somerset Patriots, owner of the Flemington Car & Truck Country Family of Brands and former chair of Somerset Health Care Foundation; Tony Cava, president and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset; Barry Ostrowsky, president and CEO, RWJBarnabas Health; Jo-Ann Mendles, chair, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset Advisory Board; and Josh Kalafer, co-chairman of the Somerset Patriots and co-owner of Flemington Car & Truck Country.

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Somerset Patriots Re-Sign All-Star OF Justin Pacchioli

Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have re-signed Atlantic League All-Star outfielder Justin Pacchioli for the 2020 season.

“I’m honored to get another opportunity to come back and do whatever I can to try and bring back a championship to Somerset,” said Pacchioli. “Getting to put that jersey on and compete is something I love doing. I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else than with the Patriots family.” Pacchioli Blogs2020

Pacchioli enters his fourth season with the Somerset Patriots and fourth in the Atlantic League. The speedy outfielder hit .282 with one home run, 19 RBI and a career-high 38 stolen bases over 79 games with the team last year. He missed the final month of the season due to injury, but did finish his campaign on a 20-game on-base streak stretching across all of August. He hit .308 in August with a .393 on-base percentage and was 15-for-15 in stolen base attempts.

The Easton, Pennsylvania native led the team and finished tied for fourth in the league in stolen bases last year despite missing the last month of the season. Pacchioli led the league in stolen base percentage (.927) and ranked second in the league in steals at the time of his last game (August 22nd).

Pacchioli has been known for his speed throughout his Somerset tenure. The Lehigh University alumnus has led the team in stolen bases in each of his three seasons in Somerset: each time also ranking in the top six in the league. Additionally, he enters 2020 fourth all-time in Patriots history in steals (107), trailing only Scott Kelly (114), Michael Warner (116) and Billy Hall (209).

“We are extremely excited to be joined again by Pacchioli,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “Justin has been a consistent player for us the past three years. He can track just about anything down in the outfield and truly has a good arm to throw out runners trying to take an extra base. ‘Patch’ also gives you an outstanding at-bat every time he steps in the box. He is devastating to the opponent when he gets on base because of his speed. Pacchioli will be a huge part of this team and we are happy to welcome him back.”

The 27-year old hit .280 in Somerset in 2018 with 25 RBI and 50 runs scored. Additionally, he led the team in stolen bases (34) and ranked sixth in the league despite playing in only 87 games. Four of the five players ahead of him in the league played at least 30 more games during the regular season.

Pacchioli hit .281 with 30 RBI, 61 runs and 35 stolen bases (fourth in the league) over 97 games in his first year in Somerset (2017) before he finished the season in the Boston Red Sox organization with High-A Salem. He earned an All-Star Game selection that year by hitting .345 in the first half of the season with a .453 on-base percentage. At the time, “Patch” was only eight plate appearances shy of qualifying for the league leaders. Had he been qualified at the time, both stats would have led the Atlantic League.

The versatile outfielder has also showed off an impressive glove in his time in the Atlantic League. He has committed just five errors across 536 chances (.991 fielding percentage) in his three seasons in Somerset. That includes just one error over 202 chances (.995) in 2017 and one error over 178 chances (.994) in 2018.

“Patch” has hit .281 over 263 games in his three seasons in a Somerset uniform with nine triples, 74 RBI, 107 steals, 164 runs and a .372 on-base percentage. The triples and stolen bases lead the Patriots over this stretch, while the runs rank second.

Pacchioli took off the 2016 season prior to joining Somerset for personal reasons after he spent his first season in professional baseball in the San Diego Padres organization. A 10th-round draft pick by the Padres in 2015, Pacchioli played in 58 games with short-season Tri-City that year and posted a .245 average with 14 RBI and 19 stolen bases. His 19 steals led the team and ranked seventh in the Northwest League that year.

The Somerset Patriots will be back in action on Friday, May 1st for Opening Day at TD Bank Ballpark. Stay up to date on all the team news throughout the offseason online; on all of our social media platforms, and on our mobile app. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 42 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 22-year history.

For more information, please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.

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Somerset Patriots Re-Sign All-Star Catcher Yovan Gonzalez

Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have re-signed All-Star catcher Yovan Gonzalez for the 2020 season.

“I’m ready for another year with the Patriots family,” said Gonzalez. “I’m really excited to be back. Can’t wait to wear that uniform and give my 110% again. We’ve got a big year ahead!” Yovan Blogs 2020

Gonzalez enters his fifth season with the Somerset Patriots and his fifth in the Atlantic League. He was the second-longest tenured player on the team last year and continues as one of the longest-tenured active players in the entire league this season. Last year, Gonzalez hit .263 with three home runs and 26 RBI over 82 games as the team’s primary catcher.

The Puerto Rico native enjoyed a notable 2017 season with the Patriots in which he finished second on the team in hitting (.291), including a .325 batting average in the first half of the year. That helped Gonzalez earn a selection as the Liberty Division starting catcher in the 2017 All-Star Game played at TD Bank Ballpark.

Only Alfredo Rodriguez (365 games) and Scott Kelly (349 games) have played more games in a Somerset uniform than Gonzalez (310 games) since he joined the team in 2016. Offensively, the popular backstop ranks second on the team in hits (279) and third in RBI (117) dating back to the beginning of his Patriots tenure.

“Yovi” owns a .270 average with eight home runs and 117 RBI over 310 games across four seasons in Somerset.

Additionally, Gonzalez has always excelled defensively. He ranked second among Atlantic League catchers in assists (52), third in caught stealing percentage (.343, min. 500 innings) and fourth in innings (652.0) last year. He also committed the least amount of errors (3) and allowed the least amount of passed balls (6) among catchers (min. 500 innings).

The former Cincinnati Reds farmhand was the only catcher in the league in 2018 to not record an error (min. 500 innings) despite missing a month’s worth of action. He also led the league in fielding percentage among catchers in both 2016 and 2017 (minimum 650.0 innings), including just two errors over 659 chances in the 2017 season.

“It is always important to bring guys back that understand what Somerset is about, and that is Yovan,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “Great team guys that are unselfish, work hard and take pride in making those around them better.  We have just that in the return of Yovan Gonzalez. Yovan wants to win.  He enjoys working with the pitchers whether before the game, during games, or on an off day. Yovan will be one of our team leaders and we are extremely excited to have him back in 2020.”

Gonzalez spent the first seven years of his career in the Reds organization, including Triple-A service in Louisville in 2013.

The Wabash Valley College alumnus has always excelled defensively throughout his career. He has thrown out 32.3% of potential base-stealers (222-686) over his career, including two seasons (2009, 2011) of over 50%. Additionally, Gonzalez holds a career .992 fielding percentage behind the plate.

He has 23 home runs and 233 RBI over 629 minor league games in his professional career.

The Somerset Patriots will be back in action on Friday, May 1st for Opening Day at TD Bank Ballpark. Stay up to date on all the team news throughout the offseason online; on all of our social media platforms, and on our mobile app. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 42 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 22-year history.

For more information, please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.

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Ty Wright Introduced As New Somerset Patriots Hitting/3B Coach

Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots and manager Brett Jodie have announced the coaching staff for the 2020 season. Former Patriot infielder Ty Wright has been hired as the new Third Base/Hitting Coach, while Jon Hunton will return as the team’s Pitching Coach/ Director of Baseball Operations. Fox Beyer will continue to work as a volunteer Assistant Coach. Ty Wright Blogs

“It means a ton. Just to go to a place you are familiar with and knowing what the people are all about,” said Wright. “Most importantly, the fans are the ones that make the Patriots go. They were wonderful when I was a player there and I look forward to building those relationships and interacting with the fans more in this role.”

Wright enters his first season as a coach for the Patriots and second season with the team. The Tyler, Texas native spent the 2014 season – the last year of his playing career – in Somerset playing under Jodie. He hit .265 with 13 home runs and 64 RBI over 112 games that year before he led the team in hitting with a .526 average (10-for-19) and three RBI over five postseason games.

“We are extremely proud to be joined by our first year hitting coach, Ty Wright,” said Jodie. “Ty was a joy to manage in his time as a player in Somerset and he has continued to hold a special place in his heart for the Patriots since his time here. Ty is a positive influence on others and carries a great attitude all the time. He is a hard worker and he knows hitting. Ty has been doing great work in the Chicago Cubs organization over the last five years and now we are thrilled to have him back with us.”

Wright has spent the last three seasons as a coach with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Advanced-A affiliate of the Cubs, including the last two years as the team’s hitting coach. He worked as an assistant coach in his first year (2017) with the club. Under Wright’s tutelage in 2019, the Pelicans ranked second in the Carolina League in walks (299), third in stolen bases (136) and had the fourth-fewest amount of strikeouts (1,093).

The long-time Cubs organization member began his coaching career as the Assistant Hitting Coach for the Rookie-level Mesa Cubs in 2015. Wright then worked as the Hitting Coach for the Short-Season Eugene Emeralds in 2016 before moving on to the Pelicans in 2017.

Overall, Wright spent 12 seasons in the Cubs organization, including seven as a player and five more as a coach. The first baseman/outfielder played parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level and parts of five seasons at the Double-A level. The only season in Wright’s professional career in which he was not a part of the Cubs organization was his lone 2014 season in Somerset.

“One thing I learned as a coach over the past few seasons was the mental side of baseball. You have to have the day-to-day mindset in every specific area of the game. I will come in with a positive attitude to communicate with the players to the best of my ability and be able to see the game from their eyes as well. I believe in building relationships with them, true development and success will happen.”

Jodie enters his eighth season as manager and 17th overall season with the Somerset Patriots organization. He carries a 556-405 (.579) record in his first seven seasons as manager, including a 2015 Atlantic Championship. His teams have won seven of a possible 14 Half Championships and have made the playoffs in all but one season with him at the helm.

“I always find myself excited this time of year because baseball is almost here,” said Jodie. “Baseball is special everywhere, but it has a little extra something in Somerset. I am giddy with anticipation with the upcoming season quickly approaching. There are so many great people associated with this organization and I am proud to return as a part of it.”

The South Carolina native was named the 2015 Atlantic League Manager of the Year after his team not only won the league’s title but recorded a historic 50-win first half: the most wins in any half by any team in league history. Additionally, Jodie’s 2013 team set a franchise record with 90 wins.

Somerset’s skipper has twice reached notable landmarks during his tenure as manager. Jodie became the fastest manager in league history to win 250 games, setting that mark on August 26, 2015. He continued his record-setting pace in 2019 when he also became the fastest manager in league history to reach 500 wins; doing so in a May 17th win over the Lancaster Barnstormers.

Jodie first joined the Patriots organization in 2003 as a player. That year, the former New York Yankee southpaw went 12-5 with a 3.78 ERA en route to an Atlantic League championship. He also made 10 starts with Somerset in 2005 before he announced his retirement. Jodie then became the team’s pitching coach in 2006 – a position he held through 2012 – and the Director of Player Personnel from 2007 through 2013. He won two additional championships as a coach in 2008 and 2009.

Jodie is the longest-tenured coach in the Atlantic League and is tied with Mark Mason (York) as the league’s longest-tenured manager.

Hunton enters his ninth overall season with the Somerset Patriots and third as the team’s Pitching Coach/ Director of Baseball Operations. He previously spent six seasons as a record-setting relief pitcher; the latter four of which he was also the Director of Player Personnel.

The North Plainfield, New Jersey native’s pitching staff allowed the least amount of walks (351) of any club in the Atlantic League last year. Patriots pitchers also ranked second in the league in saves (45), third in ERA (3.85) and WHIP (1.31) and fourth in strikeouts (1,037).

Hunton spearheaded a pitching staff that led the league in strikeouts (997) and finished second in ERA (3.62), WHIP (1.29), BAA (.253) and walks allowed (335) in his first season as pitching coach in 2018. He also played an integral role in putting together a roster that finished with the best overall record in the Liberty Division that year.

Hunton finished his Atlantic League playing career as the single season (49, 2014) and all-time saves leader (167), 158 of which came with Somerset. Additionally, he was twice named an Atlantic League All-Star (2013 and 2016) and has won three Atlantic League championships, including two with the Patriots (2008 and 2015).

In 2014, Hunton became the first player in professional baseball to hold the title of Director of Player Personnel while still playing. The 6’9” closer either led or finished second in the league in saves in four-straight seasons (2013-2016). He previously had years of service in both the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics organizations.

Beyer comes back for his 13th season as a volunteer Assistant Coach/ Bench Coach for the Somerset Patriots.

He spent parts of three seasons filling the same position in the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies organizations: both at the Double-A level.

The Somerset Patriots will be back in action on Friday, May 1st for Opening Day at TD Bank Ballpark. Stay up to date on all the team news throughout the offseason online; on all of our social media platforms, and on our mobile app. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 42 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 22-year history.

For more information, please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.

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Automated Ball-Strike System Named Innovation Of The Year

SportTechieAwards_InnovationABS_DigitalAd-1200x628(Lancaster, Pa., Jan. 6, 2020) – Sports technology publisher SportTechie has named the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS), which made its debut in professional baseball in the Atlantic League last season, its “2019 Innovation of the Year.”

The Atlantic League, as part of its three-year partnership with Major League Baseball, installed TrackMan technology in each ballpark during the 2019 Championship Season. Following extensive testing, the ABS was first used to assist the home plate umpire in calling balls and strikes during the Atlantic League All-Star Game at PeoplesBank Park in York, Pa. on July 10. The first use of the ABS for all ALPB games came on July 25 in games hosted by the High Point Rockers, Lancaster Barnstormers, and Long Island Ducks.

In announcing the award, SportTechie wrote the following:

“The first pitch in last July’s Atlantic League All-Star Game (a strike) was one small call for ‘robots’ but a giant leap for baseball. For more than two decades, there has been clamor for automation to standardize umpires’ personal and seemingly whimsical interpretations of the strike zone.

While Major League Baseball has used camera and radar systems to evaluate umpire performance since 2001, the league finally took action in 2019 to use technology to call balls and strikes. The Automated Ball-Strike System first appeared in the independent Atlantic League as part of an experimental partnership with MLB, and it was later used at one ballpark in the Arizona Fall League, a showcase circuit for top prospects in the minors.

For its successful introduction and groundbreaking potential to transform the governance of baseball’s most fundamental interaction, the Automated Ball Strike system wins SportTechie’s Award for Outstanding Innovation in 2019.”

ALPB President Rick White called the award the very satisfying result of work throughout ALPB and with MLB partners.

“SportTechie is the definitive outlet for technological advancements in sports,” White said. “For this major element of our partnership with Major League Baseball to be honored is a significant highlight in an already highlight-filled endeavor. We couldn’t be prouder to be contributing to award-winning breakthroughs in our industry and the great American pastime.”

About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 40 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 900 players and 70 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment.

For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.

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