Brandon Leibrandt’s Journey To An MLB Shot

Leibrandt Feature SocialBridgewater, NJ – When Brandon Leibrandt joins the Miami Marlins organization, he will have taken a unique journey for a ballplayer to be within inches of the dream of reaching Major League Baseball.

With COVID-19 shutting down all of minor league and independent baseball seasons, Leibrandt took the chance to play in the SOMERSET Professional Baseball Series, a creation of the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League to bring baseball back to New Jersey. The league consists of two teams comprised of local players that are managed by the Somerset Patriots. The 13-game schedule all takes place at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The combination of one site, and sticking to local players, was by design to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading with travel from state to state.

“While our main focus of bringing professional baseball back to New Jersey was to honor our commitments to the community, it also serves as an opportunity for some truly talented players to showcase their abilities at a high level,” said Somerset Patriots President/General Manager Patrick McVerry.

Playing for the newly formed New Jersey Blasters in the series has led the former sixth-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies to get a shot with Miami in 2020. The Marlins purchased the southpaw’s contract after he dominated through three starts in which he went 1-0 with a league-leading 0.75 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 12 innings pitched. In his final start for the Blasters, Leibrandt tossed five shutout innings and allowed just two hits with one walk and seven strikeouts for the win over the Patriots.

“It’s been two years since I pitched in a real game. With no baseball going on, I figured it was a good chance to at least get some innings in,” said Leibrandt. “I’m thankful that the Patriots put the series on. It felt great to be in front of fans and face live hitters again.”

The decision to take the field this season was influenced by his friend and former major leaguer Mark Leiter Jr., a member of the Somerset Patriots, who helped convince Leibrandt to give it a go. Living together in New Jersey for the series allowed both pitchers to push each other, stay in shape, and get their work done to be ready for the next opportunities available to them.

Leibrandt missed last season due to injury, but in 2018, he was 4-1 with a 1.42 ERA and 32 strikeouts over 50.2 innings pitched in 20 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He seemed on track for an MLB call-up before the injury derailed him for the time.

“I just wanted to show I was healthy and myself again,” Leibrandt said. “I worked to fix some mechanics and have that feel where the ball is coming out good and trusting my pitches again.”

In 2017, Leibrandt split 25 appearances between Double-A (Reading) and Triple-A (Lehigh Valley) and combined for an 11-5 record, 3.62 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 136.2 innings pitched across 25 starts.

He joins the Marlins organization with an impressive 29-15 record, 2.88 ERA and 313 strikeouts over 400 innings pitched across 86 games in his minor league career.

He now has the chance to follow his father, left-handed pitcher Charlie Leibrandt, into an MLB career. The senior Leibrandt had a 14-year career in the “Big Leagues” with the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves.

“It would be a dream come true,” added Leibrandt. “My dad had a great career and our stories have many similarities. He didn’t get called up until his late 20’s and has been a constant inspiration for me along the way. He was always there to throw and coach me. He’s been nothing but helpful throughout my career.”

Share
Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Miami Marlins Purchase New Jersey Blasters LHP Brandon Leibrandt’s Contract From Somerset Patriots

Leibrandt ThrowingBridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots have announced that New Jersey Blasters left-handed pitcher Brandon Leibrandt has had his contract purchased by the Miami Marlins.

He is the first player from the SOMERSET Professional Baseball Series and the New Jersey Blasters to join an MLB organization. The SOMERSET Professional Baseball Series was created by the Somerset Patriots to bring professional baseball back to New Jersey, featuring a 13-game series between the team and the Blasters. Both rosters are comprised of local talent and operated by the Somerset Patriots.

Leibrandt was dominant in his three starts for the Blasters, finishing 1-0 with a league-leading 0.75 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 12 innings pitched. The southpaw tossed five shutout innings and allowed just two hits, one walk and struck out seven in his last start.

“While our main focus of bringing professional baseball back to New Jersey was to honor our commitments to the community, it also serves as an opportunity for some truly talented players to showcase their abilities at a high level,” said Somerset Patriots President/General Manager Patrick McVerry. “We are thrilled for Brandon to be given the well-deserved chance with the Marlins and wish him the very best in his pursuit to make the major leagues.”

Leibrandt was the sixth-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2014 draft out of Florida State University. He last played in 2018 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he was 4-1 with a 1.42 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 50.2 innings pitched in six starts.

In 2017, Leibrandt split 25 appearances between Double-A and Triple-A and combined for an 11-5 record, 3.62 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 136.2 innings pitched across 25 starts.

The son of former major league left-handed pitcher Charlie Leibrandt has a minor league career 29-15 record with a 2.88 ERA and 313 strikeouts in 400 innings pitched in 86 games.

The Somerset Patriots have brought professional baseball back to New Jersey from Friday, July 17th to Saturday, August 22nd. For more information about the Somerset Patriots and the SOMERSET Professional Baseball Series, please visit www.somersetpatriots.com, follow all of the team’s social media accounts, and download the Somerset Patriots Mobile App.

Share
Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Steve Kalafer To Be Inducted Into New Jersey Hall of Fame

Somerset Patriots Next20 Years conference at The Palace at Somerset Park in Franklin on October 24, 2019. Keith Muccilli Photography, LLC

Somerset Patriots Next20 Years conference at The Palace at Somerset Park in Franklin on October 24, 2019. Keith Muccilli Photography, LLC

Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots are proud to announce that team Chairman Emeritus Steve Kalafer has been selected as an inductee in the 2019-2020 New Jersey Hall of Fame Class.

“This is a tremendous honor that I share with my beautiful wife of 49 years Suzanne, two wonderful sons Jonathan and Josh and their wives Kori and Rachel, and my five amazing grandsons,” said Kalafer. “Through their love, and all the people I have had the privilege to work with and get to know over the years, I already felt like a Hall of Famer. Having lived in New Jersey my entire life, to be inducted with such a prestigious class that represents my home state so well, is something that will always make me proud.”

Kalafer will be inducted in the Enterprise category alongside The Borg Family (former owners and publishers of The Record), Linda Bowden (NJ regional president at PNC Bank and NJ Chamber of Commerce board chair), Fairleigh Dickinson (Co-Founder of Fortune 500 company Becton Dickinson, benefactor of Fairleigh Dickinson University), and Joseph Simunovich (Former Hudson County freeholder director and chairman of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority).

Past inductees of the Enterprise category include Robert Wood Johnson (co-founder of Johnson & Johnson), Leon Hess (founder of Hess Corporation, owner of the New York Jets), J. Seward Johnson (co-founder of Johnson & Johnson), Malcolm and Steve Forbes (Forbes Media), and Alfred Koeppe (President and COO of Bell Atlantic and PSE&G).

The 2019-2020 Hall of Fame class also includes New York Giants two-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback Eli Manning, legendary Rutgers women’s basketball coach C.Vivian Stringer, former Rutgers athletic director Bob Mulcahy, award-winning performers Ed Harris, Anne Hathaway and Cissy Houston to name a few.

The 12th annual induction ceremony will be a one-hour virtual pre-recorded event on Sunday, October 18, 2020, and will be broadcast on several television, radio and prominent social media platforms throughout New Jersey.

“These Garden State heroes perfectly represent what makes our state great,” said Jon F. Hanson, Chairman of the NJHOF, in a statement. “It’s our privilege to honor these inductees for their outstanding contributions to our state.”

Born in Essex County, and active in businesses throughout the state, Kalafer is the Chairman of the Flemington Car and Truck Country Family of Brands with showrooms and service centers in eight locations and 17 franchises. He is the Chairman Emeritus of the Somerset Health Care Foundation and serves on the Board Of Directors of RWJBarnabas Health. Kalafer is an Associate Trustee of the board of New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance, a Co-Chair of the Chairman’s Council of The Actors Fund of America, and recently retired as a trustee of the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation.

Some notable New Jersey Hall of Famers range from the greatest minds in history like Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison to musicians Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen, inducted alongside sports heroes that include Yogi Berra and Shaquille O’Neal.

“This confirms something that I think many of us have already known for a very long time, that Steve Kalafer is a Hall of Famer,” said Somerset Patriots President/ General Manager Patrick McVerry. “We have seen it for over 20 years at the ballpark and throughout our community. Nobody works harder to make a difference, take care of the community, and do the things you are supposed to do. We are very proud of Steve and this well-deserved honor.”

The New Jersey Hall of Fame celebrates natives of the state that have overcome every imaginable obstacle and challenge. They have survived war, overcome the bleakness of poverty, conquered fear and disability and rebounded from untold rejections and failure. Their stories offer boundless hope and inspiration for millions of New Jerseyans. The New Jersey Hall of Fame “invites you to learn and interact with these inspired lives to chart your own path to extraordinary greatness.”

The Somerset Patriots have brought professional baseball back to New Jersey from Friday, July 17th to Saturday, August 22nd. For more information about the Somerset Patriots and the SOMERSET Professional Baseball Series, please visit www.somersetpatriots.com, follow all of the team’s social media accounts, and download the Somerset Patriots Mobile App.

Share
Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blasters Take 4-2 Series Lead With Win Over Patriots

81PatchSocialBridgewater, NJ- The New Jersey Blasters (4-2) defeated the Somerset Patriots (2-4) 3-1 at TD Bank Ballpark on Saturday night to take a two-game lead in the SOMERSET Professional Baseball Series.

The Blasters jumped out to an early 2-0 in the top of the first inning on a two-run double by Derek Romberg.

The Patriots got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning and cut the lead in half on a sacrifice fly by Justin Pacchioli.

In the top of the seventh inning, the Blasters plated another run on an error for the 3-1 final.

Brandon Leibrandt (1-0) pitched five scoreless innings and struck out seven for the win. Mark Leiter (0-1) suffered the loss after he allowed two earned runs on four hits and four strikeouts in five innings of work. Vin Aiello earned his first save of the season with a scoreless seventh inning pitched and two strikeouts.

The SOMERSET Professional Baseball Series presented by Ford will continue on Friday, August 7th with a 7:05 pm game between the Somerset Patriots and the New Jersey Blasters at TD Bank Ballpark. For more information, please visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

Share
Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Somerset Patriots Announce Blockbuster Schedule For Upcoming Movie Events

Movies 2Bridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots have announced the upcoming schedule for their popular Summer Movie Series with seating on the field of TD Bank Ballpark.

The team will show the baseball classic Field of Dreams (PG) on Thursday, August 13th, the pop culture phenomenon Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (PG) on Thursday, August 27th, Walt Disney’s family-adventure for all ages Moana (PG) on Friday, August 28th, and one of the most beloved films of all-time, The Wizard of Oz (PG), on Saturday, August 29th. Each movie showing will begin at 7:00 pm, with the gates to TD Bank Ballpark opening at 6:00 pm.

Seating for the movies is general admission and located on the playing field as the film plays on the scoreboard’s high definition video screen. Families will be able to use blankets or lawn chairs in specially marked locations on the grass to maintain social distancing requirements.

Tickets are $10.00 each and will go on sale Wednesday, August 5th at 10:00 am exclusively on www.somersetpatriots.com. Kids four years old and over will require a ticket. There will be a maximum of eight tickets per transaction.

At this point, the Somerset Patriots are allowed to have 500 people at the ballpark as per New Jersey’s guidelines for outdoor gatherings. Should guidelines change, the number of tickets will adjust to adhere to approved capacity.

Concession stands will be open featuring a limited menu of movie favorites. No outside food and beverages will be allowed.

The Somerset Patriots Summer Movie Series is presented by RWJBarnabas Health, NJM Insurance Group, T-Mobile, PSE&G, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, and NJEA.

For the safety of our staff and all patrons attending events inside TD Bank Ballpark, masks will be required upon entry to the ballpark and while walking around to restrooms, concessions, and other high traffic areas.  Once you are seated on the field for the movie you may remove your mask as we have ensured proper social distancing between seating areas.

More safety information and guidelines for the events are available on www.somersetpatriots.com.

The Somerset Patriots have brought professional baseball back to New Jersey from Friday, July 17th to Saturday, August 22nd. For more information about the Somerset Patriots and the SOMERSET Professional Baseball Series, please visit www.somersetpatriots.com, follow all of the team’s social media accounts, and download the Somerset Patriots Mobile App.

Share
Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment