Bridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots concluded the first half of 2012 with a 35-35 record. The Patriots won four games in a row and six of their last eight contests as the calendar flipped from June to July. Somerset is .500 for the first time in six weeks and seems to be hitting their stride and peaking as they look to make a playoff push in the second half.
The first half of the 2012 campaign was full of exciting moments. We count down the five best moments from the first portion of the season. We include audio clips from Patriots radio play-by-play voice Justin Antweil courtesy of WCTC.
5) The Silent Treatment: Patriots utility infielder Dan DeGeorge and catcher Adam Donachie are more known for their stellar defense than their offense prowess. But occasionally even the unlikeliest of players connects on a home run ball. On June 29th and July 8th DeGeorge and Donachie each tallied their first and only home runs of the season respectively. After they rounded the bases their teammates completely ignored them in the dugout. A few minutes later after DeGeorge and Donachie were isolated in the corner of the dugout near the Gatorade cooler, their teammates swarmed them with high fives and hugs. It was a jovial gesture that really builds team unity and camaraderie.
Audio clip of DeGeorge’s home run against the Bluefish on June 29th
Audio clip of Donachie’s home run against the Blue Crabs on July 8th
4) Paul Phillips’ Dominance: Coming into the season Paul Phillips had never been a starting pitcher in his six years in minor league baseball. He was tabbed by Pitching Coach Brett Jodie as the fourth starter in the opening day rotation as he made the transition from reliever to starter. But Phillips quickly impressed and emerged as the staff ace. He finished his stint as a member of the red, white and blue with a 8-2 record and a 3.10 ERA. On June 30th his contract was purchased by the Lamigo Monkeys of Taiwan.
Audio clip of Phillips’ final out on June 29th which would be his final time on the mound as a Patriot
3) Jesse Hoorelbeke’s Walk-Off Win on Father’s Day: The Patriots have seven wins in their final at bat this season. One of them came off the bat of All-Star first baseman Jesse Hoorelbeke on June 17th. His father was listening across the country in Spokane, Washington on wctcam.com on Father’s Day as his son Jesse smacked a game winning single against the two time reigning Atlantic League Champion York Revolution to send a sellout crowd at TD Bank Ballpark home happy as the Patriots won 3-2 to earn a series split.
Audio clip of Hoorelbeke’s game winning walk-off single against the Revolution on Father’s Day
2) Jeff Nettles Breaks More Atlantic League Records: Third baseman Jeff Nettles is the longest tenured Patriot and is an eight time Atlantic League All-Star and a four time Atlantic League Champion. Last year he became the Atlantic League leader in RBI (643) and this year he broke three more records. He now has the most at bats in league history (3,467), played in the most games in league history (938), and eclipsed the all-time league hits record as he now has 988 career Atlantic League hits. He broke the hits record held by Rolando Avila on May 7th at home against the Sugar Land Skeeters. Nettles registered career base hit number 934 with a single up the middle in the fifth inning.
Audio clip of Nettle’s record breaking base hit on May 7th against Sugar Land
1) Johnny Drennen’s Three Magical Nights: Patriots manager Sparky Lyle called outfielder Johnny Drennen’s three games in early May the most clutch performances he’s ever seen from a Somerset Patriot player in a three day stretch in the franchise’s 15 year history. On three consecutive days from May 2nd to May 4th Drennen hit three home runs in three consecutive days all in the eighth inning or later all to either tie or give the Patriots the lead.
Audio clip of Drennnen’s go ahead home run on the 10th inning on May 3rd
Audio clip of Drennen’s go ahead home run in the 8th inning on May 4th