Somerset Patriots Re-Sign New Jersey Native James Pugliese

Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have announced the signing of right-handed pitcher James Pugliese for the 2020 season.

“From day one, the entire organization made me feel like I was already a part of the family,” said Pugliese. “I can’t wait to play in front of the greatest fans in baseball and help bring a championship back to Somerset.” Pugliese Blogs 2020

Pugliese enters his second season with the Somerset Patriots and third in the Atlantic League. The righty finished second on the Patriots in appearances (45) last year after he was acquired in an offseason trade with the York Revolution. Pugliese finished his first season in Somerset 4-1 with a 3.62 ERA, one save and 59 strikeouts against just 17 walks over 59.2 innings of work and was named a Mid-Season All-Star.

His strong season was highlighted by a notable month of July in which the New Jersey native allowed just one earned run across 13.1 innings pitched that spanned 12 appearances, good for a 0.68 ERA. Pugliese was also often used in a long-relief role, with 18 multi-inning appearances and 14 appearances in which he worked at least two innings.

The Trenton native arrived in York in late June, 2018 and posted a 5-1 record with a 2.29 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 35.1 innings pitched as a reliever. This came after he began the year with Double-A Tennessee in the Chicago Cubs organization, where he struck out five batters over six relief appearances.

Pugliese truly excelled in the second half of the 2018 season. He only allowed four runs over 28.2 innings of work after the All-Star Break, good for a 1.26 ERA. That included a stretch from August 6th through September 5th where he made 12 consecutive scoreless relief appearances with 17 strikeouts against just three walks. Additionally, the 27 year-old boasted the second-lowest ERA among all Atlantic League pitchers in the month of August (min. 10 appearances) and allowed just one run over his final 16 appearances of the season.

“We are proud to announce the return of James Pugliese,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “James is a very unselfish player that just wants to help the team win. ‘Pug’ will pitch and can pitch in virtually any role and is effective doing so. Pugliese takes pride in working fast, pounding the zone with strikes and keeping the hitters off balance. He locates his fastball well and his change up can be a difference-maker type of pitch. Pug is a great guy in the clubhouse and very important piece of our 2020 pitching staff.”

Pugliese spent the first seven seasons of his professional career in the Cubs organization, including four separate stints at the Double-A level. He was twice named a Mid-Season All-Star in his time as a Cubs farmhand; once with Low-A Boise in 2013 and a second time with Double-A Tennessee in 2017. That 2017 marked arguably his best in professional baseball, posting a 7-2 record with a 1.84 ERA with one save over 40 appearances (seven starts).

The Steinert High School standout played one year of college baseball at Mercer County College. He went 6-1 with a 1.27 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 56.2 innings at MCC before the Cubs selected him in the 18th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur draft.

Pugliese owns a 38-26 record with a 3.36 ERA over his nine-year 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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Somerset Patriots To Host National Anthem Auditions On March 7th

Anthems Social2020Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots, along with Magic 98.3 FM and WCTC 1450 AM, have announced that the team will host National Anthem Auditions on Saturday, March 7th from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Bridgewater Commons Mall.

The event will be a fundraiser designed to benefit Operation Shoebox New Jersey, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting donated supplies to ship care packages to U.S. troops based overseas.

There will be a $10 fee to audition, with 100% of the proceeds to benefit Operation Shoebox New Jersey.  The $10 donation is tax deductible and all participants will have the opportunity to sign a letter that will be included in a care package to a soldier.

The Patriots will audition soloists and small groups during the event with up to ten winners being selected to return as finalists to sing the National Anthem in front of judges at TD Bank Ballpark at a later date.  During this time the judges will have the chance to hear the finalists sing the National Anthem and give final approval to perform at the ballpark during the season.

Interested individuals can register for the auditions online by CLICKING HERE! Any questions can be directed to Samantha Reynolds at sreynolds@somersetpatriots.com.

The Patriots are looking for participants of all ages with no prior auditioning experience for the team.  Past winners are asked not to audition again as the team already has their information on file to be used again when needed.  Singers will be judged on vocal talent, stage presence and their ability to perform before a large crowd.

During the auditions, each singer will have up to one minute to sing, a cappella, the song of their choice.  Contestants will not be permitted to sing the National Anthem at this time.  All contestants will be required to perform a song that is appropriate for a family audience.

The team will also set up a waiting list to provide a chance for singers to fill in if a registered individual cannot make the audition.  All participants must pre-register with the Somerset Patriots.

The event will take place at center court on the lower level of Bridgewater Commons. In addition to the National Anthem auditions, the event will include interactive games and contests for mall patrons to win prizes, special offers for tickets and merchandise, and the ability to interact with team representatives. Sparkee The Mascot and his pal Slider will be at the mall to entertain young fans.

This is the 17th year the Patriots will be hosting National Anthem auditions and fourth time the event will take place at Bridgewater Commons.

Representatives from Operation Shoebox New Jersey will be on-site to help promote their organization and encourage additional donations for our troops.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey has shipped more than 170,000 total packages to U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and other posts in the Middle East. For more information, visit www.opshoeboxnj.org.

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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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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