The Top 20 Patriots presented by AT&T is a season-long promotion as part of the team’s 20th Season. The Top 20 Patriots were voted on by the fans and ranked by an expert panel of team officials, media, and long-time fans.
“It means a lot because playing for the Patriots meant a lot to me,” said Ayala. “It’s special to have fans still remember you and what you did as part of the team. It’s tough to touch on just one thing. Mainly it was how everybody treated you, whether it was the fans, Sparky and Brett, the staff. It was a great time.”
Ayala played six seasons with the Patriots and has the second most games played for the team with 662. He is among the team’s top five career record holders for at bats (5th), hits (5th), and triples (3rd).
Ayala joined Somerset in July of 2006 and became one of the best utility players in team history, playing the infield and outfield for the team through the 2011 season.
He was an All-Star for the Patriots in 2007, finishing with a .305 batting average, 123 hits, 22 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 15 stolen bases, and 58 RBI in 105 games.
“He was just a player you can count on all the time. He gave 100% and seemed to be one of those guys always in the mix of every big rally or game,” said Somerset Patriots Manager Emeritus Sparky Lyle, who was Ayala’s manager for his tenure with the team. “He’s a great kid and I was honored to have him play for me.”
Ayala finished his Patriots career with a .278 average, 506 hits, 80 doubles, 17 triples, and 208 RBI in 662 games from 2006 through 2011.
Ayala was part of two championship teams in Somerset in 2008 and 2009 and made the playoffs in four of his six seasons with the team.
“It was enjoyable coming back year after year. We all came to the ballpark expecting to win and we had a shot to win it all every season. The team did a great job at recruiting the right guys to be competitive and successful throughout our run,” Ayala added.
The Top 20 Patriots presented by AT&T will be counted down each week throughout the 2017 season. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.
Tickets to the 2017 Somerset Patriots Season presented by Ford, which includes the team’s 20th Anniversary, are on sale now. TD Bank Ballpark will be the host of the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star Game presented by RWJBarnabas Health and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey on Wednesday, July 12th. For more information, stop by the ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.
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 36 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 800 players and 50 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 to metropolitan markets serving nearly 15% of the US population.
For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.