Author: Mark Crayton

Catz Sweep 2 from the Scranton Red Soxx

The Lehigh Valley Catz stayed hot in ACBL action on Sunday, sweeping the Scranton Red Soxx, 7-1, and, 2-0, to improve their record to (6-2). The Catz have gone on a torrid 6 game win streak since opening the season with two losses.

The Catz sent righty Jack Muscalus (Lehigh University) to the mound in game 1, and Muscalus responded with six strong innings of work to pick up his first win of the summer season. Muscalus scattered 7 hits while fanning 6 and allowing 1 walk in the strong effort. Jim Jansen (Rutgers University) came on and fired a scoreless seventh to seal the win.

“You can’t say enough good things about Jack” explained Catz head coach Adrian Yaguez after the game. “We knew going into the season that Jack was going to be one of our top guys on the mound, and today he showed exactly what he can do at this level. He works real hard between his starts and is always trying to improve on an aspect of his game. That’s what we like to see.”

The Catz got on the board early, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning to set the tone. Evan Chipman (Old Dominion) led the game off with a single and scored on an RBI double by Ted Ledbetter (Oklahoma City). Erik Ruff (West Chester University) continued to swing a hot bat, scoring Ledbetter with an RBI double of his own.

Ledbetter got things started for the Catz in the third, reaching base after being hit by a pitch to lead off the frame. Ledbetter later scored on an RBI double by Ruff, and Ruff and Ross Boudreaux (Texarkana College) were both brought home off the RBI double by Matt Bergeron (NE Oklahoma A&M).

“The nice thing right now is that everyone is contributing, everyone has had a hand in getting us back on track after the slow start,” added Yaguez. “I keep telling these guys that this is the way it needs to be, everyone playing, everyone contributing, and so far we seem to be on track.”

In game 2, strong pitching was the story, as the Catz used three pitchers to record their 4th shutout of the season. Righty David Frame (Southwest Texas State) made his first start of the season, firing three innings and recording three K’s and no walks for a no decision. Chas Taylor (Navarro Junior College) fired a perfect fourth inning to pick up the win, and Kris Calhoun (NE Oklahoma A&M) fired a perfect 5th, 6th and 7th inning to record his second save of the season.

Catz Outfielder to Return in 2016

Curtis Smith, a junior outfielder with Creighton University, is the latest addition to the 2016 Lehigh Valley Catz summer collegiate baseball team.

This season will be Smith’s 2nd in the ACBL, as he spent also spent the 2004 summer with the Catz and he tried to find a best BBCOR wood bat. with the good bat That season Curtis hit .313 in 33 games, including 23 stolen bases in only 25 attempts, while playing stellar defense including a most memorable & acrobatic “over-the-shoulder” diving catch in a game vs. the Quakertown Blazers at Memorial Park.

Curtis, with his 23 swipes, is already 3rd on the Catz all-time stolen base career list, trailing only Barrett Ward (Catz 2003, 2004) with 40 stolen bases and Evan Chipman (Catz 2003) who also holds the All-Time ACBL single season record of 49 stolen bases. Curtis stayed with the Pfenning family of Palmer Township in the summer of 2004.

2016 marks his first year with Creighton after a stellar career at Garden City Community College where he hit .389 in the leadoff spot as a freshman while stealing 35-of-38 bases, good for ninth in the nation.

Curtis also added 13 doubles, three triples and three home runs on his way to a second-team all-conference selection. He followed that up by batting .306 as a sophomore, while going a perfect 31-31 on stolen base attempts and ending his junior college career at an incredible 66-69 in stolen bases.

The Creighton Blue Jays, under the direction of Head Coach Ed Servais, went 48-17 last year, capturing the 2005 Missouri Valley Conference Championship.

Catz Head Coach Adrian Yaguez on Curtis Smith: “We are really excited to have Curtis Smith back with the Catz for the 2016 season,” explained Yaguez. “”Curtis had a tremendous season for us back in 04 – and, was immediately offered a contract to join us again. After a year away – it’s good to see him back with us.

I like what Curtis brings to the table – he will be a key part to a strong group of outfielders – and, he makes things happen on the bases. I think Curtis has the tools, great speed, instincts, strong arm – we feel he can play a big role for us again.

We’re glad to give him the opportunity this summer – and, with his experience and maturity, I’m confident he’ll make the most of it.”

Catz Look to Liberty for Lefty

Ryan Page, an impressive 6’ 1” freshman left-handed pitcher from Liberty University, is the latest addition to the 2005 Lehigh Valley Catz roster. Liberty’s Head Coach Matt Royer (formerly the Head Coach at Kutztown University) sees a bright future for Page with the Flames and expects him to be one of the foundations of their future pitching staffs.

Ryan is currently 1-0 on the young 2005 season for the Flames following a recent complete-game win over Bucknell. He went 7 full innings, allowed only 2 runs, neither earned, in the 3-2 victory. Opponents are batting a minuscule .167 off Page thus far this season.

Ryan is a graduate of Seneca Valley High School in Cranberry, Township, Pa. He was named all-section in his senior season after posting a 9-0 mark. Zach Johnson, who was recently chosen in the first round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays after his junior season at Texas A & M, is also a former standout left-handed pitcher out of Seneca Valley High School.

Catz Head Coach Adrian Yaguez on Ryan Page: “We are happy to announce the signing of Ryan Page – as we feel he will fit in nicely to our pitching plans for 2005,” explained Yaguez. “Ryan is off to a great start at Liberty University – where he works under former Major Leaguer Randy Tomlin, and Coach Tomlin strongly recommended Ryan to me back in early September. Ryan will give us another quality arm from the left side – and, we are excited to have him aboard.”

The “Scooter” Latest Catz Addition

The Lehigh Valley Catz are very pleased to announce that Brian “Scooter” Hendrickson, a freshman catcher at Southern Arkansas University will be a member of the 2005 Lehigh Valley Catz. Hendrickson is currently a teammate of former Lehigh Valley Catz standout Ross Boudreaux a senior catcher for SAU. Southern Arkansas finished the 2004 season 45-15 and ranked 10th in the country in NCAA Division II baseball.

Last summer, Scooter was the catcher and leader of the Blue Spring’s A’s Legion team that won the Missouri State Championship and advanced to the American Legion World Series.

Hendrickson was No. 1 in his senior class of 464 students at Blue Springs High School.

Catz Head Coach Adrian Yaguez on the addition of Scooter Hendrickson: “Scooter will be one of two quality catchers we’ll count on this summer,” explained Yaguez. “Scooter comes highly recommended by Ross Boudreaux – and, that’s important to us. Scooter is spending quite a bit of time watching and learning from Ross this year at Southern Arkansas University – and, I feel he realizes his time is coming. We look forward to bringing Scooter aboard – and, we expect him to step right in for us.”

Murphy Back For a Second Summer With Catz

The Lehigh Valley Catz would like to welcome back Brendan Murphy, a 6’ 3” sophomore 1B/DH from Southwest Tennessee Community College. Murphy was drafted by the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) in both the 30th round of the 2004 MLB Draft as well as the 37th of the 2003 MLB Draft.

Brendan transferred to Southwest from Garden City (KS) Community College, where as a freshman last season he batted .294 with nine doubles, one triple, eight home runs, and 36 runs batted in. Murphy has already been voted a Team Captain for the 2005 spring season by his Southwest teammates. Southwest Coach Johnny Ray on Brendan Murphy: “Brendan will hit in the middle of the lineup and provide some much needed offensive punch. He has an outstanding work ethic and a strong desire to succeed in the game.”

Last summer with the Catz, Brendan appeared in 34 games including 23 starts and batted .207 with 5 doubles and 12 RBI’s.

“Murph” had a highly decorated high school career where he batted .630 with 13 home runs, 44 runs batted in, a 1.361 slugging average, and a .739 on-base average and was named a TPX Louisville Slugger High School All-American (2002 and 2003), Baseball America High School All-American second team (2003), Baseball America’s Top 350 Prospects (2002 and 2003) and the Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year (2003).

Last summer Brendan stayed with the Velekei Family of Palmer Township.

Catz Head Coach Adrian Yaguez on the return of Brendan Murphy: “I really enjoyed having Brendan with the team last summer – and, I’m glad he has accepted his offer to return to us for the 2005 season,” explained Yaguez. “There is no question that Brendan is a professional prospect – his accolades speak volumes – and, he deserves this opportunity. We want to see Brendan, as any player that comes through our program, be successful. And, we are excited to be building our club around him this summer.”

2 Baseball Players Receive ACBL Honors

The Lehigh Valley Catz are very proud to announce that two members of our 2004 team have been honored with two prestigious awards as voted on by all eight teams in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, one of only 8 NCAA sanctioned summer collegiate leagues in the entire country.

Barrett Ward

A junior 2nd baseman from the University of Central Arkansas – was named the Most Valuable Player for the 2004 Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League season.

Barrett, in his second summer season with the Catz, had a stellar year where he had a .336 batting average (3rd best in the ACBL), tied for 2nd in the league with 46 hits, was a perfect 25 for 25 in stolen base attempts and led all ACBL 2nd baseman with a .978 fielding percentage, committing only 4 errors in 175 chances.

Barrett was the only player in the ACBL this season with at least 20 runs scored, 20 RBI’s and 20 stolen bases.

He was captain of the 2004 Catz team that finished with the 3rd best overall record in the league, and he finished his Catz career with 85 total hits, making him 2nd on the Catz All-time list.

Barrett spent both his summers in the Lehigh Valley being hosted by the Wilkins family in Palmer Township and practice with the most popular USA bats. Barrett Ward becomes the first Catz player to ever win the ACBL MVP award!

David Jeans

A freshman outfielder from Texarkana College was chosen as the recipient of the Jeff Gallagher Sportsmanship Award for the 2004 ACBL season. David was chosen not only for his sportsmanship on the field but also his contributions to the local Lehigh Valley Community which included his participation in the WZZO/Brown-Daub Miller-Keystone Memorial Blood Donation Drive and Lehigh Valley Catz baseball camps. The Catz staff felt David epitomizes the type of player to be showcased in this league and by our organization.

He is a talented, hard-working athlete who is very respectful and appreciative to all who supported him this summer including his host family the Peterson’s, the Catz coaches and staff as well as the Lehigh Valley Catz fans. He always go into the field with his best outfield gloves. On behalf of the Catz staff, we congratulate David on this much deserved honor.

“We are excited an honored as an organization to have both Barrett and David recognized by the ACBL with such prestigious awards,” said Catz manager Adrian Yaguez. “Barrett really came into this season with the mindset that this was his year – and he worked hard on his game and approach to put himself in this position. I hope Professional Scouts will take notice – as we truly feel Barrett has the tools to compete at the next level. And, for David, what can you say about a kid like that. David let’s his actions speak for themselves — he carries himself like a true professional – and, he represented himself, his family and his college (Texarkana College) with pride and dignity. I hope he decides to come back for another summer – as David is a classic example of the type of prospects we aim to showcase to Major League Baseball.”

Catz Pitcher to return for new season

The Lehigh Valley Catz are proud to announce that Evan Neiser, a left-handed pitcher out of the University of Arkansas Little-Rock and member of the 2002 Lehigh Valley Catz, has signed a letter of commitment and will be a member of the 2003 Catz squad. Neiser is currently 1-0 with 1 save and a 5.14 ERA in 9 appearances for UALR. Evan, now a junior, spent his first two collegiate seasons with NE Oklahoma A & M were he compiled a record of 10-5 over two seasons. Last summer with the Catz, Neiser was 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA earning 2nd Team All-MACBL honors. In addition, Evan fired a complete game shutout in the first round of last year’s MACBL playoffs as the Catz defeated the Moosic Mets 2-0.

Catz Head Coach Adrian Yaguez on the Neiser signing:

“Evan is a huge signing for us and our pitching staff – and I was committed to seeing him back with us in 2003,” explains Coach Yaguez. “Evan gets more out of sheer guts and determination than most kids I’ve been around. He’s not very big, but his heart sure is. He pitched real well for us last year and never backed down from anyone. He brings more to us than just another arm on the staff – He’ll help raise the bar – and make those around him better.”

Evan Chipman-Old Dominion- In two games vs. George Mason, Evan went a combined 3-9 with two runs scored and an RBI. ODU split the two games, losing game one 5-4 in 11 innings, then rebounding to win game two 8-2. In 18 games, Chipman is batting .283 with 10 runs scored and a team-leading 11 stolen bases.

Erik Ruff-West Chester-Erik was swinging a hot bat last week, going 8-18 with 8 RBI’s and 7 runs scored in 5 games played. He raised his overall average to .333 and is now tied for second on the team with 18 RBI’s and 34 total bases. West Chester won all five games last week, running their overall record to 15-3 on the season.

Ted Ledbetter-Oklahoma City- Looking back on our updates last week, Ted was batting an impressive .460 on the season. Somehow, Ledbetter improved on his incredible season and raised his batting average to a whopping .468. In 36 games and 111 at bats already this year, Ted leads OCU with 52 hits, 13 doubles and a .496 on-base %. Ted also has 4 home runs and 35 RBI’s. OCU is 32-5-1 on the season.

Matt Black-Oklahoma City- Matt blasted a two-run HR in a 19-0 OCU victory over St. Gregory’s. Black is now batting .275, with 1 HR and 8 RBI’s in 31 games played.

Please note, all updates are provided by information listed on each school’s individual web site. Catz players are encouraged to have their sports.

Softball Program: “Thank you” from the Hendrickson Family

Scooter called us from college last February and said he was talking to a coach about playing summer softball in Pennsylvania. We really believed that it was a dream that would never come true.

Soon, we received a phone call from Coach Yaguez. He was so good to answer all of my questions and get this set up. Suddenly this dream was a reality and in May I was contacted by a member of Scooter’s host family, Randy Samus. Randy and I talked for a long time exchanging information.

Scooter and I drove a day and a half, the end of May, to reach Easton, Pennsylvania. I loved Randy, Lori and their kids, Sean and Colin. They made us feel part of their family from the very beginning. As soon as we got to Easton, Randy took us to their Memorial Day family picnic where we were greeted openly. I could only spend a couple of days getting Scooter settled in but when I left Pennsylvania to fly back to Kansas City, I knew I was leaving Scooter with a wonderful, supportive family.

I had the opportunity to return to Pennsylvania for 10 days the first of July. During my stay, I was able to attend about 9 softball games. I enjoyed meeting some of the other host families, player’s families, and players.

I thought it was really neat how the host families supported all of the softball players by showing up to the games. At one of the out of town games, a host mother had brought coolers of food and drinks for all the players. Randy and Lori bent over backwards to make sure my stay was a wonderful experience and I will be forever grateful to them for that.

With the end of summer, Scooter was disappointed as well as all of you that they did not get into the playoffs. I think it was because playing up in Pennsylvania with the Catz was such a wonderful experience that he hated it was going to end.

We would like to thank Coach Yaguez for giving Scooter the opportunity to play in Pennsylvania and all of his hard work putting together the Catz team. I can talk about some of hard work that he did. The first, he found USSSA softball bats for all in team, he supported the member to practice, he was looking for funding for the whole team…I had talked to Coach Yaguez about listening to the games on the internet.

Somehow he got that set up and we enjoyed listening to several of the games that way. We know that there are a lot of people that helped put together the Catz schedule, recruited host families, set up bus trips, planned parties, updated the internet site, etc. Thank you all for your many hours to make all of this summer become a reality.

We can’t begin to thank all of the host families, especially Randy and Lori Samus, for their willingness to add a member to their family for the summer and be so supportive.

We really appreciate everything the Samus family did for me and Scooter. We always felt a part of their family and because of that we have made some wonderful friends in Pennsylvania that we will never forget. Thank you all for an experience of a lifetime and making our dreams come true.

Special Thanks from Former Catz Standout-Barrett Ward

Below is an e-mail Pat O’Connell received from Barrett Ward (Member of 2003 & 2004 Catz – 2004 ACBL MVP)

Catz,

I was on the web site seeing how things were going and couldn’t help but think about the memories I had while I was there. I wanted to send y’all an email to let you know how much I appreciate the experience you provided for me.

What you guys do for the players is unbelievable. You open up your homes and lives to a complete stranger in order to give him a chance to make it. It is like you have known him forever and would do anything for him.

I look back and it was one of the best times of my life. I was able to see that part of the country and meet some wonderful people. I only wish I had been able to play there for more years or had some eligibility left.

It is time for the real world now as a pharmaceutical rep. Imagine that me in sales. Never would have thought it, huh? I thank everyone in the organization for what the opportunity you provided me with. I want to send a special thanks to the Wilkins.

They were the best. Over my two summers there I gained another family. I have another Mom and Dad as well as two brothers. Words can’t express how much they mean to me.

Imagine having to put up with a kid from Arkansas who bounces off the wall with all kinds of country slang, and they did it with open arms. I just wanted to let everyone way up yonder know that I am very appreciative of the experience you provide me with and it is a great thing that you are doing for the players. You guys are awesome!!!

Thank you so much and God Bless,

BW

P.S. also could you forward it to the host families and the people apart of making it all possible. I want them to know that I still think about them and that I am thankful.