DAN GAYESKI: BACK WITH THE T-BOLTS
DeSales Junior Returns to the T-Bolts after Sitting Out 2012 with Tommy Johns Surgery - By Gary Sarnoff
Dan Gayeski is back. After enduring the long road to recovery following Tommy John surgery, and missing the entire 2012 college season, the tall right-handed pitcher from New Castle, Delaware, returns to the Silver Spring-Tacoma Thunderbolts for the 2013 season. “There were brief moments after the surgery when I questioned if it was worth it,” said Gayeski, who added that the post-operation pain also made him wonder. “My friends encouraged me and that helped me decide to put my mind to it.” And this spring, the 6’6 Gayeski posted a 6-1 record at De Sales University to reclaim his all-conference status. Now with a successful 2013 collegiate season in the books, and after taking his last exam of the semester, Gayeski is ready for the “new” Thunderbolts and the 2013 Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League season. “I’m excited about being back with the Thunderbolts since signing to return.”
Flashback to June 18th, 2011. Gayeski, coming off an excellent collegiate season in which he was named the Freedom Conference pitcher-of-the-year, trotted out of the T-Bolts’ bullpen before 320 fans at Montgomery Blair Stadium to face the Baltimore Red Birds in the top of the seventh. After retiring a batter, Gayeski throw a slider and felt a “pop” in his right elbow. Then came a tingling feeling followed by the pain from his shoulder through his fingertips. Determined to complete the inning, he toughed it out to retire the side. When he entered the T-Bolts dugout after the inning, the injury had gone from tingling to painful to unbearable. One pitch resulting in a torn ligament, and Dan’s 2011 season was over. A month later, he was on the operating table.
“My shoulder and upper back were underdeveloped,” Gayeski said in regard to the cause of the injury, “and that put too much strain on my elbow.”
After deciding that quitting was not an option, Gayeski began to stretch out, then went through the exercises to regain the range and motion in his pitching arm. By late December he was making light tosses. Gradually, he made longer and longer tosses and, in April, he was back on the mound, although throwing lightly. He worked his way to 135 pitches per week, and after sitting out the 2012 college season as a medical red-shirt, he pitched in the Blue Mountain League. “I worried about pitching innings and working my arm back into shape.” To be safe, he stuck with his top two pitches: the two-seam fastball and change-up, and reframed from throwing his slider and curve.
“I’m excited to play against major college ballplayers,” Gayeski says about competing against the strong competition of the CRCBL. He is also looking forward to working to strengthen his mechanics and build for his senior season at De Sales University. “I hope to go out there and get a few outs and reduce my hits and walks.”
The time and effort along the path to recovery was worth it for this pitcher. Welcome back, Dan Gayeski.
RETURNING T-BOLT JAKE TAYLOR: MORE THAN JUST A POWER HITTER
T-Bolts Sports Writer and Analyst Gary Sarnoff sat down recently to talk with returning T-Bolts First Baseman Jake Taylor.
“No, I’m not him,” said a member of the Montgomery College baseball team after someone asked him if he was Jake Taylor. “He’s four to five inches taller than I am.” The collegian then pointed to the 6’4 power-hitting infielder of the Silver Spring-Tacoma Thunderbolts, who was toeing the rubber on the pitcher’s mound on a sunny day at the school’s Germantown campus ball field. The person asking for Taylor was baffled. “Since when does Jake Taylor pitch?” he asked.
Most T-Bolts fans would be surprised to know that Jake Taylor does in fact pitch, and he’s good at it. Last Tuesday in Germantown he hurled five strong innings to earn the win to increase his season record to 5-1. “I was an All-Metro pitcher my senior year (at Our Lady of Good Council High School),” said Taylor. “I went 6-1 with a few saves.”
But as T-Bolts fans and opposing pitchers of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Basebll League know, Jake Taylor can hit. “Radford University wanted me to bat only,” Taylor said about his freshman and sophomore college seasons. “Pitching was out.” After two seasons as a part-timer at Radford, Taylor transferred to Montgomery College where he is enjoying his finest collegiate season after sitting out in 2012 due to the one year transfer ineligibility rule.
In addition to his pitching duties, Taylor plays first base and designated hitter for the Raptors. He is currently batting .455, has hit 9 of his team’s 16 home runs, and leads Montgomery College with 40 RBI in just 27 games. And his slugging percentage currently stands at .875. “Pitching helps me focus on hitting and vice-a-versa. It helps clear my mind and keeps me focused.” Taylor also attributes his improved batting to changing his swing to “a more consistent swing.”
If scouts are looking at Taylor’s impressive pitching and batting stats, they might be thinking that he is the Babe Ruth of the mid-Atlantic Region of division III baseball. But before T-Bolts fans get too excited about number 24 imitating the great Bambino by pitching a win one day and hit a homer the next, they need to know that Taylor is tabbed strictly to play in the infield. However, unlike last season when Taylor played first base, he hopes to get time at third base this summer. “Might as well show what I can do, right?” says Taylor, “might as well show my versatility.”
Last season, Taylor was very productive at the plate, whacking 13 home runs (2nd best in the CRCBL), driving in 35 runs (to finish in the top ten of the CRCBL), and earning a spot in the CRCBL All-Star Game. This season, he will have he luxury of his Montgomery College season leading into his season with the T-Bolts. “I use the two seasons to feed into one another.”
Taylor, who says he loves playing in the CRCBL, will be surrounded by a cast of new teammates since he is just one of three returning players from the 2012 T-Bolts. He will also be playing for a new manager in Doug Remer, who he became familiar with by sacrificing his Friday evenings during the fall to help instruct at Remer’s baseball clinics.
New teammates, a new manager; there will be changes in store for Taylor and the T-Bolts in 2013. But one thing that remains the same is that Jake Taylor will be in there swinging, playing hard, and showing his versatility.
No question about that. [See also Montgomery Gazette to read about Jake in the Montgomery Gazette].
T-BOLTS NEW HEAD COACH DOUG REMER READY TO MAKE HIS MARK – AN ARTICLE BY GARY SARNOFF
T-Bolts Sports Writer and Analyst Gary Sarnoff sat down recently to talk with new T-Bolts Head Coach Doug Remer.
Forecast Looks Bright for Thunderbolts
March 19, 2013
“Our team will have more energy this season”
Are the rainy days of the Silver Spring-Tacoma Thunderbolts coming to an end? After two last place finishes in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, the sun may finally shine once again on Montgomery Blair Stadium and the T-Bolts’ championship hopes. How long until the Thunderbolts reach the promise land remains to be seen, however, the team took a big step toward going from worst to first when General Manager David Stinson announced the hiring of Doug Remer as the T-Bolts new head coach.
No, the new head coach isn’t a miracle worker. Nobody is expecting Remer to simply part the waters for a clear path to a T-Bolts Championship. What the new coach will bring is confidence, spirit, and a new look to the 2013 Thunderbolts. “Expect a team that is aggressive, fun, exciting, loose, and enthusiastic,” Remer says. And we can also expect a better team. “We will compete. We’re not going 9-33 this year.”
Remer is a teacher who values the importance of preparation to be sure his players are unafraid to make mistakes in game situations, and have the opportunity to do well. “Go out there and play loose,” he tells them, and “trust what you do.” He understands that each player has a different style and a different role for the team. “Be honest with your players about their role, and that it can change.” Team spirit and support are also in order. When a player makes a nice play, he expects his team to say “nice play!” Another way he inspires his players is by reminding them that winning baseball receives recognition.
The head coach considers himself to be defensive minded. That will be tested this summer as he inherits a T-Bolts team that finished last in pitching and defense. Remer, however, assures that those departments will become assets instead of liabilities.
As for the offense, “we’ll have a good hitting team.” Last season, the T-Bolts set the league’s high-water mark for home runs. This season one can expect a strong running game, if going on Remer’s past record. As a collegiate player, Remer ran even without the green light and swiped 16 bases in his senior season at Savannah State University. Last spring, his Springbrook High School varsity team set a record for stolen bases.
Facing an uphill battle is a familiar task for Remer. Being an overachiever himself during his playing days (“I didn’t have the best mechanics”), he learned the value of hard work and baseball savvy to win ballgames. As the new varsity head coach at Springbrook last year, he inherited a program that had won just six of their last sixty-six games. In 2012, the Devils won six times with a roster of underclassmen and just two seniors. This season Springbrook is expected to post a winning record.
He knows the CRCBL and the college summer leagues. Remer followed the T-Bolts and the rest of the league last summer. He coached a season in the old Clark Griffith League for the D.C. Grays, a team that had just six pitchers and a roster composed by another source. This spring, he has had the luxury of comprising his own team and has already inked twenty-two players, including Rey Ordenez Jr., the son of the former major league player, and a cousin of current Angles outfielder, Vernon Wells. Two familiar names on this year’s roster are hard-hitting first baseman Jake Taylor (Montgomery College) and catcher Jerry Chavaria (Southern). Taylor, second in the Cal Ripken Sr. League with 13 home runs last season, spared his Friday evenings last fall to help Remer instruct his baseball clinic at Northwood High School (go Gladiators!).
“Baseball should be fun,” says Remer. The fun begins on June 6th, when the Thunderbolts open their 2013 season at Montgomery Blair Stadium versus the Gaithersburg Giants.
END OF SEASON AND A COUPLE OF FIRSTS
On July 24th, the second to last home game of the season, T-Bolts pitcher/infielder/catcher Joel Rosencrance (St. Bonaventure) added the title of Player-Head Coach to his T-Bolts resume. With the game being scheduled for 2:00 pm – it was a make up game against the Vienna River Dogs – and our head coach unavailable, Joel was called upon to manage the team for that game. It was the first time in the T-Bolts’ 13 year history that a player managed a game for the Thunderbolts.
On July 26th, the last home game of the season, the T-Bolts celebrated Tie-Dye T-Shirt Night. The entire team donned Tie-Dye Jerseys hand-crafted by T-Bolts interns Dylan Stinson and Claire Ettinger. The T-Bolts wore the shirts during the game, which was another first for the club, and made for a groovy team picture.
MIGHTY JAKE TAYLOR IN THE NEWS
Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts First Baseman Jake Taylor was featured in this week’s edition of the Gazette Newspapers. Taylor, who recently won the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Home Run Derby, is profiled for his prolific slugging for the T-Bolts, as well as his all around good-natured spirit. For those who remember last year’s team, Jake is reminiscent of the T-Bolts’ 2011 Slugging First Baseman Bill Gerstenslager.
For a link to the Gazette article, click Gazette Article About Jake Taylor
DOJ NIGHT AT BLAIR STADIUM
In addition to July 13th being Host Family Night, the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts welcomed current and former Department of Justice employees to Blair Stadium during its second annual DOJ Night. The good news is that during the game no discussion of The Law was heard emanating from the group, and no one sitting around them complained about hearing any excessive use of Latin phrases. Generally, they all seemed to be, quite simply, fans of the game. Habete ludi everyone!
T-BOLTS IN THE NEWS
Two Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts were featured recently in the Gazette Newspapers.
Former Blake High School star and current Thunderbolt Third Baseman Tommy Cunningham was featured in a June 20th article in the Gazette. Here’s the link: Gazette Article About Tommy Cunningham
Former Blair High School Standout Peirce Marston was featured in a July 3rd article in the Gazette. Here’s the link: Gazette Article About Perice Marston
Congratulations Tommy and Peirce and thanks to the Gazette for the coverage of the T-Bolts.
T-BOLTS FANS RALLY TO HELP THE HOMELESS – SHEPHERD’S TABLE NIGHT JUNE 23RD
Many thanks to the fans who brought donations of food, gently-used clothing, and money for Shepherd’s Table at Blair Stadium Saturday night June 23rd. Fans brought many “Wish List” items for Shepherd’s Table to the game. Shepherd’s Table’s Executive Director Jacki Coyle was on hand to throw out the first pitch and, we are glad to report, she did not bounce her throw to T-Bolts pitcher turned catcher Joel Rosencrance.
If you would still like to donate to Shepherd’s Table, please feel free to bring your donations to Blair Stadium at any of the upcoming home games and we will be glad to take those donations directly to Shepherd’s Table.
Wish items include Food Items such as Margarine or Butter, Pepper, Salad Dressing, Hot Sauce, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Canned Vegetables (large, #10 cans), Soup (cream-based or broth), Spices (large containers), Coffee, Creamer, Sweet-N-Low or Other Sugar Substitutes, Kitchen Items such as Aluminum Foil (large industrial roll), Saran Wrap, Paper Napkins, Windex, Tide Laundry Detergent (powder), Metal Silverware (spoons and forks), and Clothing Items such as new and gently-used clothing and shoes, Sweaters, Sweatshirts, Sweatpants, Men’s Jackets, Long Sleeve Shirts, New Socks and undergarments. They also need Shampoo (travel-size bottles) and Blankets.
Extra, Extra Read All About It – an article about European Baseball by T-Bolts’ Journalist Gary Sarnoff
Europe Is Catching Baseball Fever by Gary Sarnoff
When they say baseball is played in foreign countries, we think of Japan, Taiwan, and Latin American nations, and when we envision professional European athletes, we think of hockey and basketball. But that’s changing. This is because Major League Baseball is working to develop players, coaches, and fans in countries that we never thought would catch baseball fever. They are now playing baseball in Africa, Brazil, and throughout Europe, thanks to Major League Baseball, which has devoted an entire department to developing players and fans in these countries.
Mickey Shupin, who played baseball two summers for the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, works for Major League Baseball’s Department of International Development. He is the senior coordinator of Marketing and Game Development, and his job calls for him to be a globetrotter in order to develop players, leagues, kid’s leagues, and a fan base at each stop. Each year he organizes and oversees the European Baseball Academy in Italy, where fifty-five of Europe’s best players, ages 15 to 18, are invited to train during the month of August. “These kids are a lot better than most people think they are,” says Shupin. He must be right, because a past participant from the academy is now in the big leagues. Alex Liddi of Sanremo, Italy received the honor of becoming the first player from the academy to make it when he was called up by the Mariners at the tail end of the 2011 season.
European Baseball Academy is not just for players
Twenty-five European coaches are also invited to join the players and receive training. Major League scouts are also included, and so are former major league players, who are on the coaching staff. The academy’s participants get to rub elbows and learn from such former major league stars as Bruce Hurst, Wally Joyner, and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin.
Shupin’s responsibilities also include getting European kids into college summer leagues – like the Cal Ripken League – and on college rosters. “Most of these kids go to JUCOs [Junior Colleges] because of the language barrier,” he says, “but some go to small four-year colleges, and soon you are going to see them playing at the D1 [Division 1-- the top of college athletics in the United States] level.”
Major League Baseball to Become Like Other Professional Sports Leagues
The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are currently ahead of baseball in European player development, but one can take an example from these sports to see where baseball is heading. Last season, thirteen of the thirty NHL captains were from Europe, “a statistic that would have been unthinkable in the 1990’s,” said Kevin Allen, a sportswriter from the USA Today. Fourteen of the NBA’s draft picks last year were Europeans; another fact that would have been unthinkable in the past. And it’s just a matter of time before European baseball players will have people saying how unthinkable it would have been in 2012.
LOCAL SILVER SPRING GROUPS COME OUT FOR A GREAT NIGHT OF BASEBALL
On June 11, 2012 members of Good Shepard Episcopal Church and little leaguers from TPSS Youth Baseball attended the T-Bolts game against the Alexandria Aces.
Members of TPSS Baseball Rookies, Machine Pitch, and Minors brought a sense of excitement to the stands comparable to the excitement on the field.Just a few of the many TPSS players gathered for a picture behind home plate during the game. THE FIRST ANNUAL T-BOLTS/HIGH SCHOOL MIXED INTERSQUAD SCRIMMAGE
On June 3, 2012, six graduating seniors of Northwood High School’s varsity baseball team and two Blair High School varsity baseball alumni participated in the first annual T-Bolts/High School mixed squad scrimmage at Blair Stadium.
Members of the Northwood team were Carter Stinson, Andrew Soncrant, Neil Epstein, Spencer Bodan, Jeremy Taitano, and Matt Bryson. Members of the Blair team were Britton Smith and Ben Buchholz.
The A Team defeated the B-Team 6-5 (five innings) with Head Coach Josh Eachues taking the mound during innings 3 and 4 for the A-Team.
TWO ST. LOUIS CARDINALS VISIT T-BOLTS
During the 2011 season, two St. Louis Cardinals Pitchers, Ryan Franklin and Kyle Lohse, attended a T-Bolts game.
Kyle Lohse went on to start Game 3 of the World Series for the Cardinals.