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May recap HILLCATS IN THICK OF PLAYOFF CHASE FOLLOWING SEE-SAW MAY Despite a 13-14 record in the month of May, the Lynchburg Hillcats are right in the middle of the playoff hunt, as they entered June just 0.5 games back of the Potomac Nationals for the Carolina League North Division lead. They play host to the Nationals June 8-10 and the Salem Red Sox, who aren’t far behind, on June 14-17 to close out the first half of the season at City Stadium. RAKING AT THE PLATE Shortstop Luke Wakamatsu is starting to heat up offensively. The switch-hitter is bat- ting .328 over his final 16 games of the month. He has five extra-base hits and has six RBI during that span, including his first home run of the season on May 22, in Myrtle Beach. On May 8, Wakamatsu’s batting average was .162, and he has since raised that to .209 (47 points). He has also hit safely in 12 of his final 17 games in the month. Outfielder Mitch Longo batted .300 for the month of May, and hit safely in 18 of the 24 games he played during the month. Longo clubbed a grand slam against Salem on May 12, and lined a leadoff home run on the first pitch of the ballgame against Myrtle Beach on May 21. He led the team in May with 30 hits, and was tied for the team lead with five doubles and 16 runs scored. Since coming off the disabled list in late April, Anthony Miller really picked up his play at the plate in May. He batted .293 over the month, and raised his overall average 36 points in the process. Miller also slugged three home runs in the month, and enjoyed a 4-RBI game May 15 against Frederick.
NEWCOMERS BECOME FRONT RUNNERS On the pitching side, the Hillcats made several additions in the month of May, and each player has impressed. James Karinchak joined the team at the beginning of the month, and in eight outings did not allow an earned run. The right-hander has served as the team’s closer since his promotion from Single-A Lake County, picking up four saves, and holding opponents to a .167 average. He has struck out 15 batters in nine innings of work. Felix Tati has impressed in the rotation. In four starts in May, he posted a 2-1 record and a 3.27 ERA. Tati has a knack for working around trouble and out of jams, allowing only 8 of his 29 baserunners to come around to score. Finally, after pitching to a 1.83 ERA in Lake County, Eli Morgan got the call-up to Lynchburg midway through the month. The righty has shown no signs of slowing down at the Advanced-A level, going 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three starts since his pro- motion. He has struck out 18 while walking just three in 18.1 innings of work. ROLLER-COASTER RIDE The Hillcats have enjoyed high peaks and suffered through low valleys throughout the season, and the month of May was no exception. They dropped nine of 11 games from April 27-May 8, hitting .205 with a 5.59 ERA. The Hillcats would rebound, win- ning eight of their next nine games from May 9-20, hitting .340 as a team, with six home runs. Most recently, the Hillcats closed the month losing seven of ten, striking out 108 times, and hitting just .207 over that stretch. RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY If there was one consistency in the month of May, it was the rain. The Hillcats suf- fered four rain delays, three postponements, and a cancellation with the Buies Creek Astros. So far, Mother Nature showed no let-up to begin the month of June, forcing another postponement and cancellation in the Hillcats series against the Keys to open the month.
Hillcats 2018 Roster
Last Updated: May 29, 2018 NUMERICALROSTER
Birthplace Glendora, CA
1 6 7 8 9
Conner Capel Alexis Pantoja Jodd Carter Gavin Collins Jorma Rodriguez Mitch Longo Luke Wakamatsu Trenton Brooks Jared Robinson Logan Ice Ben Krauth Sam Hentges Li-Jen Chu Emmanuel Tapia Tanner Tully Micah Miniard Anderson Polanco James Karinchak Dillon Persinger Anthony Miller Luis Jimenez Eli Morgan Justin Garza
36 23 41 37 22 31 34 32 15 45 44 46 29
Justin Garza Sam Hentges Luis Jimenez Ben Krauth Micah Miniard James Karinchak Anderson Polanco Jared Robinson Eli Morgan
R/R 5’10 170 8th Rd. - 2015
3/20/94 24 7/18/96 21 9/22/95 22 3/10/94 24 4/12/96 22 5/13/96 22 11/20/94 23 7/19/95 22 8/10/92 25 1/2/95 22 9/6/92 25
L/L 6’6 R/R 6’4 R/R 6’3
245 4th Rd.- 2014 170 Intl FA - 2013 230 9th Rd. - 2017 180 16th Rd. - 2016 195 8th Rd. - 2014 190 Intl FA - 2011 190 11th Rd. - 2014 190 Intl FA - 2014 180 10th Rd. - 2015 190 Intl FA - 2013 200 26th Rd. - 2016
Maplewood, MN Yaguate, D.R.
Walden, N.Y. Concord, CA Danville, KY
10 12 13 15 20 22 23 27 28 29 31 32 34 36 37 38 40 41 44 45 46
R/R 5’10 190 8th Rd. - 2017
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA Santo Domingo, D.R.
MV AZL LYN LYN MV LC
R/R 6’0 R/R 6’2
West Covina, CA
Dalbert Siri Billy Strode
Boca Raton, FL Quisqueya, D.R.
Li-Jen Chu Logan Ice
R/R 5’11 200 Intl. FA - 2012
S/R 5’10 180 2nd Rd.-CBA-2016 5/27/95
INFIELDERS (6+1 DL)
Gavin Collins* Anthony Miller Alexis Pantoja Dillon Persinger Jorma Rodriguez Emmanuel Tapia Luke Wakamatsu
R/R 5’11 190 13th Rd. - 2016
7/17/95 22 10/4/94 23 1/18/96 22 1/31/96 22 3/25/96 22 2/26/96 22 10/10/96 21
Newport Beach, CA Kansas City, MO Manati, Puerto Rico Fountain Valley, CA Palo Negro, Venezuela
Billy Strode Dalbert Siri Felix Tati
240 18th Rd. - 2015
L/R 5’11 150 9th Rd. - 2014 R/R 5’11 180 18th Rd. - 2017 R/R 5’10 150 Intl. FA - 2012
215 Intl. FA - 2013 185 20th Rd. - 2015
Santo Domingo Centro, D.R. LC
Birthplace Alpine, CA Katy, TX
Justin Toole TonyArnold Rougie Odor Grant Fink
Trenton Brooks Conner Capel Jodd Carter Mitch Longo
180 17th Rd. - 2016 185 5th Rd. - 2016
17 24 33
5/19/97 21 7/20/96 21 1/12/95 23
R/R 5’10 175 24th Rd. - 2014
185 14th Rd. - 2016
* - Disabled List *** - Indians 40-man roster % - Inactive player # - MLB rehab ^ - Restricted List
Rougie Odor TonyArnold Justin Toole Grant Fink Bobby Ruiz Eric Ortego
Pitching Coach Hitting Coach Bench Coach Athletic Trainer
Strength & Conditioning Coach
5/29 - INFDillon Persinger promoted toA-Adv. Lynchburg from Single-ALake County 5/29 - 3B/C Gavin Collins placed on 7-day DL 5/26 - INFJorma Rodriguez transferred toA-Adv. Lynchburg from Double-AAkron 5/26 - INF Dillon Persinger transferred to Single-ALake County from A-Adv. Lynchburg 5/23 - RHPFelixTati promoted toA-Adv. Lynchburg from Single-A Lake County 5/23 - RHPZach Plesac promoted to Double-AAkron fromA-Adv. Lynchburg
1 6 9
Conner Capel Alexis Pantoja Jorma Rodriguez Luke Wakamatsu Sam Hentges James Karinchak
13 23 37
Alexis Pantoia Infielder
Anderson Polanco Pitcher
Ben Krauth Pitcher
Anthony Miller Infielder
Billy Strode Pitcher
Connor Capel Outfielder
Dalbert Siri Pitcher
Emmanuel Tapia Infielder
Erlin cerda Infielder
Henry Martinez Pitcher
Logan Ice Catcher
Luis Jimenez Pitcher
Li-Jen Chu Catcher
Luke Wakamatsu Infielder
Mitch Longo Outfielder
Jake Paulson Pitcher
Micah Miniar Pitcher
Jodd Carter Outfielder
Justin Garza Pitcher
Kieran Lovegrove Pitcher
Gavin Collins Infielder
Sam Hentges Pitcher
Tanner Tully Pitcher
Trenton Brooks Outfielder
Zach Plesac Pitcher
Donated $55k+ to local youth league teams and non-profit organizations
Donated 12,000 books designed by the Lynchburg Hillcats and 24,000 tickets to students in Central Virginia.
32 Player appearances to local schools and organizations.
75 Southpaw community appearances.
Presented “Southpaw Goes to School” Reading Program to 50 different schools across 5 counties.
Hosted 8 middle schools and over 800 students for “Say No to Drugs Day at the Ballpark.”
$179k+ in in-kind gifts donated to community organizations.
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Bieber Makes MLB Debut for Tribe, Becomes 169th Hillcat to Reach Majors Shane Bieber Where Are They Now
second. He earned a Carolina League Pitcher of the Week award last June. The Orange, Calif. native has enjoyed continued success this season, posting a 5-1 record and an outstanding 1.10 ERA in 10 starts. He began the season in Akron, where he started five games, and was promoted to Triple-A Colum- bus on May 3. Bieber made five starts with the Clippers before earning his Major League promotion. In his outing for Columbus on May 25, the right-hander hurled a rain-short- ened seven-inning no-hitter against the Gwinnett Stripers. He faced the minimum, allowing just one base runner on an error, while striking out seven. He threw 61 of his 80 pitches for strikes. Drafted by the Indians in the fourth round in the 2016 MLB draft out of UC Santa Barbara, Bieber becomes the 20th Gauchos player to play in the Major Leagues. Bieber, who is currently the Indians third ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, Bieber is the 169th Hillcats player to make his Major League debut since 1995, and is the sixth to make his debut for the Indians since Cleveland took over the Lynchburg affiliation in 2015. Bieber joins Perci Garner (2016), Adam Plutko (2016), Bradley Zimmer (2017), Greg Allen (2017), and Francisco Mejia (2017) to play for the Indians at the big league level. needed just 47 minor league games to earn the call-up to The Show.
Former Hillcats starter fans six in spot start against Twins Lynchburg, Va. - Former Lynchburg Hillcats starting pitcher, Shane Bieber, struck out six, and did not allow a run through his first four innings, in his major league debut for the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, May 31, getting the start against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The right-hander struck out Brian Dozier to begin his outing, setting down the first ten batters he faced. Bieber worked 5.2 innings and gave up eight hits and four runs, including back-to- back home runs to Logan Morrison and Eduardo Escobar in his final frame. He exited in line for the win, leading 8-4 in the sixth, but was forced to settle for the no-decision as the Tribe let their lead get away in the late innings. Cleveland would come back to win the game, 9-8. Bieber, 22, donned a Hillcats uniform just one season ago, when he went 6-1 with a 3.10 Double-A Akron in July. In 90 innings with the Hillcats, Bieber struck out 82 while walking just four, posting a WHIP of 1.10. Overall in 2017, combining his time with Single-A Lake County, A-Adv. Lynch- burg and Akron, the right-hander went 10-5 to go along with a 2.86 ERA over 28 starts. Bieber led the Cleveland Indians farm system with 173.1 in- nings pitched, and his 2.86 ERA ranked ERA in 14 starts for Lynchburg, before earning a promotion to
Bieber, 22, donned a Hillcats uniform just one season ago
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lynchburg hillcats roster As of 5/30/2017
Pitchers B/T Height Weight DOB
1 Columbus/Akron/LC/MV Mahoning Valley Lake County Lynchburg/Lake County Lynchburg/Lake County Lynchburg Lynchburg/Lake County Lynchburg/AZL Lake County Lake County/Mahoning Valley Akron/Lynchburg Lynchburg/Lake County Lynchburg/Lake County 2016 Club Lynchburg/Lake County Lynchburg/Lake County Akron/Lynchburg 2016 Club Akron/Lynchburg Columbus/Akron/Lynchburg Lynchburg/Lake County Lake County Lynchburg/LC/MV Lake County Lake County/Mahoning Valley Lynchburg/LC/MV Lynchburg/Lake County Lake County 2016 Club 2016 Club
34 Angulo, Argenis 22 Bieber, Shane 30 Chiang, Shao-Ching 23 DeMasi, Dominic 27 Esparza, Matt 20 Garcia, Justin 24 Hartson, Brock 15 Hendrix, Paul 36 Lovegrove, Kieran 45 McKenzie, Triston 31 Milbrath, Jordan 6 Robinson, Jared 44 Strode, Billy
R/R R/R R/R R/R R/R R/R R/R R/R R/R R/R R/R R/R L/L R/R R/R L/R
6-3 6-3 6-0 6-3 6-2 6-1 6-2 6-2 6-4 6-5 6-6 6-0 6-0
220 195 175 190 195 185 200 190 185 165 215 190 180 175 195 210
2/26/94 5/31/95 11/10/93 5/18/93 8/22/94 9/16/92 8/9/93 11/18/91 7/28/94 8/2/97 8/1/91 11/20/94 8/10/92
Catchers B/T Height Weight DOB
13 Cervenka, Martin 7 Loopstok, Sicnarf 12 Salters, Daniel
6-1 5-11 6-3
8/3/92 4/26/93 2/5/93
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11/29/93 5/30/95 4/24/97 5/26/94 2/10/94 10/4/94 3/5/94 7/20/96 3/28/94 5/24/94
8 Calica, Andrew 10 Carter, Jodd 9 Marabell, Connor 4 Tom, Ka’ai
L/R R/R L/R L/R
6-1 5-10 6-1 5-9
190 175 195 185
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10 TOP AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL PROSPECTS
FROM THE PAGES OF
CLEVELAND INDIANS TOP 10 PROSPECTS FRANCISCO MEJIA AND TRISTON MCKENZIE LEAD A SYSTEM HEADED BY HIGH-UPSIDE TALENT BY TEDDY CAHILL
1. FRANCISCO MEJIJA, C BORN: Oct. 27, 1995. B-T: B-R. HT.: 5-10. WT.: 175. SIGNED: Dominican Republic, 2012. SIGNEDBY: Ramon Pena. TRACKRECORD: Mejia’s precocious talent has been apparent since the Indians signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2012 and sent him to make his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League the following season. He had an eventful path through the minors that included a historic hitting streak and nearly being included in a blockbuster trade before making his major league debut in September 2017 as a 21-year-old. Mejia broke out in 2016 and authored a 50-game hitting streak at two Class A levels that is the longest in the modern era of the minor leagues (dating back to 1963). He kept hitting in 2017 as he advanced to Double-A Akron. He finished the year in the Arizona Fall League, where he was one of the cir- cuit’s leading hitters. SCOUTINGREPORT: Mejia has long been known for his hitting ability, and the switch-hitter consistently makes hard contact from both sides of the plate. He has matured as a hitter to use the whole field to hit, instead of relying on the pull-oriented approach he had when he was younger. His bat speed gives him more raw power than his lean 5-foot-10 frame would suggest, but he more typically drives balls into the gaps than over the fence. He has an aggressive
ProjectedFutureGradesOn20-80ScoutingScale HIT: 60. POWER: 45. SPEED: 40. FIELD: 50. ARM: 80.
approach and doesn’t walk much, but his excellent feel for the barrel means he also doesn’t strike out much and is comfortable working behind in the count. Mejia has made strides defensively, has elite arm strength and has become a good receiver. He has gotten comfortable speaking English, a key skill for him to work with his pitchers, and has developed more consistency behind the plate. For all his progress defensively, however, Mejia’s bat remains ahead of his glove. Because his bat isn’t far off from being ready for the big leagues, and because the Indians haveYan Gomes and Roberto Perez, a pair of excellent defensive catchers, in Cleveland, Mejia went to the AFL to get experience at third base. He is naturally still learning the position but he will continue to see action at the hot corner in 2018. THEFUTURE: Mejia will open 2018 atTriple-A Columbus, and if he continues to hit the way he has throughout his career, he will find his way into the big league lineup during the summer. His long-term future remains behind the plate, but his added defensive versa- tility will help him as he breaks into the majors. 2017Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB Akron (AA) .297 .346 .490 347 52 103 21 2 14 52 24 53 7 Cleveland (MLB) .154 .214 .154 13 1 2 0 0 0 1 1 3 0
2. TRISTON M c KENZIE, RHP BORN: Aug. 2, 1997. B-T: R-R. HT.: 6-5. WT.: 165. DRAFTED: HS—Royal Palm Beach, Fla., 2015 (1st round supple- mental). SIGNEDBY: Juan Alvarez. TRACKRECORD: McKenzie contin- ued to build on his track record of success in 2017 and ranked second in the minors with 186 strikeouts. He
3. BOBBY BRADLEY, 1B BORN: May 29, 1996. B-T: L-R. HT.: 6-1. WT.: 225. DRAFTED: HS—Gulfport, Miss., 2014 (3rd round). SIGNEDBY: Mike Bradford. TRACKRECORD: Bradley has been one of the most productive players in the Indians’ farm system since they drafted him. He won the
4. NOLAN JONES, 3B BORN: May 7, 1998. B-T: L-R. HT.: 6-3. WT.: 195. DRAFTED: HS—Bensalem, Pa., 2016 (2nd round). SIGNEDBY: Mike Kanen. TRACKRECORD: Jones was regard- ed as one of the best prep hitters in the 2016 draft class, but he slipped to the second round, where the
presents the same challenge to evaluators today that he did as an amateur: His track record is unimpeachable and he has impressive stuff, but he is listed at a rail-thin 6-foot-5 and 165 pounds. SCOUTINGREPORT: McKenzie’s fastball can get up to 95 mph and averaged about 92 in 2017. He held that velocity throughout the season, and while it would dip during starts, he also showed the ability to reach back for more at the end of his outings. His fastball plays up and gets swings and misses thanks to the extension in his delivery and the high spin rate on the pitch. He also has a feel for spinning his curveball, which can be an out pitch. His changeup isn’t as advanced but has the poten- tial to be above-average. McKenzie needs to improve his routines and physique to allow him to manage a start- er’s workload. THEFUTURE: McKenzie is speeding toward the big leagues and has the upside to be a frontline starter. He will advance to Double-A Akron in 2018 for his first taste of the upper minors. 2017Club (Class) W L ERA G GS SV IP H HR BB SO AVG Lynchburg (HiA) 12 6 3.46 25 25 0 143 105 14 45 186 .203
Rookie-level Arizona League triple crown in 2014 by hitting .361 with eight home runs and 50 RBIs. He led the Midwest League with 27 home runs in 2015 and the Carolina League with 29 home runs in 2016. He fell short of making it four straight home run crowns, however, when he ranked sixth in the Eastern League with 23 homers at Double-A Akron in 2017. SCOUTINGREPORT: Bradley’s raw power is the best in the system, and he has shown he is adept at getting to it in games. He has a strong, physical frame and creates excellent bat speed that allows him to drive the ball out to all fields.That power comes with a lot of swing and miss, but he cut his strikeout rate in 2017 from 29 per- cent to a much more manageable 22 percent. Bradley is a well below-average runner with an average arm, limit- ing him to first base. THEFUTURE: Bradley will advance toTriple-A Columbus in 2018, where he could take advantage of Huntington Park’s hitter-friendly dimensions. He has the potential to become a middle-of-the-order hitter. 2017Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB Akron (AA) .251 .331 .465 467 66 117 25 3 23 89 55 122 3
Indians were happy to take him at No. 55 overall. He got back to his elite hitting in 2017 at short-season Mahoning Valley, where he led the NewYork-Penn League with a .912 OPS as a 19-year-old. SCOUTINGREPORT: Jones has an easy lefthanded swing and uses the whole field to hit. He is a patient hitter who led the NYP in with 43 walks. He reduced his strike- out rate, but his patience means he works many deep counts and will always strike out a fair amount. He has proven to be an advanced hitter but also has above-av- erage raw power that he is still learning to get to consis- tently in games. As he physically matures, he projects to hit for plus power. Jones fits the third-base profile, but he still has work to do to ensure he can stick at the hot corner. He has plus arm strength but needs to improve his glove work and infield actions. If he moves, his ath- leticism and average speed will play in right field. THEFUTURE: Jones provides plenty of upside. He will get his first taste of full-season ball in 2018 when he opens the year at low Class A Lake County. 2017Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB Mahon.Valley (SS) .317 .430 .482 218 41 69 18 3 4 33 43 60 1
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Promotional Schedule 2018
Lynchburg, Va. – The Lynchburg Hillcats, A-Advanced affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, unveiled their 2018 promotions schedule filled with exciting giveaways, entertain- ment, themed nights and fireworks to engage fans for the upcoming season. The jam-packed promotional schedule begins with Opening Day at Calvin Falwell Field on April 5. The game will feature a schedule magnet giveaway, as well as the first of 12 Thirsty Thursday’s during the 2018 season. A highlight of the Hillcats theme nights in 2018 will be four bobble- head giveaway nights. The Hillcats will be giving away the bobble- heads as part of the Bobblehead “Love” Series this season. When put together, the four bobbleheads create a Love Sign, making them a memorable collectable throughout the year. The annual Star Wars Night is on May 4, along with the Southpaw Bobblehead giveaway. Greatefully Dead Christmas Night is on May 19th, presented by My Guitar Shop and Speakertree Records, which in- cludes a pre-game cover band per- formance and post-game fireworks presented by Woodforest National Bank. Additionally, Lynchburg will wear Gratefully Dead Christmas-
themed jerseys that fans will have the opportunity to bid on during the game. June 22 is Jurassic at the Park Night, plus the Francisco Mejia Bobblehead giveaway. The Hillcats will also be giving away an Evan Gattis Bobblehead on You’re Killing Me Smalls Night on July 20. Mar- garitaville Night is coming to Calvin Falwell Field on August 10. Fans will enjoy a t-shirt giveaway as well as a pre-game cover band performance. August 17 features Mario Kart Night at the ballpark, and the Hillcats will be passing out a Triston McKenzie Bobblehead. The Hillcats will wear special jerseys that will be auctioned off for char- ity on two additional nights this season. April 28 is the Hillcats’ 10th annual Autism Awareness Night, and all of the proceeds from the jersey auction will benefit Growth Through Opportunity.. Breast Cancer Awareness Night is on June 8, with the jersey auction benefiting the Susan G. Komen foundation. Both nights will also feature a t-shirt giveaway in support of autism and breast cancer awareness. All of the player and coach’s jerseys will be bid on during the game and given to the winner following the game. The 2018 promotional schedule including giveaways, fireworks and daily value promotions is listed on the next few pages.
April 5 & 6 – 2018 Hillcats Magnet Schedule – (1,000) courtesy of Nadine Blakely April 27 – Team Photo – (1,000) courtesy of Clarke Printing April 28 – T-shirt for Autism Awareness – (1,000) courtesy of Physicians Treatment Center of Lynchburg May 4 – Bobblehead – Southpaw – (1000) courtesy of Pepsi May 18 – Paint the Park Purple Night: T-shirt for American Cancer Society – (1,000) courtesy of Gastroenterology Associates of Central Virginia June 8 – T-Shirt for Breast Cancer Awareness – (1,000) courtesy of Centra June 15 – Sunglasses – (1,000) courtesy of HighPeak Sportswear June 22 – Bobblehead – Francisco Mejia – (1,000) courtesy of Pepsi July 6 – Patriotic Cap – (1,000) courtesy of Foster Fuels & KD Country July 20 – Bobblehead – Evan Gattis – (1000) courtesy of Pepsi July 21 – Used Car Giveaway – Courtesy of D’NX Motor Sales August 10 – Hawaiian T-shirt – (1,000) courtesy of HighPeak Sportswear August 17 – Bobblehead – Triston McKenzie – (1,000) courtesy of Pepsi
Fireworks (12) April 7 presented by Select Bank April 28th presented by Physicians Treatment Center May 5 presented by Assurance Financial May 19 presented by Woodforest National Bank June 9 presented by Central Virginia Federal Credit Union June 16 presented by The Leaf Creative Salads and La Carreta June 23 presented by Hillcats Baseball July 4 presented by Kroger and Westover Dairy July 7 presented by MemberOne Federal Credit Union July 21 presented by D’NX Motor Sales August 11 presented by Food Lion August 18 presented by Food Lion
2018 Daily Value Promos 2Fur Tuesday : Fans receive a $2 concessions deal that will be rotated each week throughout the season, as well as buy-one-get-one specials on tickets. Winning Wednesday : Any fan who attends the game will receive a free ticket to the following Wednesday’s home game, presented by WNRN. Thirsty Thursday : Fans will enjoy $2 beer specials on Miller Lite and Yuengling, presented by Blue Ridge Beverage. Fantastic Friday : The first 1,000 fans will receive a free giveaway. Sparkling Saturday : All fans will see a sparking post-game fireworks show. Sandlot Sunday : Kids Run the Bases and Family Catch in the Outfield post-game. Fans can also play whiffle ball in the outfield following the game, presented by MedExpress. For information about tickets for the 2018 season to watch the Hillcats defend their Carolina League Championship, fans can either call (434) 528-1144 or visit the Hillcats Box Office Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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hillcats ownership The Elmore Sports Group LTD.
David G. Elmore is one of the most respected owners in Minor League Baseball. He founded the Elmore Sports Group in 1969, a sports & entertainment organization com- prised of Minor League Baseball and hockey teams, as well as companies specializing in facility management, travel, concessions and special events. Dave is a member of the Pa- cific Coast League Board of Directors and currently serves on the league’s Executive Committee. D.G. Elmore , son of Dave Elmore, holds both legal and M.B.A. degrees. He is currently the chairman and owner of several different companies including Gant Travel Manage- ment and Cornerstone Information Systems. D.G. is on the Board of Directors for the non-pofit charity New Horizons Foundation and The Navigators, an international Christian organization.
Doug Elmore , son of Dave Elmore, is Managing Director of the Elmore Sports Group, Ltd and President & owner of the Diamond Concessions companies and Vail Service Stations, LLC. Elmore is also involved in real estate, having owned and developed hotels, industrial parks, condominiums and gas stations. Doug Elmore has a B.S. in Public Affairs from Indiana University and an MBA in Finance from Pepperdine University. Elmore and his wife, Julie, live in Chicago and have three grown children.
About Elmore Sports Group: For almost half a century, Elmore Sports Group has provided first-rate and affordable family entertainment, specializing in all things sports, including Minor League Baseball, the East Coast Hockey League, the Premier Develop- ment League, the National Premier Soccer League, and facility management, hospitality, special events & concessions. Elmore Sports Group invests in the community through premium events, outreach initiatives and monetary con- sideration. Elmore Sports Group also strongly believes community is the most important structure in society and it is their honor to contribute to strength- ening this fabric.
hillcats front office staff
Chris Jones President
Ronnie Roberts General Manager
Matt Klein Assistant General Manager
Kestrel Kerl Director of Promotions & Fan Engagement
Max Rettig Director of Sales
Ryan Henson Clubhouse Manager
Max Gun Broadcast & Media Relations Manager
Lincoln Evans Director of ticketing
Crystal Williamson Director of Finiance & Accounting
Mike Georgiadis Head Grounds- keeper
Jordan Speicher Concessions Manager
Collin Tyzinski Grounds Assistant
Matt Present Broadcast & Media Relations Assistant
SouthPaw Director of Fun
2018 coaching staff
Manager: Rouglas Odor Odor, 49, is entering his 18 th year coaching in the Indians or- ganization and his first with the Hillcats. The former shortstop
Pitching Coach: Tony Arnold Arnold, 58, is back in Lynchburg after serving as the pitching coach for the Hillcats in 2015. The former right-handed pitcher played collegiately at the University of
played in the minor leagues for the Indians from 1988-1994 and for the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 1995. Although he has not managed since 2008, Odor brings a decade of skipper experience to Lynch- burg. He led San Felipe in the Venezuelan Summer League for two seasons from 1999-2000, the Burlington Indians for four seasons from 2001-2004, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers for two years from 2005- 2006 and the Gulf Coast League Indians for two campaigns from 2007-2008. The Maracaibo, Venezuela native spent the past three seasons as the hitting coach for the Colum- bus Clippers, Cleveland’s Triple-A affili- ate.
Texas and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 10 th round (258 th overall) in the 1981 MLB Draft. The El Paso, Texas native played in parts of two major league seasons with the Orioles in 1986 and 1987. He appeared in 38 total games in relief, ac- cumulating a 0-2 record with a 5.06 ERA in 78.1 innings pitched. Arnold has coached in the Indians organization since 1992 and most recently was pitching coach of the Akron RubberDucks, Cleveland’s Double-
A affiliate, for the past two seasons.
Hitting Coach: Justin Toole Toole, 31, is in his first year on Lynchburg’s coaching staff and third in the Indians orga- nization. The former infielder
Bench Coach: Grant Fink Fink, 27, joins the Hillcats as bench coach for the first time in 2018, now in his sec- ond season as a coach in the
played in parts of seven minor league seasons with Cleveland from 2009-2015, reaching Triple-A Columbus. The Council Bluffs, Iowa native worked as the hitting coach last year for Single-A Lake County.
Indians organization. The former infielder was drafted by Cleveland in the 23 rd round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Missouri Western State University. A native of St. Joseph, Mo., Fink played in parts of three minor league seasons for the Indians from 2013-2015, reaching Single-A Lake County. Fink was the bench coach last season for Rookie-Level Mahoning Valley.
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Southpaw was adopted as the team’s mascot from the Lynchburg Humane Society on January 9, 2017. The bright-colored cat with a big smile & youthful energy has already become a well-known entity with both kids and adults around Lynchburg. Sporting a backward cap and oversized sneakers, Southpaw has made numerous appearances at community and charity events in addition to visiting more than 40 local schools as part of the Hillcats "Hit The Books" reading program. Southpaw can be seen entertaining the crowd and distracting the opponent with his crazy antics.
Full Name: Southpaw Gender: Male Height: 5’10” Birthday: 8/24/2016 Resides: City Stadium
Adopted from the Lynchburg Humane Society on 1/9/17!
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In 2017, the Hillcats partnered with local youth sports leagues in the area to provide community events and fundraisers that were both financially beneficial to the Little Leagues, and a fun night out at the ballpark for players, coaches, parents, and friends alike. Each league picked a Hillcats game to be their “League Night.” The leagues all pre-sold tickets to their selected league night game and received a kickback from each ticket they sold. Players and coaches also participated in an on-field pre-game parade, where each team was recognized over the public-address system. Top selling individuals in each league had the opportunity to throw out first pitches before the game and the top selling team for each league as a collective got to participate in a field of dreams ceremony. As part of the youth sports league fundraising night program, Southpaw and the Hill- cats went to numerous youth league opening and closing ceremonies to promote the league nights and to expand community outreach. Youth Sports Fundraisers HAVE GREAT SUC CESS The Hillcats look to expand this program in 2018, working with several new area programs, in addition to ones from last season including: - April 28 th : Nelson County Dixie Youth Night - May 4 th : Goode Recreation Association Night - May 5 th : Lynchburg Little League Night - May 18 th : Madison Heights Dixie Youth Night - June 16 th : Forest Youth Athletic Association Night
- May 20 th : Appomattox Dixie Youth Day - June 9 th : Timberlake Dixie Youth Night
You can contact your local league or the Hillcats (firstname.lastname@example.org) to buy a special pre-sale only ticket to have a portion of the funds benefit your selected league. To sign up your league, please contact mrettig@lynchburg- hillcats.com for more information.
Amidst hurricane chaos, Pantoja finds help from unlikely source The Decision of a Lifetime
Lynchburg, Va. - Like many Minor League players, Hillcats infielder Alexis Pantoja is trying to make it to the Major Leagues. That mission became second- ary last September, when his native Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, sending all of its $3.4 million residents into a desperate humanitarian crisis. “It was a bad experience, I was scared for my family and my house,” Pantoja said. “The day after, I was looking outside my house into the street, and saw cars and trees crushed. ‘I said wow this is hard for me. It was just unbelievable.’” Pantoja, 22, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 9th Round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He was committed to play college baseball at Alabama State, but ultimately decided to forgo his scholarship and sign with the Indians. “I talked to my family. It was a big deci- sion,” Pantoja said. “They wanted me to go to school, but at the same time, I wanted to play professional. They said it’s your job and your career, to do what you want. So I said, why not?” That decision would loom large several years later. Hurricane Maria was the worst storm to strike the island in over 80 years. It will haunt Puerto Rican residents for many years to come. The powerful Category 4 storm made its way across the island with sustained winds of 155 mph, uprooting trees, crushing cell towers, and ripping homes apart. Electricity was cut off to the majority of the island, and access to
clean water and food became limited for most. The storm is regarded as being the worst natural disaster on record to affect Puerto Rico. It was also the tenth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record and the most intense tropical cyclone worldwide of 2017. All of this happened just two weeks after Hurricane Irma had made a similar effect on the island. That’s where the Cleveland Indians stepped in. “The very next day, Cleveland called me and asked if I needed anything for me or my family or friends,” Pantoja said. The infielder told the Indians brass that he could really use electricity and some food. Sure enough, Cleveland rushed a generator and food in bulk from Sam’s Club to Pantoja’s home. “Every day they would call and ask me if I needed more,” Pantoja said. The Indi- ans resources also allowed him to assist others. “I helped a lot of people, too. A lot of friends, more than 20 people. You are walking in the street and there’s nothing. No more trees, no more lights. Even people with no connection to baseball, the Indians helped.” Pantoja said his family used the genera- tor provided by Cleveland for three months before electricity returned. While relief efforts in Puerto Rico were underway, the Indians approached Pantoja in November with the idea of completing his offseason training program at the organization’s spring training complex in Goodyear, Ariz. “After that, I left Puerto Rico and wasn’t sure about how everything was, but my
“It will haunt Puerto Rican residents for many years to come”
family said it was getting better and that made me happy,” Pantoja said. After a month in Arizona, Pantoja spent the remainder of his offseason on the east coast. He moved to Orlando, where he trained and stayed in the home of Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who is also a native of Puerto Rico. The two have known each other since Pantoja joined the Indians. “In 2014, he was the first guy on the team to call me,” Pantoja said. “I answered my phone and said ‘who is talking to me’? He said ‘Frankie.’ I said ‘Frankie Lindor?! Come on!’ He said ‘hey, I know you have talent, keep working hard no matter what. If you need something just tell me and I’ll see you soon.’” Pantoja met Lindor for the first time in Arizona when he was in the Indians instructional league, and Lindor was in the fall league. “I was sleeping and then somebody starting knocking on my door. I told my roommate to open the door,” Pantoja said. “He told me he was tired and I said me too, I don’t care. Then some- one said ‘hey open the door please!’” The person standing outside the door was Lindor. He got a key from the lobby and let himself into Pantoja’s room. “He said ‘wake up! I want to take you to dinner, you are like my little brother now.’” Pantoja said he works a lot with Lindor on both his hitting and fielding. “He plays at a high level that I want to play at one day. He tells me don’t think too much, just play your game and have fun.” After Cleveland was eliminated in last year’s postseason, Lindor bounced back-and-forth between his home in Orlando and Puerto Rico. He was constantly helping out with the relief efforts, bringing water and food on each trip. Lindor, along with some of his Indians teammates, donated a portion of their playoff salary, totalling
$37,000 for hurricane relief efforts on the island. The official death toll after the storm was 64 in Puerto Rico, but investiga- tions by other news organizations indicate there may have been more than 1,000 storm-related fatalities. The hurricane also caused $90 billion in damage. If Pantoja would have honored his commitment at Alabama State, there is no guarantee that his friends and family would have received the type of assistance they did, given the Indians connection. That decision was a life-altering one for Pantoja and his family, regardless of how far his baseball career takes him. “It was a hard situation for a lot of people,” Pantoja said, “and I appreci- ate everything.”
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Southpaw’s “Hit the Books” Reading Program
The HIllcats are proud to present “Hit The Books” program to over 40 schools to Lynchburg and surrounding counties in 2018. “Hit the Books” is a reading program established by the Hillcats Front Office to encourage local students to read more while providing them with the opportunity to earn two free tickets to a 2018 Hillcats game. Kestrel Kerl, Max Rettig, and Southpaw act out a day in the life of an elementary school student (Southpaw), based on the book “Southpaw Goes to School” written by Hillcats staff. Southpaw must touch all four bases (respect, integrity, learning and teamwork) throughout his day. The assembly highlights the four values above in parentheses with a strong focus on reading everyday. “The reading pro- gram is such a fantastic way, not only to engage and interact with our community, but also a wonderful tool to help show students, that reading is not only impor- tant, but fun and rewarding as well! It truly is a joy to be able to bring and share our program with so many local children” says Rettig. Each student receives a copy of the book and bookmark that tracks reading progress. If a student completes the goal of reading four books they’ll earn two
free tickets to a reading program game presented by Blue Eagle Credit Union. “It is a joy to see students attend a game and excitedly tell me they read four books. The true meaning of our “hit the books” program is to get kids reading consistently and develop a joy. It’s been a pleasure going to so many schools and meeting so many students. It really is one of the highlights of my job and I love see- ing so many familiar faces at the game” Kerl said. Reading Nights for the 2018 season: April 7th, May 5th, May 16th, May 20th, June 9th.
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Prospects to watch
Outfielder Mitch Longo batted .361 with four home runs and 25 RBI in 55 games for the Captains before injuries robbed him of a full 2017 campaign. Longo was activated from the disabled list on August 31 when he made his debut with the Hillcats, and played in 5 games while going 9-for-16 at the plate. Cleveland’s 14th round pick in 2016 has been an everyday player so far this season for Lynchburg. Longo has batted a team-best .304, while clubbing two home runs to go along with 16 RBI throughout the first two months of the year. He also leads the team with 16 multi-hit games. Right-hander Eli Morgan was promoted to Lynchburg in mid-May, and has impressed in his first couple of starts. Morgan was drafted by Cleveland in the 8th Round of the 2017 draft out of the University of Gonzaga. Prior to his promotion, Morgan began the 2018 campaign in Lake County, where he went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA through eight starts. Through his first three starts with the Hillcats, the Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. native has gone 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA. He is ranked by Baseball America as the Cleveland Indians 28th-best prospect. The publication also ranked him as having the “best changeup” of any pitcher throughout the Indians farm system. Shortstop Luke Wakamatsu is seeing a big role in the Hillcats infield this year. He has been the club’s everyday shortstop, and after a slow April, his bat came around in may. Wakamatsu hit .254 last month compared to a .145 start in April. The switch-hitter spent last season with Single-A Lake County and batted .239 with 12 homers and 53 RBI in 100 games. He is the son of Don Wakamatsu, who is a coach on the Texas Rangers major league staff. Wakamatsu had a strong second half of the season with the Captains when he hit at a .249 clip with nine homers and 36 RBI. The Indians selected Wakamatsu in the 20th round of the 2015 draft and he is ranked by MLB.com as the Tribe’s No. 27 prospect. Third baseman Nolan Jones finished the 2017 season on a tear. The 19-year-old hit .371 with three home runs and 18 RBI in August for the Short-Season Mahoning Valley Scrappers. In 62 games, he batted .317 overall with four homers and 33 RBI. Jones, a 2nd round pick by the Tribe in 2016, is ranked by MLB.com as the Indians No. 5 prospect. Although he has just two minor league seasons under his belt, it’s possible that Jones could find himself in a Hillcats uniform at some point in 2018. A variety of Indians prospects who are already making a name for themselves with the Hillcats, while some could see time in Lynchburg later this year.
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