AIGLES’ RIGHTY HALBOHN JOINS REDS ORGANIZATION

Photo: Trois-Rivières Aigles

Dayton, Ohio — The contract of Trois-Rivières Aigles RHP Kyle Halbohn has been purchased by the Cincinnati Reds organization, the Can-Am League announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-8 Halbohn was effective as both a starter and a reliever after joining the Aigles in June 2018, going 2-2 with one save and a 3.08 ERA in 16 appearances, nine of them starts. The North Massapequa, N.Y., native fanned 70 hitters in 61.1 innings while walking just 16, and finished the season strong, allowing just three earned runs over his final 20.2 innings.

Prior to joining Trois-Rivières, Halbohn, 26, spent parts of three seasons in the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels organizations, reaching as high as Single-A. He pitched collegiately at Kansas State and at Belmont Abbey (N.C.).

Halbohn will likely begin the season on the roster of Double-A Chattanooga. He is the fifth Can-Am League player to have his contract purchased by Cincinnati since 2016. Two other league alumni are currently in the Reds’ system: RHP Tim Adleman (New Jersey ’13) and RHP Alex Powers (New Jersey ’15).

BOULDERS’ CULVER ANOTHER FIRST-ROUNDER IN CAN-AM LEAGUE

Photo: New Orleans Baby Cakes;
Release: Rockland Boulders

Pomona, N.Y. — The Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League announced Friday the signing of former New York Yankees first-round draft pick SS Cito Culver for the 2019 season.

Culver, 26, was selected by the Yankees with the 32nd pick in the first round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft and becomes the highest-drafted player in the Boulders’ nine-year history.

Culver is one of several first-round draft choices to have played in the Can-Am League. Others include:

A native of Irondequoit, N.Y., Culver was drafted out of high school and made his professional debut at age 18 for the Gulf Coast Yankees. His pro stops included affiliates in Staten Island, Trenton, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he hit 12 homers in 2017, his last season in the Bronx Bombers’ organization. He appeared at the AAA level as recently as last year, which he spent with the New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Miami Marlins’ system, before opting for free agency at the conclusion of the season.

Aside from his slick fielding at shortstop, Cito brings important versatility to the Rockland roster as he is adept at each infield position, and his drive to reach the majors is not lost on team president Shawn Reilly. “This is a great opportunity for both Cito and the Boulders,” Reilly stated. “He’s still young and motivated, and our organization and our fans will be excited to see him in action and continue his quest for the big leagues.”

Rockland’s new manager and former New York Met Kevin Baez was equally enthusiastic about the acquisition. “He has great talent and still a major upside,” the veteran manager stated. “His mix of youth and experience will have a positive influence on the entire team.”

2019 INTERNATIONAL OPPONENTS ANNOUNCED

Dayton, Ohio — Can-Am League officials attended meetings in Havana, Cuba, this week to finalize the agreement with the Cuban National Team and also hosted the delegation from Japan’s Shikoku Island League at Yogi Berra Stadium later in the week.  The Can-Am League is pleased to announce both organizations will participate in the fifth annual International Series. This year marks the third time each team will play in the Can-Am League’s highly popular baseball showcase. The Cuban National Team and the Shikoku Island League’s all-stars will play a three- or four-game series against each of the league’s six clubs from June 14-July 4.

“For years, the Can-Am League has been honored to host teams from around the world, and we’re proud this tradition will continue for the 2019 season,” league executive director Kevin Winn said. “We’re especially pleased to host the Cuban National Team, which will be in preparation for its appearance in the Pan American Games in Peru. I’m confident these games between our clubs and both Cuba and Shikoku Island will be competitive and exciting.”

The Cuban National Team has mixed success against the Can-Am League with an overall record of 16-25. In 2017, Cuba went 5-16 against league opponents. While the Quebec Capitales and the New Jersey Jackals went 4-0 against Cuba’s national squad, the Trois-Rivieres Aigles were less fortunate with a 1-4 record. Yet, Cuba went 11-9 during their first visit for the league’s global showcase. The Capitales were the most successful against Cuba as they posted a 4-1 record. However, Cuba’s National Team swept the Rockland Boulders and Sussex County Miners in three-game sets.

Shikoku Island has logged an overall record of 14-22 against the Can-Am League. Their last visit was in 2016 when they went 8-12 versus league opponents including going 2-1 against the Boulders and Ottawa Champions, respectively. The Aigles were the most successful by sweeping Shikoku Island in a three-game series. In 2015, Shikoku Island went 6-10 including taking two out of three against the Miners. The Boulders were the league’s best as they went 4-0 against Shikoku.

ABOUT THE CAN-AM LEAGUE:
Established in 1936 and running through 1951, the Can-Am League was re-formed in 2005 and is now the premiere independent baseball league in the Northeastern United States and Canada. Fueled by strong cities, good stadiums and a great brand of baseball, the league has teams in Little Falls, N.J. (New Jersey Jackals), Augusta, N.J. (Sussex County Miners), Pomona, NY (Rockland Boulders), Ottawa, Ontario (Ottawa Champions), Quebec City, Quebec (Quebec Capitales) and Trois-Rivieres, Quebec (Trois-Rivieres Aigles).

CAN-AM LEAGUE TO HOLD TRYOUT CAMP APRIL 2-3

Register online today.

Dayton, Ohio — Today the Can-Am League announces it will hold a two-day open tryout next spring. Hosted at historic Sanford Memorial Stadium in Sanford, Florida, the tryout will take place on Tuesday, April 2 (11:00am-5:00pm) and Wednesday, April 3, 2019 (9:00am-2:00pm). A player selection draft will take place following the tryout.”As the league enters our 15th season, we are excited to announce our 2019 tryout camp,” Can-Am League Executive Director Kevin Winn said. “If you’re looking for a place to play, join us on April 2 and 3 in Sanford, Florida and show us what you can do.”

On-site instructors during this tryout include the following Can-Am League team managers:

In order to participate, players are required to pay a registration fee of $150. Additional information on the tryout can be found at canamleague.com or by calling (862) 283-5935.

BOULDERS TO HOST 2019 CAN-AM/FRONTIER ALL-STAR GAME

Rockland County, N.Y. — The Rockland Boulders will host the 2019 All-Star Game between the Can-Am League and the Frontier League on Wednesday, July 10, at Palisades Credit Union Park, presented by Good Samaritan Hospital. This will mark the first time that these two independent professional leagues will face each other, and only the third time a Can-Am organization has hosted an All-Star game since the league’s re-formation in 2005.

Festivities will begin with a home run derby on Tuesday, July 9, with the game the following evening. “We consider this a great holiday gift to our fans,” stated Boulders president Shawn Reilly. “It’s a rare opportunity and we’re very appreciative of the Frontier League and Good Samaritan Hospital making it possible. Many of the best independent probaseball players in the country will be in our park, and we look forward toputting on a first-class event worthy of that talent.”

“Everyone in the Frontier League is excited to play the Can-Am League in the All-Star Game this year,” noted Frontier League commissioner Bill Lee. “We are also excited to come to Rockland and the New York market. We want to thank the Boulders organization for hosting this event. It will be tremendous for the fans to see the best players of two of the oldest and most established independent leagues in the country showcase their talents. We also believe it is great for the entire independent professional baseball industry that leagues can work together.”

The Frontier League consists of 10 teams from cities in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri. Formed in 1993, the circuit had 23 player contracts purchased by Major League Baseball organizations last season. Its list of players to appear in the majors includes former Boulder Stephen Cardullo, who was with the Florence Freedom in 2012 before spending three seasons in Rockland en route to a stint with the Colorado Rockies.

“The Can-Am League is pleased to take on the Frontier League in the 2019 All Star Game. For 25 years, the Frontier League has consistently been a formidable force on the independent baseball scene,” added Can-Am League Managing Director Kevin Winn. “I want to thank Frontier League commissioner Bill Lee and Rockland Boulders president Shawn Reilly for putting this event together. I can think of no better venue than Palisades Credit Union Ballpark to host this historic event.”

Now entering its 15th season, the Can-Am League features six clubs in the Northeast U.S. and Canada and plays a 95-game regular season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 17 league alumni have reached the majors, 15 as players and two as umpires.

The Boulders partnered with Skye Design Studios to develop the 2019 All-Star identity. Based in the greater New York City area, SDS is a national leader in sport branding and identity design, with experience at all levels of collegiate, professional, and minor league sectors within the industry. 

All-Star-Game-Fact-Sheet

BOUCHER NAMED NEW CHAMPIONS SKIPPER

Photo: Marc Lafleur / Ottawa Champions

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Champions announced on Wednesday that Sébastien Boucher has been named the club’s new manager, after serving as a player-coach for the previous four seasons.

One of the most prolific hitters in the history of the Can-Am League, Boucher is the all-time league leader in hits (981), runs (597) and RBIs (545). Prior to Ottawa, Boucher spent six seasons with the Quebec Capitales, helping to lead the team to five Can-Am League championships.

A native of Gatineau, Quebec, Boucher was a seventh-round choice of the Seattle Mariners in the 2004 draft out of Bethune-Cookman (Fla.) College and spent four seasons in the Seattle and Baltimore organizations, reaching as high as Triple-A. He also played for Canada at the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

Active in the region’s baseball community, Boucher is the head coach at Polyvalente Nicolas-Gatineau’s Sport-Études baseball program and co-owner of Gatineau’s Académie de Baseball Ultime.

“We are excited to have Boucher,” said Champions owner Miles Wolff. “We believe he is the right fit to lead the Champions.”

Boucher, 37, replaces Hal Lanier, who had been manager of the Champions since the club’s inception in 2015.

“Hal Lanier has been extremely important to the Ottawa Champions. His professionalism set a standard for our organization and his dedication was tremendously important in organizing the team from scratch.  He brought us our first championship and we are grateful for all he has done for the club,” commented Wolff.

Boucher and the Champions will begin the team’s fifth season Friday, May 17 at home against New Jersey.

FORMER MET KEVIN BAEZ NAMED ROCKLAND MANAGER

Photo/Release courtesy Rockland Boulders

Rockland County, N.Y. — The Rockland Boulders have named Kevin Baez as the team’s new manager for the 2019 season. Baez brings a wealth of experience as both a manager and a player to Rockland along with many personal and professional ties to the New York metropolitan area.

Baez managed 1,087 games with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League over the last eight seasons, posting a 571-516 record with two league titles (2012 and 2013) and six trips to the championship series, including each of the past the three seasons.

He attended nearby Dominican College and was a 7th round pick in 1988 draft by the New York Mets. He appeared in 63 games over the course of three Major League seasons for the Mets. He continued his playing career primarily at the AAA level over the next decade before joining Long Island in 2002 where he helped the Ducks capture the Atlantic League Championship in 2004.

The Boulders new manager resides on Long Island with his wife, Marianne, and children, Kevin and Vincent. He was born and raised in Brooklyn and made his Major League debut for the Mets at Shea Stadium on September 3, 1990.

Baez, 51, becomes the third manager in the Boulders history, following Dave LaPoint (2011-12) and Jamie Keefe (2013-18). Keefe spent six seasons at the helm in Rockland with a 344-260 record in Rockland, highlighted by the team’s lone Can-Am League Championship in 2014.

“Managers with the pedigree and success of Kevin Baez do not become available very often,” noted team president Shawn Reilly. “We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to being him to Rockland. From our very first day, the Boulders have been not only committed to winning, but the expectation is also to compete annually for the championship.  And an organization we are always striving to reach the next level of success and I am confident that Kevin is the person who will take us there. Our time with Jamie has been wonderful with many great memories for our fans. I know he has great opportunities ahead of him and we wish him and his family the best.”

“From everything I’ve heard over the years, this is a great organization to be a part of,” stated Baez, “but seeing how beautiful (Palisades Credit Union Park) is and meeting the staff, it just seems like a perfect fit. Management wants a franchise that sets the standard for independent pro baseball and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Several familiar faces on the Boulders staff will help ease Baez’s transition as the team has announced the return of Director of Player Development Kevin Tuve, Bench Coach Andrew Romanella, and Trainer Lori Rahaim, though the organization is currently in search of a pitching coach for the upcoming season.

CARDINALS ADD MINERS’ ROOKIE OF THE YEAR FIGUEROA

Photo: Sussex County Miners / Torri Koppenaal

Durham, N.C. — The Can-Am League announced on Tuesday that the contract of Sussex County Miners 3B Martin Figueroa, the league’s 2018 Rookie of the Year, has been purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

Figueroa led the league with a .444 on-base percentage, tied for the league lead with six triples and finished fifth with a .328 average to go along with 50 RBI, five home runs and 20 doubles. He was also named the league’s June Player of the Month after hitting .422 with 23 RBI in 27 games.

The Elizabeth, N.J., native cemented the Miners’ first championship with a walk-off three-run home run in Game 4 of the Can-Am League finals.

2018 marked Figueroa’s second professional season, having spent 2017 in the Houston Astros organization with rookie-level Greeneville of the Appalachian League. He was a 32nd-round choice of the Astros in the 2017 draft out of the University of Rhode Island.

Figueroa is the fourth Miners player to have his contract purchased by a major-league organization since August, following LHP David Rollins (Seattle), LHP Alex Demchak (Boston) and RHP Kenny Koplove (Colorado).

SUSSEX RIGHTY SWINGMAN KOPLOVE JOINS ROCKIES

Photo: Sussex County Miners / Sara Schaarschmidt

Durham, N.C. — The contract of Sussex County Miners RHP Kenny Koplove has been purchased by the Colorado Rockies organization, the Can-Am League announced on Wednesday.

In his first season with the Miners, Koplove was superb both as a starter and reliever, going 7-4 with a 2.61 ERA in 31 appearances, 22 of them out of the bullpen. In 86.1 innings of work, the Philadelphia native fanned 78 hitters, limited opposing hitters to a .201 average, and picked up a pair of saves.

He was also a key cog in Sussex County’s title run, tossing a complete-game shutout against Trois-Rivieres in Game 2 of the semifinals, earning the save in the series-clinching Game 5, and pitching 6.2 strong innings to earn the win over Quebec in Game 1 of the league championship series.

Prior to Sussex County, Koplove, 25, spent 2015 through 2017 in the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins organizations, reaching as high as Single-A. He was a 17th-round choice by the Phillies out of Duke University in the 2015 draft.

Koplove is the third Miners pitcher since August to have his contract purchased by a major-league organization, following LHP David Rollins (Seattle) and LHP Alex Demchak (Boston).

SOLBACH’S DAZZLING OUTING HIGHLIGHTS ALUMS DOWN UNDER

The eight-team Australian Baseball League began its 2018-09 season this weekend, with a number of current and former Can-Am League players on its clubs’ rosters, highlighted by a season-opening four-game series between Adelaide and Brisbane:

  • Friday saw a pair of former Can-Am hurlers facing off, with RHP Markus Solbach (pictured, Rockland ’16-’17) on the hill for visiting Adelaide against RHP Ryan Searle (Quebec ’18) for Brisbane. Solbach was outstanding in the Bite’s 5-3 win, striking out 11 hitters in eight innings of work to register the victory. He was aided by SS Mikey Reynolds(Sussex County ’18) first-inning RBI double, driving in the first run of the game en route to a 2-for-5 evening.
  • LHP Ryan Bollinger (Trois-Rivieres ’14-’16) was superb out of the bullpen for the Bandits, throwing a scoreless inning Thursday and two perfect innings in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. He has struck out five of the 10 hitters he has faced so far this season.
  • Reynolds has started all four games for Adelaide, going 4-for-15 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored.
  • RHP Kurt Heyer (Trois-Rivieres ’17) was the opening-day starter for Adelaide, taking the loss in Brisbane’s 5-3 win.

Elsewhere in the ABL,

  • LHP Daniel Schmidt (Brockton ’11) offered a solid bullpen outing for Perth on Saturday, allowing a run on two hits in three innings of work, fanning two in Perth’s 11-3 win.
  • RHP Scott Kuzminsky (Trois-Rivieres ’15-’16) is on Melbourne’s roster, but has yet to see action.