It’s been a crazy week for players and coaches from the Saugerties Stallions, the local collegiate-level baseball team now in its second season.
They came into town Saturday, held a party to meet each other Saturday night, had their pictures taken, interview with the media, first practice Sunday, and first game Wednesday.
“It’s been a whirlwind weekend,” said owner Kevin Hinchey at a team photo and interview session at the Saugerties Senior Center on Sunday morning, May 29. “And, I’ve never been more excited.”
“The unity of the community has been overwhelming,” Hinchey added.
Most of the 28 players will be put up in the homes of local families, Hinchey said. Those who won’t are local kids who will sleep in their own beds and eat their moms’ cooking, something team centerfield Mike Riddick said he really appreciates.
Riddick was a standout player for Kingston, and for the last two years, at Ulster County Community College. He will play for the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure next year.
He’s one of the few returning players who played on last year’s Stallions’ team.
“The team’s going to be fun to watch this year,” Riddick said. “We have lots of good players, and right now we’re getting to know each other, and we should be able to develop team chemistry pretty quickly.”
Sadly for Sawyer fans, the only Saugertiesian slated for the lineup won’t be playing. Nick Teitter, a fireball pitcher who helped take the Saugerties Sawyers to a MHAL title last year, signed to play for the team, but two weeks ago he blew out his arm while pitching at Hudson Valley Community College and will need Tommy John surgery, which he is expected to undergo next week.
His coach Dave Ames, who is also the manager of the Stallions, said he expects Teitter to make a full recovery and be ready for next season.
In an interview Sunday, Ames said he’s looking forward to managing the Stallions. “The owner and his staff have gone out and got some top-notch players. And while this is just our first week, these players should be able to gel into a team quickly. They’ll have to since we have 50 games in the next 60 days,” he said with a laugh.
Hinchey also raved about the players and how anxious they seem to start the season, and the terrific welcome the community has already given the team.
“We have only one shot at this, to make the community a part of our team, and we need to do everything we can to do make it a success and give the people of Saugerties a successful, fun to watch team,” said Hinchey.