For local businessman, and first-year owner of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League team the Saugerties Stallions, Kevin Hinchey it’s been a heck of a ride.
“It’s been amazing,” said the local Saugerties product.
“We put an idea out there (a local college league baseball team) and the community has embraced us with both arms,” says Hinchey, who graduated from Saugerties High School and remembers when baseball was the number one sport in town.
A little less than a year ago, Hinchey announced that he would be purchasing the Stallions from an owner that lived in the south and who had pretty much run the team into the ground during his one year of ownership.
At the time Hinchey promised that his version of the Stallions would be different, that this version would not leave local merchants in the lurch with unpaid bills, and empty promises that the team and it’s players would be part of the community.
“The main thing that I learned after having watched the previous team, was to surround yourself with good, quality people,” Hinchey said.
And he did bringing in local Saugerties residents who have expertise in scouting ball players, how to run and market a baseball team, and it was through their advice, and help that the Stallions have become an integral part of the community.
During the last two weeks, the Stallions held a baseball camp for local youngsters that was attended by 80 kids. “It was tremendous,” Hinchey said.
And this past week, Hinchey and six of his players took stuffed Stanley the Stallion dolls (the team mascot) and distributed them to kids at the Albany Medical Center.
It’s also the team that held fundraisers for a local man battling ALS, and a local little kid Kellan Ryan who was injured in a lawnmower accident.
“This year we had great success,” Hinchey said, the players became part of the community as did the team, and the community responded by helping the Stallions average an attendance of about 300 a game, housed the players in their homes, donated services to make the players’ stay in Saugerties a little bit more fun.
“The interest in baseball in Saugerties peaked with the Dutchmen,” Hinchey said, “and this team brought that back to this community.”
Town of Saugerties Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel, who played for the Dutchmen, echoed Hinchey saying that its been about 16 years since the Dutchmen played at Cantine, but the Stallions have brought back that fun, and the excitement of baseball.
Greg Chorvas who along with his staff take care of Cantine said working with Hinchey and his team has “been fantastic.”
“He’s delivered everything he said he would,” Chorvas said of Hinchey.
It was Hinchey’s vision and money that built a luxury seat section at Cantine, and “we still have more to do,” Hinchey said.
Next year he hopes to have a deck built near the visiting team dugout where birthday parties can be held for kids during games.
“We want to keep improving, keep everything fresh for the fans and fun for the kids,” Hinchey said.