After a year off from baseball due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Saugerties Stallions are looking to make a triumphant return to the diamond at Cantine Field in Saugerties in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League this season. As spring settles in the Hudson Valley, the Stallions have begun announcing staff and roster moves, including the arrival of two coaches with impressive pedigrees.
Returning Head Coach Collin Martin will see his staff augmented in 2021 by three-time world champion and former New York Yankee Shane Spencer as hitting coach, and Rich Dubee, a pitching coach with two decades of coaching in the majors, including serving with the Philadelphia Phillies during their 2008 World Series run.
Ben Keohan, the Stallions’ co-director of marketing, said last week that he expects Spencer and Dubee both to offer great wisdom to the college players looking to make a transition into professional baseball.
“Our expectation with Shane is he’s going to bring great value to the coaching staff, and he’s going to be able to teach these guys and give them some insight as to what to expect at the next level, should they try to make it there,” Keohan said, adding that the opportunity came up due to a relationship Stallion’s owner and president Kevin Hinchey has with Sweeny Murti, a journalist who covers the Yankees for SportsNet New York (SNY), WFAN and the New York Yankees Radio Network.
“They started talking about it and Shane was very interested,” Keohan said. “It was a great opportunity for him.”
Of Dubee, Keohan said his track record as a longtime pitching coach speaks for itself.
“We’re extremely ecstatic to have him teach our guys at the next level, give them the insight as someone that’s coached some of the best pitchers ever — guys like Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Cole Hamels, Pedro Martínez,” Keohan said. “You name them, he’s coached them. He’s going to provide just tremendous insight for us.”
The Stallions have taken to social media recently to get fans in the traditionally baseball-friendly town excited about some of the team’s incoming players for the 2021 season, including pitchers Andrew Wilhite (University of Minnesota), Jacob King (University of California Irvine) and Chris Difiore (Bucknell University); infielders Kyle Nevin (Baylor University) and Kip Fougerousse (Indiana University); and outfielder Cade Verdusco (Grand Canyon University).
Keohan said the Stallions look to bring in players who’ve succeeded at the NCAA Division I level and would benefit from a coaching staff led by Martin, Spencer and Dubee.
“We think our coaching staff is top notch and has never been seen before in summer league baseball,” he said. “It’s just a great opportunity for (players) to learn and grow over the summer in ways that they might not normally get from their college coaches.”
The Stallions will open their season on Thursday, June 3 when they host the Oneonta Outlaws at Cantine Field in Saugerties. Their two-month regular season runs through Thursday, July 29 when Saugerties visits Oneonta. There are 16 teams in the New York-based league, with the Stallions competing in the East Division alongside Oneonta, Albany Dutchmen, Amsterdam Mohawks and Glens Falls Dragons.
Keohan said the Stallions are still looking at how live baseball will look with the ongoing pandemic, but expressed optimism at how things are going.
“We’re expecting good turn out,” he said. “Hopefully everything continues to go as planned with the vaccine rollout and everything. And we’re still waiting to hear about some regulations, but we definitely are looking forward to having a pretty full house, safely distanced if need be and doing it the right way. But we’re definitely expecting to have our fans come out and support us.”
Keohan said the Stallions know their fans are every bit as excited to see the team play as the team is to return to baseball.
“It means everything,” he said.
For more information on the Saugerties Stallions, visit: saugertiesstallions.com, Instagram (@thesaugertiesstallions) or Twitter (@PGCBLStallions)