Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Baseball Update

Troy University’s Tyler Ray continues to draw accolades for his play in the Cape Cod Summer League for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.

The Hoover, Ala., native, who will be a junior for the Trojans in 2011, was named to the Cape Cod League All-Star Game this week. That game will take place on Wednesday, July 28, at historic Fenway Park in Boston.

The Cape Cod League All-Star game will be nationally televised by CBS College Sports at 7 p.m. (ET).

Ray has a 3-2 record so far this summer in six starts with a 1.98 ERA. He has 29 strikeouts in 41 innings of work. He is scheduled to make his next start on Sunday against the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.

Brooks and Robinson Meet, Briefly

Former Trojan catcher Beau Brooks has been a man on the move of late. The Huntsville native has spent most of the season with the Angels’ Class A affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga. He had one game as an emergency fill-in for the Class AAA Salt Lake Bees before getting sent to play for the Arkansas Travelers in the Class AA Texas League.

When Brooks arrived in Arkansas it just so happened that the Travelers were about to host the Naturals from Northwest Arkansas and their slugging first baseman, Clint Robinson.

Brooks’ dad, Rodney, and Trojans head coach Bobby Pierce made the drive to Little Rock to see the two former Trojans square off. The trip also offered Rodney Brooks a chance to take his son’s truck to Arkansas so that he would have a way to get around.

The two got one chance to play against each other, on July 19, before Brooks got word that he was headed back to Salt Lake City. The Angels’ top catching prospect, Hank Conger, was forced to the disabled list with a sore shoulder, which opened the door for Brooks.

Beau only played three games for the Travelers before heading west again. He will stay in Salt Lake for however long Conger remains on the DL. Brooks was 2-for-8 at the plate in his short stay in Little Rock.

Robinson, meanwhile, continues to swing the bat well for the Naturals, but is hopeful of getting traded to another organization. After earning Texas League Player of the Month honors in June, and league Player of the Week for the first week of July, Robinson was rewarded by having a young, slugging, first base prospect called up from Class A by the Royals.

The move means that Robinson will be relegated to serving in the DH role while also occasionally playing in right field.

All Robinson has done this year ishit .312 with 18 homers and 66 RBI. After having a 21-game hit streak snapped last week, Robinson has embarked on a new streak, which stood at six games entering play on Friday.

Whitley and Sorce Doing Well

Two former Trojan hurlers are doing very well with their respective short-season rookie league teams.

Chase Whitley has continued to blister opposing hitters in the NY-Penn League, posting a 3-1 record in 14 games with a 1.02 ERA for the Staten Island Yankees. Whitley has 23 strikeouts in just 17.2 innings of work and has walked only eight while recording six saves.

Chris Sorce is also posting solid numbers out west, playing for the Everett Aqua Sox in Washington state. Sorce is working as a starting pitcher and has a 3-0 record with a 3.79 ERA in six starts. He has posted 27 strikeouts in 35.2 innings.

Godwin Back In Action

After missing the first half of this season with injuries and then getting released by the Dodgers after coming off the disabled list, Adam Godwin is playing again, now for the independent New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League.

The league has just six teams, with franchises in Brocton, Mass., Pittsfield and Sussex in NY, Quebec and Worcester, NH.

Godwin has played in seven games since joining the team on July 15 and is hitting .321. He has hit safely in four of his last five games and, yes, he has stolen one base.

More Minor League Notes

Coming off a Golden League All-Star appearance, former Trojan Josh Dew is still dominating foes in independent league. In just 28.2 innings this year, Dew has a perfect 4-0 record with 32 strikeouts and a 0.63 ERA. He has allowed just one earned run in his last 20 innings of work.

Steven Felix made his debut in the Arizona Rookie League for the Brewers. Felix, who has returned to playing behind the plate, was held hitless in his first game, but walked, stole a base and scored a run.

Former Trojan Jason Walls is also in the Arizona Rookie League, playing for the Giants. He has appeared in just five games, all in relief, and has a 1-0 record with a 7.50 ERA in just six innings.

Ryan Ditthardt is trying to make everyone understand that he should have been chosen in the 2010 draft. After signing with the Astros as a free agent, Ditthardt has worn out the pitching in the rookie Gulf Coast League.
In 18 games so far, Ditthardt is hitting .346 with three doubles, a homer and five RBI. He has an impressive .875 OPS (on base plus slugging).

Mike Rivera is putting up solid numbers in the Southern League for the Chattanooga Lookouts. Rivera, who spent most of last season with the Milwaukee Brewers and was cut by the New York Yankees at the very end of spring training, is hitting .281 with 15 doubles, two homers and 20 RBI.

Troy fans interested in seeing Rivera play can do so in August when the Lookouts visit Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery for a five game series against the Biscuits. That series is scheduled for the 18th through the 22nd of August.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


4:26 p.m., WEDNESDAY, JULY 21

It has been officially three weeks since we launched our new website, and a lot of people are giving me credit ... however, there are many people that should be lauded for their effort in the transition and it doesn't just start and stop with the people in our office. A lot of the credit goes to my boss, Ricky Hazel, who trusted me to let me run with the project and allowed me to be creative in what we choose to go with and what to add. Also, all of our staff members who have put in the hard work over time to put in stories and releases, most of that information was transferred over. I also owe a big thanks to Mike Frigge and Alicia Bookout whose critique of this site and others helped make the design easy. And the biggest thank you to all goes to the staff of Sidearm, who without their patience and hard work, this project would have never come to fruition.

Another big thank you goes out to you, all of the loyal Troy University supporters, because without your support we would not have needed a new website and something that was user-friendly and captured the eye.

Over the next few weeks, you will see things pop up on the website that will catch you by surprise and if a link doesn't work today, we are still in the process of working out things and it will just take a little bit more time but I am sure you will like the finished product.

I had a chance to go to San Francisco just two days after the website was launched and was pleasantly surprised, really I think shocked is the best word, when I got to the CoSIDA Convention and our website was being used by Sidearm as a selling point to other clients. That was one of the biggest honors I can say I have been associated with, and it meant that we did the right thing on the design. Also, while out there, I learned some new things that you will see start popping up on the website, some of which include the way we will write for the remainder of the year. Who knows better what is going at Troy then the Media Relations office, and who better to relay that information to our fans. Also, we will be launching our new All-Access for webstreaming and audio, and for those of you who had accounts with NeuLion (JumpTV) we are currently working on that as well.

I hope you like what you see and I hope you will let me know if you can't find something you are looking for. One big thing to look for in the future is a downloadable schedule for Outlook for all of our fans to put in their email calendar.

Once again, thank you for your patience and until next time ... GO TROJANS!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tyler Ray's Streak Ends

Tyler Ray, pitching for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in the Cape League, saw his three-game win streak come to an end on July 7 in a 6-0 loss to the Bourne Braves.

Ray tried to bounce back when he pitched earlier this week but was left with a no decision in a 4-3 loss to the Harwich Mariners.

Ray went 8.1 innings in his last outing, allowing two runs on three hits with six strikeouts. Unfortunately, both of the runs he allowed came in the ninth inning and his relief help surrendered two more to produce the loss.

Ray is now 3-1 in five starts with a 1.80 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 35 innings of work.

Ray's next outing will likely come either Sunday against the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, or Tuesday against the Cotuit Kettleers.

Beau Brooks Moving Up; Robinson Still Slugging

Former Trojan catcher Beau Brooks got word this week that he is being promoted to the Class AA Arkansas Travelers in the Texas League by the Angels.

Brooks has spent most of this season with the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the California League, but also got in one game with the Class AAA team in Salt Lake City, delivering a double and scoring twice.

Brooks will make his debut tonight for the Travelers and is playing in the same league as former teammate Clint Robinson.

Speaking of Robinson, the Dothan native has been on quite a run of late. After being named the Texas League Player of the Month for June, hitting a home runs in the league All-Star Game, and putting together a league-record 21-game hit streak, he also earned league Player of the Week for July 5-11.

Robinson stands right at the top of the Texas League in virtually every offensive category: Average (3rd), Doubles (1st), Extra Base Hits (1st), Runs (1st), Slugging (2nd), On-Base Pct. (3rd), RBI (3rd) and Homers (3rd).

Robinson saw his hit streak come to an end on Tuesday at Corpus Christi, but is hitting .318 with 30 doubles, three triples, 18 homers and 61 RBI in 85 games.

Unfortunately for Robinson, he is blocked at first base in the Royals organization by a young star, Billy Butler, on the big league team. His best hope to get to the Majors in the next year or so is to get traded to another organization.

Robinson and the Naturals host Springfield for a four-game series this weekend before heading to Little Rock on Monday to open a series against Brooks and the Travelers.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

From the Press Box

12:47 P.M., TUESDAY, JULY 13, 2010

Trio of Trojans Honored by Blue Ribbon

Three Troy players have been selected by Blue Ribbon as preseason All-Sun Belt performers. Senior wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan and center Tyler Clark along with sophomore defensive back Bryan Willis were all selected to the team.

Blue Ribbon ranked Troy second behind MTSU in its projection of the league standings. You can read about it HERE. (ESPN Insider subscription might be required).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sun Belt Football on TV

In case this slipped by, here is the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Football TV schedule.

Sept. 11 - Arkansas State at ULL
Sept. 18 - ULM at Arkansas State
Sept. 25 - Middle Tennessee at ULL
Oct. 2 - ULL at North Texas
Oct. 9 - Western Kentucky at FIU
Oct. 16 - FIU at North Texas
Oct. 23 - Florida Atlantic at Arkansas State
Oct. 30 - Troy at ULM

The league TV games in November will be chosen later in order to pick the most compelling matchup each week. The dates for those games are Nov. 6, 13, 20 and 27.

Of course, the Trojans have two other nationally televised games this fall. The Trojans will take on Middle Tennessee on Tuesday, October 5, at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 in Murfreesboro. Troy's game at Florida Atlantic on December 4 will be televised by ESPNU at 1 p.m. CT.

Two other Troy games will be televised by the Troy/ISP Sports Network. The season-opener against Bowling Green on Sept. 4 and the game against Arkansas State on Sept. 25, both home games, will be televised. Both are tentatively set for 6 p.m. starts.

Less than three weeks left

Summer in college athletics is always a time to recharge the batteries. Trips to the beach, playing golf, fishing, or whatever, summer is the time to do it.

Time is almost over, so get those last few days of relaxation in.

In less than three weeks the Troy University football team will arrive on campus to begin preparations for the 2010 season. If there are some out there who don't know, the Trojans will be defending their Sun Belt title for a fourth consecutive season and will be in search of a fifth straight title.

Many have been asking about the schedule for the Trojans training camp this year. Here are the highlights:

Players report - July 30
Media Training/paperwork - July 31
Picture Day - August 1
Practice in shorts - August 2-3
Practice in shoulder pads/shorts - August 4-5
Practice in full gear - August 6
Scrimmage #1 - August 7 @ 10:30 am
Media Day - August 7 @ 1 pm
First Day of Classes - August 9
Scrimmage #2 - August 14 @ 10:30 am
Scrimmage #3 - August 21 @ TBA
Football Appreciation Night - August 21
Fan Day - August 22 @ 1:30 pm

Some notes about the schedule

First, everything is TBA and subject to change.

Picture Day on August 1 is NOT a fan event. We will be shooting photos for the game program that day.

Practices will be at 6 p.m. until the start of school on August 9. From that point the team will move to its regular practice schedule (Monday evening, Tuesday-Friday late afternoon).

Information on Football Appreciation Night should arrive in the mail shortly, if you have not already received it.

Practices and scrimmages are open to fans and the media.

The Trojans will open the 2010 season on Saturday, September 4, at 6 p.m. against the Falcons of Bowling Green State University. Troy will be looking to avenge the 2009 season-opening 31-14 loss to BGSU when the Falcons visit Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Larry Blakeney Kickoff Classic

As you may or may not know, I also broadcast a daily sports radio show on SportsRadio 740 WMSP-AM in Montgomery from 7a-10a weekdays. I got this for the show via email and it's of interest to all Troy alumni and fans in and around the Montgomery area: The 2010 Larry Blakeney Kickoff Classic comes up this Thursday, July 15, at Arrowhead Country Club in east Montgomery beginning at 5pm. T-Roy and the Troy cheerleaders will be there (so will I!), and there will be Troy merchandise available and a great meal! Coach is always great at these functions, and I know he'll appreciate your attendance and support. It's presented by the good Trojans in the Montgomery Alumni chapter!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Early July is always a time to catch my breath before diving into another September-to-May stretch broadcasting Troy athletics, but there's a lot of planning involved as well. Here's a little background:
The upcoming football season will mark my ninth year as the radio "Voice of the Trojans" and in the three sports I broadcast --football, men's basketball, and baseball-- I've broadcast a championship season in at least one of those sports every year! In a business filled with "good news broadcasters" and "bad news broadcasters", I've been fortunate to broadcast a lot of good news.
This blog will primarily serve as an up-to-the-minute source for all of the latest broadcast news, air times, schedules, audio links, background features, and whatever else might be important to you, but it's going to be pretty light, or at least light-hearted. There's also my Twitter account for quick updates, plus a Troy ISP Sports Network Facebook page, in which you can also post questions for Coach Blakeney this fall during Trojan Talk, which we're proud to announce will be held at the Santa Fe Steakhouse in Troy this year (every Tuesday night from 7-8pm, starting August 31st).
We'll (hopefully) have a lot of fun with this blog, and hope you have fun with it as well! We'll flesh it out with links, photos, audio clips, and a glimpse behind the scenes of our broadcasts and Troy Trojan athletics as a whole! The best part of my work with Troy have always been the people: the coaches, my broadcast crew at ISP (Jerry, Chris, Mike, Michael, Taylor, Ricky, etc.), and some of the finest young people in the collegiate student-athlete ranks in the country. Welcome to my world!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Future Trojan Playing for Team USA

Future Troy baseball player Tyson Workman will join with his NJCAA Team USA teammates for a trip to The Netherlands tomorrow to play in the Haarlem Honkball Tournament. If you can read Dutch, you can visit the official tournament web site here.

Workman and the rest of the team arrived in Tampa over the holiday weekend for a couple of days of practice before the trip overseas. You can see the team roster, which is made up entirely of junior college players, here.

The tournament opens for Team USA on Friday when they face Chinese Taipei at 7 p.m. local time (Noon central). They will then face Cuba on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. local (4:30 a.m. central).

Team USA will play Venezuela on July 12 (7 p.m./Noon), Japan on July 14 (2 p.m./7 a.m.), and the host team from The Netherlands on July 15 (7 p.m./Noon).

The championship and consolation rounds will be played on July 16-18.

Two More Pro Updates

Two other former Trojans have started their 2010 seasons.

Jason Walls and Chris Sorce are both playing in short-season rookie leagues, although Sorce did make two appearances for West Tennessee in the Southern League early this year.

Sorce is now playing for the Everett AquaSox in the Northwest League and is being used as a starting pitcher. In three starts for the AquaSox he is 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA. He has worked six innings in each of his three starts and has recorded 14 strikeouts with just four walks.

Walls, who is playing in the Arizona Rookie League for the Giants is being used as a relief pitcher. He has also appeared in three games and has a 1-0 record with a 4.50 ERA in just 4.1 innings. He has walked two and struck out two.

Professional Baseball Update

After the long holiday weekend, I thought it would be good to provide another update on how former Troy University baseball players are doing in the professional ranks.

First of all, Clint Robinson continues to shine for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Class AA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. After earning a start in the Texas League All-Star game, during which he had two hits, including a homer, Robinson was named the Texas League Player of the Month for June.

During the month, C-Rob hit .409 with 24 runs, 10 doubles, eight homers and 22 RBIs in 25 games. He hit is 14th homer of the year on Independence Day to help the Naturals to a victory.

One of Robinson's former Troy teammates, Josh Dew, continued to shine for the Chico Outlaws of the Golden League in California. The Outlaws became the first team in league history to post 30 victories in the first half of the season and are currently 30-9 after a win on Monday which clinched a first half title.

Dew was one of five Outlaws selected to play in the Golden League All-Star game, which will be played on July 15 in Tuscon, Arizona.

Dew has appeared in 15 games for the Outlaws and owns a 2-0 record with a 0.42 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 21.1 innings of work. Chico manager Garry Templeton, who is probably best known as the player the Cardinals traded to San Diego for Ozzie Smith, is also letting Dew hit a little. He is 1-for-4 with three walks in seven plate appearances.

Another former Robinson teammate, Jared Keel, likely saw his professional career come to an end over the weekend. Keel, who played in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization from 2006-09, was released by the independent Sioux City Explorers of the American Association over the weekend.

Two members of the 2010 Trojans have embarked on their professional careers. Ryan Ditthardt signed with the Houston Astros and is played for their rookie Gulf Coast League. So far he is doing well, batting .357 in 10 games with a homer and two RBI.

Steven Felix inked a free agent deal with the Milwaukee Brewers and is on his way to played in the Arizona Rookie League. The only negative for Felix is that the signing takes him out of the College Home Run Derby, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow in Omaha.

Felix is scheduled to join the Arizona Brewers this week.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tyler Ray Picks Up 3rd Victory

Troy University pitcher Tyler Ray is off to a great start in the Cape Cod League, a summer wood bat league for the top collegiate players in the nation.
Ray, who will be a junior next spring, picked up his third victory of the season yesterday, working 6.2 innings against the Brewster Whitecaps in a 4-2 victory for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.

Actually, the victory was a little bit of a let-down for Ray, who had not allowed a single run in his first two outings. So far this summer he has allowed just the two runs in 20.2 innings of work with a 0.87 ERA. He has 15 strikeouts and just two walks and is 3-0.

Tyler also got another highlight moment last week when he and his Harbor Hawks teammates got a chance to visit Fenway Park in Boston.

Whitley Off To Great Start

Former Troy University pitcher/third baseman Chase Whitley has gotten off to a great start in his career as a professional baseball player.

The native of Ranburne, Ala., was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 15th round of the June Amateur Draft and was assigned to the Staten Island Yankees of the New York-Penn League.

So far, so good for Whitley. In five appearances for the "Baby Bombers" Whitley has posted a 1-0 record and has four saves. In 6.2 innings of work, Whitley has allowed just one hit, has not walked anyone, and has nine strikeouts.

For his efforts, Whitley was named the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week for the opening week of the short-season rookie league.

Robinson HR Not Enough in Texas League All-Star Game

Former Troy University first baseman Clint Robinson saw action as a starter in the Texas League All-Star Game on Wednesday night and made his presence felt.

The Dothan native blasted a solo homer in the second inning and then added a two-out single in the ninth inning.

Robinson's effort was not enough, however, as the North Squad fell 5-4 in the game, which was played in Midland, Texas.

Felix To Compete in HR Derby

Troy University's Steven Felix will be one of eight sluggers who will compete in the inaugural TD AMERITRADE College Home Run Derby at Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium on Wednesday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m. CDT. CBS will air the event nationwide on Sunday, July 11 from noon-1:00 p.m. CDT.

Felix, who completed his Troy career as one of the best hitters in Trojans history, blasted 16 homers in the 2010 season and completed his career with 25 homers.

Fresno State's Jordan Ribera and Siena College's Dan Paolini are the top two home run producers from the 2010 season. Ribera led the nation with 27 regular-season blasts, while hitting .343 in 63 games as a junior first baseman. He also hit memorable home runs against Rice and Georgia during Fresno State's improbable national championship run in the 2008 College World Series.

Paolini, a sophomore second baseman, finished the 2010 season with 26 bombs, including four multi-homer games. The 2009 MAAC Rookie of the Year is playing for the Chatham A's in the prestigious Cape Cod League this summer.

Joining Felix, Ribera and Paolini in Omaha will be Matt Gaudet (Louisiana State University/Sr./DH) and Matt Skole (Georgia Tech/Soph./IF).

Gaudet finished the 2010 season with 19 dingers for the Bayou Bengals. Skole hit 18 home runs for the Yellow Jackets during his sophomore campaign.

Two more players will be announced to complete the field of eight later this week. The players will compete in an elimination style HR Derby.

The 2010 TD AMERITRADE College Home Run Derby will also feature National Baseball Hall of Fame member Mike Schmidt and 2010 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson. Schmidt and Dawson will participate in several events throughout the day and will serve as honorary hitting coaches for Derby participants.