Twilight League to reap benefits of developmental off season work.
The GHTBL, Connecticut’s premier amateur baseball league has made preparations for its 91st season. Our 2019 Regular Season begins May 28th – Opening Day at Henry Park in Vernon at 6 PM, featuring defending champions, the Vernon Orioles vs. Rainbow Graphics.
As the season nears, we’d like to recognize Bill Holowaty and Andy Baylock, two of Connecticut’s greatest baseball dignitaries who sit atop the GHTBL Executive Committee. Holowaty, a 4-time National Champion with ECSU enters his third season as President while Baylock, the former head baseball coach at UConn and 2-time Big East Champion serves as Vice President. Holowaty and Baylock are GHTBL alumni themselves and aim to revive the prestige of the league. They’ve led fundraising efforts, acquired top-notch baseball venues, and challenged league managers to recruit and compete at a higher level than in recent years.
This season, 8 revamped franchises will field a mix of collegiate ballplayers and several ex-professionals. A new (and old) Middletown-based franchise, Malloves Jewelers has returned to the Twi-loop after a 25-year hiatus. Malloves contended in the league from 1980 to 1993 under then owner, Jerome “Buzzy” Levin who passed away in 2017. His son and proprietor of Malloves, Marc Levin, has stepped up as team sponsor and General Manager. Levin tapped former ECSU baseball captain and Cromwell High School head coach, Christian Budzik to be Manager. The team will play home games at Palmer Field and at the newly constructed, Buzzy Levin Field in Middletown.
Other GHTBL franchises will return this summer vying for a league title. In the West Division, People’s United Bank will sponsor a franchise yet again, backing Manager Tom Abbruzzese in his 43rd GHTBL season. People’s will call Trinity College home and will feature Justin Morhardt, fresh off a professional stint in the Atlanta Braves organization. A rebranded Ulbrich Steel team will test its metal with a revamped roster, including Will Musson, former UConn standout and 7-year veteran of professional baseball in France and Australia. Charlie Hesseltine, Meriden native and former Atlantic League pitcher will step in as first-year Manager of the Record-Journal Expos.
The East Division is also expected to provide parity. The Vernon Orioles, behind Manager Jack Ceppetelli will seek their seventh straight Regular Season title. The South Windsor Phillies franchise led by their General Manager and Reading Phillies Hall of Fame inductee, Gary Burnham Jr. will field a few pro-caliber players; Mike Hepple formerly in the New York Mets farm system and Kyle Richards, who made it to double-A with in the Kansas City Royals organization.
Almost an entirely new group of ballplayers have joined the East Hartford Jets franchise, led by their new Manager, Taylor Kosakowski, former closer at CCSU and Jimmy Schult, center fielder and 2011 D-III Player of the Year at ECSU. Rainbow Graphics, a printing and embroidery business based in Manchester sponsors the same franchise that traces back to the 1960’s when Gene Johnson and his Moriarty Brothers club reigned supreme at Mount Nebo Park. Ryan Pandolfi and Tyler Repoli will co-manage the Rainbow Graphics squad.
2019 GHTBL Schedule of Events
July 14th – Hardball for Heroes Series at Palmer Field in Middletown – 4 ball games benefiting American Legion Post 75.
July 21st – #spreadingORANGE Series for MS at Dunkin’ Donuts Park – 4 ball games benefiting MS4MS, a national organization founded in Connecticut who fund Multiple Sclerosis research through Johns Hopkins Medicine.
August 2-11 – Playoff Tournament at Trinity College and Palmer Field – an 8 team, double-elimination tournament.
Did you know?
More than 350 professional ballplayers have competed in the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League since the league was founded. MLB All-stars Jeff Bagwell, Bernie Williams, Rob Dibble and Ricky Bottalico played in the GHTBL. Most recently in 2018, left-handed pitcher for the Vernon Orioles and graduate of University of Bryant, Jack Patterson, was drafted in the 32nd round by the Chicago Cubs and now pitches for the South Bend Cubs of the Midwest League (single-A).
For more information about the league visit: GHTBL.org/history
For the full 2019 GHTBL Regular Season schedule: GHTBL.org/schedule