Tag: wood bat

Greater Hartford’s Own Jose Birriel

Jose A. Birriel was born on November 14, 1964 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a young man Birriel showed great athletic ability, especially as a left handed batter and first baseman. The Boston Red Sox signed him at 18 years old. In his first year as a professional Birriel banged 10 home runs, 56 RBI and a .351 average for Elmira of the New York Penn League. The following season he led the Florida State League in fielding percentage, assists, putouts and double plays while hitting 16 homers for the Winter Haven Red Sox.

Hartford Courant excerpt, July 2, 1988.

By 1986, Jose Birriel was called up to the Double-A New Britain Red Sox. He quickly earned a reputation as a top defensive first basemen in the Eastern League. In 1987, Birriel had a breakout season with 10 home runs, 57 RBI, a .292 batting average, and a .991 fielding percentage in 117 games played. Birriel spent 7 years in the Boston Red Sox organization. During this time, he was selected to 4 minor league all-star games, set the all-time club record for most runs batted in, and on occasion, the lefty also showed a knack for pitching.

Jose Birriel, First Baseman, Society for Savings, 1990.
Hartford Courant excerpt, June 29, 1990.
Hartford Courant excerpt, June 29, 1990.

Birriel was eventually promoted to Triple-A with the Pawtucket Red Sox in 1988. However he was only given 21 at bats and had 2 hits. He was released from the Red Sox that same year. The following summer Birriel was living in Hartford and joined the Society for Savings ball club in the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League. As a member of Tom Abbruzzese’s team, Birriel hit 6 home runs in 62 at bats and was named an all-star. Birriel played a final season in the Mexican League in 1991 before ending his baseball career.

New Britain Red Sox hat.
Jose Birriel career stats, Baseball-Reference.com.

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GHTBL East Hartford Jets 2020 Playoff Champions

East Hartford Jets, 2020 Champions

Jets win 1st playoff tournament in franchise history.

After 50 years, the East Hartford Jets finally achieved their first GHTBL Playoff Championship. The Jets have competed in the twilight league since 1970. This year, Player-Manager Taylor Kosakowski led the Jets to the Twi-loop’s ultimate prize at their home turf, McKenna Field in East Hartford.

A walk-off extra base hit from Bryant University outfiedler,  Jarod Dalrymple scored former Eastern Connecticut State University star Jimmy Schult  from first base. The Jets bested the Vernon Orioles 3 to 2. The Orioles were tournament favorites and a veritable dynasty in recent years. Manager Jack Ceppetelli’s O’s previously won 4 consecutive playoff championships. 

Congratulations to all East Hartford Jets players, coaches, fans and family! 

We will see if the Jets could repeat and soar in the summer of 2021.

Corey Plasky, Second Baseman, East Hartford Jets strides to reach base.

Read the full championship recap by the Journal Inquirer:
https://www.journalinquirer.com/sports/dalrymple-provides-hometown-heroics-for-eh-jets-in-twilight-league-title-game/article_9ac5a072-e3b7-11ea-8e5e-7fd2d05f1710.html

Hartford Twilight League Persists in Pandemic

GHTBL is featured on NBC Connecticut.

By Gabrielle Lucivero • Published July 22, 2020 • Updated on July 23, 2020 at 2:19 pm

The pandemic threatened it, but the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League is on the field for a 91st season. The long running men’s league has been a stop for major leaguers of the future and of the past.

“All the names that you know about in baseball history in the state of Connecticut you know, almost everyone was involved with the Hartford Twilight League in some capacity,” said Greg Morhardt, who started playing in the league in 1982. He went on to turn a minor league career into a scouting position with the Boston Red Sox.

Now, on these summer nights, he watched from behind the backstop as his son, Justin, a 2017 draft pick of the Atlanta Braves, takes the mound. And sometimes he’s joined by Justin’s grandfather, Moe.

Moe Morhardt played his first Twilight League game more than 50 years ago, in 1954. He went on to play first base for the Chicago Cubs for part of two seasons in the 60s and then came back again to the Twilight League.

“Baseball’s often been described as being passed own as father and son,” said Moe. “Playing catch and things like that and that’s absolutely true. That’s the backbone.”

They may not know how many years they’ve all played – though they can agree, Greg’s brother Darryl has played the most – what they do know is that those years made a difference in their careers.

“We were playing with men,” said Moe. “Playing with people older, faster, stronger than we were.”

“Guys would go from playing on a major college team hitting fourth to going to the Hartford Twilight League team and hitting sixth,” said Greg.

It’s the kind of league where every strikeout has a story and those stories get bigger every time.

“Guys that are, you know, chewing tobacco, spitting on the ground,” said Justin. “Saying, ‘I don’t care if he’s 16, I don’t care if he’s a Morhardt, get a hit’.”

And that’s a story that never gets old.

“Even in the major leagues, things are changing,” said Justin. “We’ve got new rules and new ways to do things but here in this league, you know, things don’t change.”

Bill Shea Photographs GHTBL Ball Games

Professional photos from a fan of the league.

Since last season, a local photographer named Bill Shea has been snapping shots of Twilight League action. Fans of the league are welcomed to send in photos to: CONTACT@GHTBL.ORG or tag us on Instagram: @GHTBL. We will feature you and your talents! Thank you to Bill and all of the fans who have come to our games this season. We are reporting a record number of fans this year!

VIEW BILL SHEA’S PHOTOGRAPHY AT: https://www.billsheaphotographer.com/GHTBL-Baseball

Twi-Loop is Off and Running

GHTBL completes first week without a hitch.

Amidst a global pandemic, the GHTBL is playing baseball in 2020. Our 12-game Regular Season schedule is underway and the first week has been completed. Managers, players and fans are excited to be back. Without any unforeseen hiccups or health scares, local amateur baseball looks like it is here to stay.

Most recently, GHTBL was featured by John Pierson of News Channel 8 Sports. He highlighted the league’s history and its prospects for the future. Gabby Lucivero of NBC Connecticut also interviewed Justin Morhardt of People’s United Bank and his family, who have a long baseball tradition in the Twilight League and professional baseball. 

Four notable minor league players have joined the league this season. Willy Yahn for People’s United Bank as well as Matt Cleveland, Jimmy Titus and Jack Patterson for the Vernon Orioles. A mix of young players and veterans will create great matchups all year long. 

Current college athletes in the GHTBL will be earning valuable experience this summer. Hard-throwing pitchers and fast paced games are the repetitions that players need to improve. The Twilight League is flooded with arms who throw over 88 MPH and pitcher’s duels are not uncommon. However, some teams like the Record-Journal Expos and the East Hartford Jets have managed to put up big run totals thus far.

The league, led by President Bill Holowaty, is proud to be playing the game we all love. Come on out and support baseball in Greater Hartford by attending a game. Regular Season admission is free. Our annual double-elimination playoff tournament is scheduled for early-to-mid August and will take place at McKenna Field in East Hartford and Ceppa Field in Meriden, Connecticut.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Play Ball! 2020 Schedule Posted

The GHTBL Regular Season schedule has been published.

After a recent league meeting, GHTBL Executive Committee members have determined the 2020 Regular Season schedule.  Some dates are subject to change. 7 franchises will compete in the 92nd season of the Twilight League. Each team will play 12 games followed by our standard double-elimination playoff tournament.

Players will need to appear in 2 games to qualify for playoffs. Fans will be welcomed at all games as long as they social distance and adhere to state guidelines..

GHTBL officials, managers and players are pleased to be playing baseball again. In partnership with the Hartford Board of Umpires, the league will work diligently to protect players, coaches, umpires and fans.

Opening Day is July 7, 2020

GHTBL announces start of 2020 season.

LEAGUE ANNOUNCEMENT

Monday, July 7, 2020 will be Opening Day this year. The Twilight League will begin its 92nd season of play.

12 games followed by a double-elimination playoff tournament (more details and full schedule to be announced).

Players should plan to use their own personal equipment like gloves and helmets.

The league will be announcing other safety measures and precautions in the near future but they will not limit the game on the field.

We’re looking forward to playing ball!

Stayed tuned for additional updates. 

2019 Annual Awards – Complete List

People’s United Bank Rakes in the Accolades

Here are the 2019 GHTBL Award Winners:

Frank McCoy Award – Most Valuable Player – Jason Sullivan, 3B, Record-Journal Expos

Ray McKenna Award – Player of the Year – Ian Halpin, INF, Vernon Orioles

Mike Liappes Award – Most Valuable Pitcher – Charlie Hesseltine, P, Record-Journal Expos

Rev. Thomas Campion Award – Outstanding Playoff Hitter – Daren Grabowski, OF, People’s United Bank

Mike Abbruzzese Award – Outstanding Playoff Pitcher – Jimmy Schult, P/OF, East Hartford Jets

Hal Lewis Award – Most Versatile Player – A.J. Hendrickson, P/C, Record-Journal Expos

Jack Repass Award – Gold Glove – Jack Risley, SS, People’s United Bank

James Gallagher Award – Rookie of the Year – Pete Barrows, Ulbrich Steel and Mac Finnegan, OF, People’s United Bank

Gene Johnson Award – Regular Season Batting Title – Daren Grabowski, OF, People’s United Bank

Ralph Giansanti Sr. Award – Stolen Base Leader – Hector Gonzalez, SS, Record-Journal Expos

Mark and Jane Foss Award – RBI Leader – Mac Finnegan, OF, People’s United Bank

Jack Rose Trophy – Playoff Champion – Vernon Orioles, Jack Ceppetelli, Manager

Jake Banks Trophy – Regular Season Champion – Record-Journal Expos, Charlie Hesseltine, Manager

All-Star Game at Muzzy Field

GHTBL All-Stars vs. CTL All-Stars at 7 PM.

On Sunday, August 19, 2019 at 7 PM, the GHTBL All-Star Team will face the CTL All-Star Team at Muzzy Field in Bristol, Connecticut. 

The matchup will be the fourth between the two leagues in which the GHTBL All-Stars remain unbeaten.

Muzzy Field, Bristol, Connecticut.

The following GHTBL players have been selected to the All-Star Team for the 2019 season:

1.  Michael Santiago, C/OF, East Hartford Jets

2.  Jeff Criscuolo, IF, East Hartford Jets

3.  Jimmy Schult, P, East Hartford Jets

4.  Jared Pflaumer, IF, Malloves Jewelers

5.  Johnny Martin, P, Malloves Jewelers

6.  Daren Grabowski, IF/OF, People’s United Bank

7.  Tyler Pina, OF, People’s United Bank

8.  Jack Risley, SS, People’s United Bank

9. Mac Finnegan, OF, People’s United Bank

10.  Eric Malinowski, P, People’s United Bank


11.  Tyler Repoli, 1B, Rainbow Graphics

12.  Jack Rich, OF, Record-Journal Expos

13.  Jason Sullivan, 3B, Record-Journal Expos

14.  A.J. Hendrickson, P/C, Record-Journal Expos

15  Charlie Hesseltine, P, Record-Journal Expos
 
16.  Shane Bogli, P, South Windsor Phillies

17.  Tyler Popp, C, Ulbrich Steel

18.  Peter Barrows, 1B, Ulbrich Steel

19.  Dan Livingston, P, Ulbrich Steel

20.  Nick Hock, P, Ulbrich Steel

21.  Ian Halpin, IF, Vernon Orioles

22.  Jack Halpin, IF, Vernon Orioles 

23.  Jordan English, OF/P, Vernon Orioles

24.  Matt Purnell, P, Vernon Orioles


Alternates:

1.  Marvin Gorgas, P, Malloves Jewelers  

2.  Brody Labbe, OF, South Windsor Phillies

3.  Aedin Wadja, 2B, South Windsor Phillies

4.  Ryan Pandolfi, C/IF, Rainbow Graphics

5.  Hector Gonzalez, SS, Record-Journal Expos

6.  Jonny Walter, OF, Record-Journal Expos


7.  Zach Donahue, IF/P, Vernon Orioles