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September 30, 2008 — Patriots Win Championship September 30, 2008

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.

Somerset Patriots, 2008 Atlantic League Champions: I don’t know for sure if there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, but I know there certainly wasn’t any dry clothing in the clubhouse.

Travis Anderson hit a long, no doubt walk-off home run with nobody on base in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Somerset Patriots a 3-2 win in Game 4, and a 3-1 series win over the Camden Riversharks.

A wild celebration ensued on the field, and continued into the clubhouse, where everyone inside — reporters included — got very wet, very quickly.

I caught up with a lot of the guys inbetween champagne and beer being sprayed all over the place, and here’s what they had to say…


“I’m really happy, I don’t know what else to say. I’ve been in this league for six years, and this was my first walk-off ever. I love these guys. From Sparky to Jodie to everybody, it was fun.”

About the pitch…

“2-1, he threw me a fastball early. I saw it really, really well. The next one, he threw a slider, and I don’t think he meant to throw that pitch. It was great. It sounded good off the bat. This what you dream about as a kid, to hit a walk-off home run, and it clinched the series. Gosh, it felt good.”

About beating his old team…

“Yeah, that was fun. I always liked coming here and beating Somerset when I was with (Camden). When they traded me over, I was happy. I wanted to be here. I said if I was going to play in this league, I wanted to play here. I’m just happy to help Somerset win the championship. It’s been a fun three years, and we’ll see what happens.”


“I’m looked at to be the spark plug of the team, it’s no secret. I’m supposed to make things happen, and we got everybody behind us getting hits. From T.O. Olivares, I mean he was absolutely lights out this whole series. If I did anything positive, he was right there. And then the guys in the middle; Larson, Hagen, Belcher, Pressley. We’re very fortunate to have them.”

On being the spark plug…

“I know what my job is, you know. We hadn’t scored early in the game, partially because of my fault, I wasn’t getting on base. But I got on base, did my job, and everybody else did their job. If I have to help my team by doing something little and small, then so be it.


“I can’t describe it, man. I can’t put this into words. This is definitely why you play. This was a great group of guys, I’m just speechless man. What a way to go out.”

On continuing his regular season heroics in the postseason…

“I just play baseball, man. We came out, we played hard and we definitely wanted to win this thing. I was just playing to play, I was just having fun. I wasn’t trying to put too much pressure on myself. It’s pretty awesome when you’ve got a great supporting cast behind you. We’re going to enjoy this.”


“This is why I came back. This is why Belch, Trav, Larse, everybody…this is why we all came back after what happened last year. We tried to act like it wasn’t that big of a deal, but it feels so good to be on the other end of it.

On the team’s comeback in this game…

“I’ll tell you what man, he pitched an unbelievable game, Dittler. He did a great job. They’ve got some good arms. We just believed. All year long, we battled. Everybody came through tonight.”


“This is my third championship, and they all have something special about them. This one here, I wanted more for these guys. I came into the season late, and missed about a month in the Olympics. But the guys in this clubhouse, I wanted it more for them. I just felt like the guys who were here last year had a tough loss in the championship last year. But more than anything else, it couldn’t have happened to a better group of guys. And you couldn’t have picked a better guy to hit the walk-off.”

On his playing future…

“You can never say it’s over. I still love the game…who knows?”


“Man, it still hasn’t set in yet, it’s unbelievable. From being beat last year in the finals by Newark, and the good group of guys that we’ve had here since last year, that’s been our motivating factor all year. Just that feeling of losing in the finals, we didn’t want that to happen again this year. I thank the good Lord we came together as a team in the second half, and we settled in and it just couldn’t happen to a better group of guys. It just hasn’t set in yet.”

On just how big of a motivating factor losing last year really was…

“It drove me to absolutely no end, to where I almost couldn’t sleep. I just wanted to get to the park and have success and have a second chance at this thing. I’d been to the finals several times, and I’d never won it. This is my first championship, and it still hasn’t settled in for me yet. The season that I had, and the postseason that I had, it was unbelievable. The Lord has blessed me and this team, and I’m so thankful.”

This is the Patriots fourth Atlantic League championship, but is the first time they’ve won at home. I’ve been very fortunate to have covered three of those championship teams, but to actually get to see them win it in front of the home crowd was neat.

I had beer and champagne poured on my head at least three times, and it was absolutely fantastic to be a part of everything and see grown men act like little kids. You couldn’t put a price tag on what it’s like to be a part of that celebration in the clubhouse, regardless of who won. It was great last year in Newark, and it was even better this year in Somerset…

Thanks so much to everyone for checking out the site this year, and stay tuned for some announcements down the road, including our sixth-annual giveaway of a Somerset Patriots team-signed baseball.

Former Patriots clubbie Dan “Clarky” Griswold was kind enough to pass along some more photos from the game and celebration, and you can check those out here.




1. SharkGirl - September 30, 2008

Congratulations Patriots & to their fans!!! What a game-I don't have a fingernail left after that one! (So hard having to listen online & not be able to cheer my team on in person). It sure was an exciting series as well, now that's baseball at its' best! And to have Travis Anderson be the one to put us down…ouch, that hurt…lol! Again, kudos to all and we'll be back and in it to win it next year!!!
Sharks, you guys are truly a great team and you make your fans proud. My family and I will always be grateful to all of you for giving us so many good times day after day. Cheering for you & getting to know you is something that we look forward to & can share as a family. For those of you who will not return, best of luck wherever life takes you, we'll miss you. To the ones who come back, see you in the spring!
Mike & Scott, as always…thanks for all you do! Love ya!

2. Sportswriter - September 30, 2008

what were those guys thinking, signing autographs on their way into the clubhouse. they trying to rile up this website or something? I guess winning a title makes people lose their minds. what a way to win and what great coverage. way to go Mikey.

3. KenD - October 1, 2008

Mike & Scott,

I enjoyed reading your posts all season. It is the best way to find out what is going on in the League. You did a great job and all of us appreciate it. Hopefully you guys will keep it up. Nice coverage of the championship. I turned the internet broadcast on 2 pitches before Anderson's HR. Great way to end the season.

4. Scott Stanchak - October 1, 2008

Thanks! I give Mike most of the credit for this season. As I’ve moved on to other ventures, he’s continued to work hard covering the league. His championship stuff impressed me very much. Don’t expect too many new postings in the next few days, just because I want as many people to see the final-game coverage as possible.

5. Everett W. - October 1, 2008

That’s fine but there is still one big question left to be resolved in the next few weeks. Will the Atlantic League play in Richmond, Virginia next season or not?

WTVR/6 in Richmond reports that two different 2009 Atlantic League schedules have been completed based on the answer to that question.

6. KenD - October 1, 2008

Curious as to Richmond. Would that mean (i) moving Bridgeport to Richmond, (ii) bringing back the RW’s to make 10 teams or (iii) starting a new team and the Bluefish go to the CanAM league to replace Nashua?

7. Everett W. - October 1, 2008

The operating assumption is that it’s too late to get an affiliated team in place in Richmond for ’09. The Eastern League has already ruled it out.

One plan is that an expansion Atlantic League team could end up as a placeholder for 2009 until affiliated ball could be lined up for 2010.

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