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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Big Week For County Baseball

By Jen Thomas
06:54AM / Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Steeplecats will face Team USA on Jnne 20 at Joe Wolfe Field. Team USA is made up of some of the country's best collegiate baseball players.
Things are heating up in the Berkshires as Team USA is slated to visit Pittsfield and North Adams on June 19 and 20 for two exciting baseball match-ups.

On Tuesday, June 19, Wahconah Park will host an exhibition game between Team USA and Oil Can Boyd's Traveling All-Stars. On Wednesday, June 20, the SteepleCats will play against Team USA at Joe Wolfe Field, as part of the national team's pre-tour training.

Team USA is composed of the best collegiate baseball players in the country who compete in an international tour during the summer, facing teams in China, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Pittsfield Event

"Team USA really is the cream of the crop," said Pittsfield Dukes Media Relations Manager Daniel Sturtevant. "We're honored that they agreed to come back to Pittsfield this year."

Though the team won't be facing the Dukes, Sturtevant thinks the event will bring in lots of local baseball fans.

Oil Can Boyd's Traveling All-Stars

Oil Can Boyd's Traveling All-Stars hosts former major league ball players, including Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

The All-Stars are on an exhibition game traveling tour of in an effort to raise awareness about the sudden decrease in baseball interest in African-American youth. Former Red Sox star pitcher, former Red Sox Ken Ryan and Sam Horn, and greats Bill Lee, Marquis Grissom and Delino DeShields are targeting urban areas country-wide to encourage young African-Americans to play the game.

"Since there’s been an influx of Latin players in Major League baseball, the number of African-Americans playing has been down dramatically," said Sturtevant. "For Boyd civil rights and race relations run deep. He just wants to get [youth] to play baseball again."

The Team USA match-up will be filmed by ESPN as part of a Sports Center segment focusing on Boyd.

"Hopefully, we’ll get a good showing for Pittsfield on national television," said Sturtevant.


SteepleCats Challenge


The following night, the North Adams SteepleCats will host Team USA as part of their New England Collegiate Baseball League warm-up circuit.

According to Director of Media Relations Geoff Brault, only one team has ever defeated Team USA in a NECBL match-up. Last year, the Torrington Twisters defeated the team in a 7-2 victory.

"The players get to test themselves against big names in college baseball," said Brault. "It’s just an honor to get to play them."

Brault said the match-up is one of the biggest dates on the SteepleCats’ schedule.

During the evening, Wolfe Field will host Hometown Heroes Night, a recognition of all local servicemen. All firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians will receive free entry into the ballpark, and there will be special presentations between innings.

"For everyone involved, this is really exciting," said Brault.

Sturtevant and Brault mentioned David Price, last year’s star pitcher for Team USA who became the top pick of the MLB’s 2007 First-Year Player Draft earlier this month.

"Fans want to see players who will be drafted in the first round or the second round. It’s exciting," said Brault.

Team USA will play at Wahconah Field in Pittsfield at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19 and will face the SteepleCats on June 20 at 7 p.m. at Joe Wolfe Field in North Adams.

Jen Thomas may be reached via e-mail at jthomas@iberkshires.com or 413-663-3384 ext. 23.
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