Chief Correspondent, Matt Tallarini
It was a record setting year for the Yankees Double Affiliate the Somerset Patriots. The Somerset Patriots closing in on the last month of the season were leading AA affiliates in majority of offensive and pitching categories let alone closing in on all of major stats inside the top 15 teams throughout minor league baseball.
Dan Fiorito manager of the Somerset Patriots in his first year has done as spectacular job with developing the young prospects and players with major league experience in addition to rehab assignments with the ball club during the course of year.
The New York Yankees have also done a wonderful job this year in the development circuit having six prospects listed in their pipeline that are inside the top ten ranking with the Somerset Patriots to end the 2022 campaign season. They include, OF Jasson Dominguez, C Austin Wells, OF Everson Pereira, INF Trey Sweeney, RHP Will Warren, and RHP Clayton Beeter. Beeter was acquired in the middle of the season in the Joey Gallo trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers. All of these players have played material roles with the ball club either joining in the middle of Somerset’s playoff push or starting with the ball club since the beginning of the season. The 83-53 Somerset Patriots had the best record in the Eastern League including both divisions. This was Somerset’s first title as an MLB affiliate in the history of their franchise now a Yankee affiliate since the Covid and the realignment process that happened in the minors during the non-conclusive 2020 season. During the first season as a Yankee affiliate Somerset finished 3rd in the Eastern League North East Division with a 72-47 record under previous manager Julio Mosquera.
Taking the mound for the deciding game of the Eastern League Final Somerset called upon Randy Vasquez to finish the job for the Patriots. Randy Vasquez during the regular season for the Somerset Patriots went 2-7 in 25 games. He had a 3.90 earned run average during a season where he pitched the most amount of innings up to date in his professional career, 110 plus innings. Before Game 3, it was a do or die scenario for Somerset as starting pitcher Yoendrys Gomez hauled the Patriots with 5 innings pitched, 2 hits allowed, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts with the bullpen containing Erie’s offense with no runs for the remaining outcome of game two in order to position themselves for a marquee deciding game three. With the help of the offense that led the way for Somerset in Game 2, Jasson Dominguez, Elijah Dunning, and Austin Wells all went yard to help the Somerset Patriots in a 9-2 win during the most pivotal matchup of the series.
Eyes were set for Game 3 and an Eastern League Championship on the line for the Somerset Patriots, the ball club felt confident with Randy going against Erie’s tough offense. Randy had amazing control of his breaking pitches alongside. The Erie’s bats could not catch up to his fastball throughout the game. During the first inning of the no hitter bid for Randy he struck out one batter and filled the void with two in play outs from his defense. Meanwhile, in the bottom of the first inning from Trey Sweeny’s first at bat walk Somerset ended up capitalizing on a nine run inning that had the ball club in a huge momentum swing in the deciding game. During the offensive first inning, 1B Mickey Gasper and 2B Jesus Bastidas had two key hits and ended up driving multiple runs for the Patriots offense. Erie had two errors from SS Danny Serretti which gave the Patriots a chance to execute on their productive first inning. The final set of runs during the first inning came off the bat of Jasson Dominguez, who ended up locking in on a 1-0 pitch to drive over the left field wall to capture a 9-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third inning on a 3-1 count LF Brandon Lockridge drove a single up the middle that deflected off pitcher Yaya Chentouf to spark another big run inning for the Patriots. A few batters later Jasson Dominguez stepped to the plate again and launched a two run homer for his second home run of the game to put the Patriots up 11-0 in Game 3 of the Eastern League Final. Third Basemen Andres Chaparro, several at bats later, in the third would hit a solo home run to provide more of a run cushion for the Somerset Patriots.
Randy Vazquez finished the game with pitch count concerns with 8 innings pitched, no hits allowed, no earned runs, one walk, and eight strikeouts. Carson Coleman Somerset’s closer went onto finish the game in the ninth inning to complete the no hitter with no hits allowed, no walks, and one strikeout to close out the championship for the Somerset Patriots in a 15-0 rout over the Erie Seawolves, Detroit Tigers AA affiliate team.
With a great future ahead for the New York Yankees organization, lots of talent from this Somerset ball club can be seen during spring training of the 2023 season with possible invitees that were with the 2023 Easter League Division champions.