05/05/2012 7:40 PM
Rockland Boulders Open 2012 Training Camp
(Ramapo, N.Y.) – The countdown to the 2012 season is now underway, as the Rockland Boulders players reported for training camp today. Although camp officially begins tomorrow, players received their physicals today and will train at Provident Bank Park through May 15th. The Boulders will begin their second season of play on May 17 in Quebec against the defending league-champ Capitales.
Team manager and former World Series champion Dave LaPoint will have some tough choices to make as a strong core of returning players will join with some promising new faces to vie for spots on the Opening Night roster. Among the returnees previously announced are stalwarts Norm Hutchins, Ryan Mollica, Jonathan Velasquez, Bobby Blevins, and Adrian Martin.
The Boulders already announced the addition of Keith Brachold, who led the league in RBI last year with the Brockton Rox, but he’s not the only newcomer expected to make an impact. “What we wanted to do is shape up our pitching and our defense,” LaPoint commented, “and I think we’ve accomplished that so far.
A pair of acquisitions on the mound offer a great deal of promise, as right-handers Pat Moran and Julian Sampson combined for a record of 21-8 and each was in the Can-Am’s top 15 in earned run average a year ago. In 16 starts for the Pittsfield Colonials, Moran compiled an impressive 11-3 mark with a 3.56 ERA, 79 strikeouts and just 25 walks in 106 innings of work. Sampson was a workhorse for Brockton, tying for the league lead with 19 starts and posting a 10-5 mark with a 3.92 ERA, while allowing just 92 hits in 114 innings pitched.
In addition to Brachold’s outfield play, Scott Knazek is expected to bring a stabilizing presence behind the plate. In splitting time last season between the New Jersey Jackals and Pittsfield, the right-handed hitter accounted for a .985 fielding percentage while throwing out 25% of opposing baserunners.
Having been through the battles as both player and manager, LaPoint expects a spirited competition for prized roster spots. “What you look for in a camp like this,” he explained, “is for everyone to come out know he has to earn a spot. Whatever it takes for them to win a job, they’re going to do.”
The helmsman has made no secret of the fact that he expects a marked improvement in the squad this season, and is enthusiastic about the start of a new campaign. “This year I know a lot more about this league and we’ve gone out and acquired the talent that we expect to keep us in the race all season."