Thursday, 22 October 2020 13:46

Saratoga Yankees Clinch Championship

By Megin Potter | Sports
Photo by Miguel De La Cruz of Catherine and Miguel Photography and Video Photo by Miguel De La Cruz of Catherine and Miguel Photography and Video

The Saratoga Yankees have won their third Saratoga MSBLChampionship in five years. 

Formed in 2013 by then Manager Marty Migliori, The Saratoga Yankees is one of 10 local MSBL teams. Nationally, the MSBL (Men’s Senior Baseball League) is the fastest growing adult amateur baseball organization in the country, with 3,200 teams and 45,000 members. 

Structured and well-run, the league is comprised of players looking for friendly competition who aren’t yet ready to retire into the world of community softball.

The Saratoga Yankees’ current Manager, Jose Segura led the team, which fields players of all abilities age 28 and older, to their first tournament win in 2016, then again in 2018. In late September, they sealed their third Championship win. 

After losing the first game of the playoffs, the Saratoga Yankees were reinvigorated by a home run from Nick Paniccia and swept through the remainder of the finals, winning against the Cubs with timely hitting and flawless defense from short stop Joe Sleeman. 

“There were a lot of things the league did to make this happen. It would’ve been a long summer without baseball,” said coach and player Mark Hertel.

The players on the Saratoga Yankees team wear many different hats. They have day jobs, families and other responsibilities, but spend two days a week during the summer season playing games on Saratoga baseball fields including at Geyser Park, East Side Rec (when it’s not under construction), and the Skidmore College campus. 

Membership fees are affordable and when needed, the team’s players, who are also local business owners, including Dan Bruno, of Bruno and Bruno Financial, and Sam Bottini, of Bailey’s Saratoga Bar and Eatery, help sponsor events. 

Hertel joined the Saratoga Yankees in 2016 when a co-worker at Global Foundries heard that he’d previously played college baseball for the University of Albany, and recommended joining the Saratoga MSBL team.

“I joined for the love of the game, because I was new to the area and wanted to meet new people. Since then, I’ve forged so many friendships I never would’ve had otherwise,” said Hertel.

Now, at age 52, Hertel’s role has evolved from playing to include coaching, as well. He’s even earned the nickname “Uncle Mark.”

“My biggest enjoyment is leading, teaching, and guiding the younger players. They really respect the knowledge I have. That’s my biggest contribution now,” he said.

With another championship under their belt for the Saratoga Yankees, the off-season will be a time for healing and mentally preparing before hitting the gym again this Spring. 

“That’s the secret to our success. We plan on sticking around for a while,” said Hertel.

For more information or to join the team, contact Ken Banker 518-470-7894. 

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