Author: Thunderbirds


The Empire Baseball League has announced the winners of this years Awards.

The Awards are Batting Champion, Reliever of the Year, Starter of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Matt Joyce Slugger Award, Defensive MVP, Manager of the Year, Organization of the Year and Empire League’s Most Valuable Player Award.

Here are the Award Winners:

  • Batting Champion: 1B Jordan Larson (PLA):   .384 Avg in 128 PA
  • Reliever of the  Year: LHP Brandon Sattenfield (TL): 26GP 45.2IP, 2.56 ERA, 31SO, (2-1)  2/2 SV
  • Starter of the Year: LHP Shawn McFeggan (SL): #1 in ERA and Wins. (7-0) 61.2IP, 2.34ERA
  • Rookie of the Year: Brandon Russo(PLA): .371avg in 160PA 21RBI, 16SB,  7(2B) 3(3B)
  • Matt Joyce Slugger Award: INF Aj Wright(SL): Led in Slugging .659, Led in Doubles, Triples and total bases.
  • Defensive MVP: C Andrew Noviello (NH):  148 PO 13A 2E .988 FLD %
  • Manager of the Year: Sam Quinn-Loeb (PLA)
  • Organization of the Year: Tupper Lake Riverpigs
  • Most Valuable Player: INF Robert Antunez (TL): Led League in PA, Hits, Runs Scored, Runs Batted in.

Article by Empire Media


TUPPER LAKE, NY – The Plattsburgh Thunderbirds have been defeated by the Saranac Lake Surge in 5 games to bring home the 2021 Empire League Championship to the city of Saranac Lake, NY for the first time in Franchise History.

The Thunderbirds barely made the final Wild Card spot in the Playoffs in which they would defeat the Tupper Lake Riverpigs in an intense 7-6 final score to advance to the finals against the Saranac Lake Surge. Alex Rodriguez crushed a 3-run homer to take a 6-3 lead over the Riverpigs late in the game which would end up being the winning runs and shattering the Riverpigs dreams of winning a championship in year 1.

The Saranac Lake Surge defeated the Thunderbirds  in Game one by a score of 5-4 in  another intense game where starter Jhoendri Herrera who topped out at 95 mph got the no decision and Jessell Soto earned the victory as he came in to relief with Corey Steward earning the save. Alex Rodriguez would crush a second clutch RBI single to score 2 runs. Liam McArthur went 3 for 4. Cory Alexander would go 2 for 4 scoring 2 runs in the game for the Saranac Lake Surge while Brandon Gutzler went a perfect 3 for 3.

In Game two, The Thunderbirds made history as they scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning win by the score of 9-8. The comeback against the Surge was the biggest  in League finals history. Tj Riles and Kyle Robinson both homered for the Surge but wasn’t enough as Hanley Acevedo also homered for the Thunderbirds to get the team fired up for the comeback.  Manager Sam Quinn of the Thunderbirds was ejected in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes, and Surge Outfielder TJ Riles was also ejected for arguing balls and strikes

In Game three, Sora Sakashita of the Surge faced Wirliel Rangel of the Thunderbirds in a pitchers duel. The Game ended 3-1 after a huge 2 out single by Thunderbirds catcher Alex Rodriguez to score 2 runs. The Surge scored their only run in the 8th inning when Edel Luaces scored on a wild pitch. Thunderbirds would take a (2-1) series lead.

Game four would bring the series to a Winner Take All Game 5 as the Surge jumped all over the Thunderbirds defeating them by a score of 7-2. Jessel Soto was phenomenal in this one going the distance and earning the win!

Game five crowned The Saranac Lake Surge champions as the Surge defeated the Thunderbirds 3-0. Jessel Soto was named Empire League Finals MVP

Article by Empire Media


Tupper Lake, NY – The Plattsburgh Thunderbirds defeated the Tupper Lake Riverpigs by a score of 6-5 in a wild card single elimination game.

Thunderbirds took an early 3-0 lead over the Riverpigs in a game that send Korean Pitcher Sungmin Choi to face Thunderbirds Ace Jhoendri Hererra whos throwing 95mph.

Riverpigs would chip away to tie the game in the 6th inning at 3 with clutch hitting by Edward Salcedo.

In the 7th inning however, Thunderbirds catcher Alex Rodriguez would crush a 3-run daggering Home Run to give the Tbirds a 3 run lead.

But the Riverpigs were not done yet, as Salcedo would help get things going once again driving in a 4th run and following him was Drew Thomas who hit a clutch 2 out single to right field to score two runs and tie the game at 6.

Tbirds would add on one more run in the top of the 9th with a single by Richard Miller and the Riverpigs just couldn’t get one across in the 9th .

Plattsburgh advances to the Empire League Finals where they will face the Saranac Lake Surge in a best of 5 series startiing tomorrow through Monday. All Games are at 6:35pm

You can purchase tickets at the gate or watch live at and clicking on Live Games link.

Article by Empire Media


LYON MOUNTAIN, NY – The Plattsburgh Thunderbirds clinched the 3rd and final spot in the Empire League Playoffs.

What does this mean? That means the Plattsburgh Thunderbirds and Tupper Lake Riverpigs will face off for a one game elimination playoff on August 4th at 7pm in Tupper Lake.

The winner of the wild card spot will advance to the 2021 Empire League Finals.

First game of the Zacari Cup Finals will be on August 5th at 6:35pm.

Article by Empire Media


JULY 17, 2021  TUPPER LAKE, NY – The Plattsburgh Thunderbirds represented the East in this years Empire Baseball League All Star Game.

The Thundersbirds joined the New Hampshire Wild to represent the East side. 10 Thunderbirds players were selected to the All Star team.

Malvin Matos and Richard Miller participated in the All Star Game Home Run Derby in which Malvin Matos took home the crown.

The T-birds will continue play Monday night at 7:00pm versus the Tupper Lake Riverpigs at Municipal Park in Tupper Lake.

Article by Empire Media


July 16, 2021 – Tupper Lake, NY – Malvin Matos has won the 2021 Empire Baseball league Home Run Derby contest after defeating Drew Thomas and Edward Salcedo of the Tupper Lake Riverpigs in the final Rounds.

Matos belted two big blasts into the lake behind the left field wall at Municipal Park to take the lead and the victory.

Matos becomes the 5th Annual Empire League Home Run Derby Contest winner.

Teammate Richard Miller hit the first homer of the night and made it to the Semi-Final round.

Article by Empire Media


  • The Plattsburgh Thunderbirds took both games over the white-hot Saranac Lake Surge in a two-game series. In a series that was originally scheduled for four games, mother nature ran its course and Thursday’s doubleheader was postponed for a later date. Game one of the series was a high-powered offensive showcase where there was a total of 27 hits. The Surge came out of the gates hot with three runs in the first inning. Plattsburgh matched that total and more by adding five runs in the second inning, bringing the score to 5-3. Going into the top of the ninth inning Plattsburgh led Saranac Lake 7-6. Plattsburgh added an insurance run leading 8-6 going into the bottom of the ninth. The Surge responded by scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth tying the game at eight. This sent the game into extra innings. Plattsburgh scored two runs in the top of the tenth inning, and it was enough for the win as the Surge were unable to match in the bottom of the inning. Liam McArthur led the T-Birds in hits with three. Luis Rojas and Khie Simms each chipped in two hits. Jake Ferrante earned the win on the mound in relief and Adam Michalesko earned the save. Christian Montanez led the Surge in hits with three. Aj Wright, Brandon Gutzler, and Kenny Hernandez all had two hits for the Surge in the loss. Game two looked a lot like the first game of the series. In a game where there were 30 combined hits and 24 runs, it was another game for the hitters to shine. Plattsburgh got out to a hot start and looked like they had the game in hand leading 14-3 going into the bottom of the sixth inning. The Surge attempted to battle back with a six-run inning, but the comeback was thwarted as Plattsburgh took the game 14-10. Jhoendri Herrera, Luis Rojas, and Richard Miller paced the T-Bird offense all slapping three hits. Starting pitcher, Brelin Dixon earned the win on the mound in five innings of work. Surge outfielder, Brandon Gutzler smoked a game-high four hits. Teammates Juan Pena and Kenny Hernandez each chipped in three hits.
  • The Thunderbirds look to stay hot after winning three consecutive games as they travel back home for a series against the New Hampshire Wild. The Surge travel to Tupper Lake for a continuation of their rivalry series against the Riverpigs.
  • Article written by Ben Norcross.


On Monday, June 21st, the Tupper Lake Riverpigs headed to Lyon Mountain, NY to take on the
Plattsburgh Thunderbirds for their first series matchup of the regular season.
The Thunderbirds are coming off three straight losses against the New Hampshire Wild while
Tupper Lake, a week prior, won three games of a four game set against cross-lake rival Saranac
Lake Surge.
Preceding the series, Tupper Lake stood alone atop the standings and Plattsburgh at the bottom
with an overall record of 2-4.
For Plattsburgh, this series serves as a redemption set; a win or wins against Tupper will help
bolster the confidence the Thunderbirds need going down the stretch. In order for the Riverpigs
to keep their impressive play and consistency alive, a good performance against the T-Birds
would be ideal for their team as they look to increase their win total.
Early on in game one, the Riverpig offense posted a quick two runs, highlighted by a two run
blast by outfielder Edward Salcedo to left field, to help give starting pitcher Jose Zacarias a
comfortable cushion of runs while on the mound. After a couple of shutout innings from
Zacarius, the Thunderbirds rallied by putting up a run in the bottom of the third to cut the Tupper
lead in half.
Pitcher Jacob Lafountain, of the Thunderbirds, threw a great first half of the game until he,
ultimately, allowed a streak of three runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Consequently, Jacob was
pulled and replaced by reliever Zachary Goree, who would go on to pitch the rest of the outing.
Following his one run allowed in the third, starter Jose Zacarius pitched a couple of shutout
innings until exiting the hill after the end of the fifth inning. He would finish his start with five
strikeouts and eight hits given up.
Riverpig relievers Branden Sattenfield, Austin Henson, and Reibel Custodio would follow suit
with Zacarius by pitching four combined innings of zero earned runs, five K’s and a minimal two
hits allowed.
Tupper Lake would go on to take game one of the three game series with a final score of 8-1.
Late Tuesday afternoon, game two of the three game sequence was set to take place and both
squads, especially Plattsburgh, were looking to solidify a solid performance en route to a
second match victory.
Limited to a low number of pitchers due to players being called up and availability issues,
Thunderbirds manager Sam Quinn-Loeb was forced to make the decision of starting a position
player on the mound.
With little pitching experience professionally, Darrell Gotz Jr. was faced with the unfamiliar lead
role against a Tupper Lake team whose bats had been consistently solid throughout the early
portion of the season.
Allowing only one run in the top half of the first, an unlikely impressive start by a position player
was in the minds of everyone involved.
The Thunderbirds would tack on two runs early to help Gotz Jr. continue his start with the
momentum leaning their way.
Even when it seemed like an improbable outing of position pitching could pay off, the Tupper
Lake Riverpigs silenced any hope for said performance by scoring four runs in the top half of the
second. The numerous runs scored were spotlighted by a three run homer by Edward Salcedo,
his second home run of the series.
Ultimately, Darrell Gotz Jr. would pitch five innings for the Thunderbirds, allowing seven hits and
seven earned runs as well as six strikeouts.
In the start of the bottom of the fifth inning, the Thunderbirds trailed Tupper Lake 7-3 and would
need a little magic from their offense. And magic is just what they were granted. The
Thunderbirds executed a four run inning to tie the game, headlined by a pair of RBI singles from
first baseman Jordan Larson and catcher Alex Rodriguez.
Plattsburgh relief pitcher Cody Boydstun entered the game in the sixth inning and pitched
lights-out through three innings, going shutout through the eighth. With another run tallied on the
score for the T-Birds in the seventh, the Riverpigs trailed 8-7 heading into the ninth, and they
needed a little magic themselves if they wished to extend the game further.
Drew Thomas and Miguel Molina each provided their Riverpigs team with an RBI to post two
runs and to, eventually, take a 9-8 lead with the Thunderbirds due up in the bottom of the ninth
Faced with the obstacle of needing one run to tie or several to win, Plattsburgh came up to the
plate ready and willing to face the challenge. Shortstop Luis Rojas reached the bases via a base
hit single and was on the diamond, representing the tying run. A bloop single to shallow right
field by Jordan Larson would score Rojas and force extras in game two.
With the international extra innings rule enforced by the Empire Baseball League where a
runner starts on second base to begin each half inning, the Thunderbirds and Riverpigs were
each given a weapon to help them with the hopes of securing a win.
Unfortunately for Tupper Lake, the offense was unable to score a run in the top half of the first,
so all Plattsburgh needed was to score the runner from second. Face-to-face with the pressure
of winning the game, Thunderbirds third baseman Khie Simms confidently slapped a bunt on
the first pitch of the bottom half of the first extra inning. The bunt-and-run would work to
perfection, as the runner advanced to third until a throwing error to first base allowed the runner
to cruise to home plate and win in walk off fashion.
The walk-off bunt pulled off by Khie Simms fastened the Thunderbirds a 10-9 win to even the
series at one game a piece.
Game three, the final game of the series, occurred on Wednesday, June 23rd and both teams
were searching for a series clinch.
Game two was an exciting one as the fans and teams witnessed a rare walk-off bunt execute
the Thunderbirds to a series tying victory.
In the final game, Thunderbirds starting pitcher, Adam Michalesko, threw an astonishing five
shutout innings, while, during which, the Thunderbirds barrels would score two runs to take a
2-0 lead heading into the top half of the sixth inning.
Adam would end up exiting the game after allowing two runs by the Riverpigs to tie the ball
game. He finished with five hits allowed, two earned runs, and one strikeout.
Heading into the seventh inning, the game remained tied until Plattsburgh posted two runs to
take a 4-2 lead, highlighted by an RBI triple by Brandon Russo. But knowing the Riverpigs, a
lead by the opposing team meant nothing but a will to push for a victory.
Tupper Lake scored one run in the eighth to cut the Plattsburgh lead to just one run, and they
wouldn’t stop there. In the top of the ninth, third baseman Drew Thomas blasted a homerun to
tie the game and keep their hopes of clinching the series alive.
Later on, critical throwing errors allowed Riverpigs center fielder Killian Bloat to reach home
plate and give his team a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Similar to the situation of game two, Plattsburgh needed one run to tie the game, or could win
with a couple of heads crossing home plate. One run to go into extras was what they needed,
and one run is what they received to force a game extension.
Extra innings began and Tupper Lake immediately took charge of the moment by scoring two
runs in the top of the tenth inning to take a 7-5 lead. Unfortunately, Plattsburgh was unable to
match the performance of their counterpart in the first half of the inning and would fail to score a
run, losing the game 7-5.
Following the three game set, Plattsburgh fell to third place in the standings with an overall
record of 3-6, and the Riverpigs increased their win margin to 7-3 to remain atop the regular
season leaderboard.

Article by Jack Burgess


Lyon Mountain, NY – After the 2020 Empire Baseball League season was completely eliminated due to the complications and restraints of the novel coronavirus, Opening Weekend for the 2021 summer season was highly anticipated by residents of Tupper Lake, NY and its neighboring counterparts.

Four teams sprung into action on June 12th & 13th to begin the season. The first matchup was hosted by the defending 2019 champion Plattsburgh Thunderbirds and the visiting Saranac Lake Surge.

In the first game Saturday, the home team Thunderbirds struggled to gain much ground early offensively as the pitching and defense of the Surge limited opportunities. On the other end, the  Surge bats came out hot, providing them with a comfortable cushion of runs.
The early lead by the Surge would soon shrink as Plattsburgh began to find effective ways to  get on base and score runs. Center Fielder Hanley Acevedo provided his Thunderbird team with the spark they needed after lighting up the field hitting 3-4 with two doubles, a single, seven bases and, ultimately, four runs.

The Thunderbirds would, however, come up short and fall to the Surge 13-11 after an explosive showing of Saranac Lake offense late in the game.

Looking to come out hot to redeem their game one loss, the Thunderbirds starting pitcher brought the fire, throwing a complete game shutout to go along with two hits allowed to pick up their first win of the season. The Plattsburgh bats came out firing early and would ultimately score ten runs to even the four game set.

Even though the Plattsburgh Thunderbirds would start the season 0-1 and would later pick up their first win, the team is confident in themselves and their ability to hit the ball both with power and effective contact. In a post game interview Saturday with Thunderbirds player of the game
Hanley Acevedo, he said that he “personally felt comfortable at the plate” and that the team, as a whole, is a “great hitting team”. He would later explain to reporter Jake Manyin that the team needs to “shake off the rust and keep showing out”. That would prove to be evident as the Thunderbirds found their way to win Sunday and even the set.

Game three of the four game series is set to occur tomorrow at Lyon Mountain Park at 1 p.m. if expected thunderstorms and rainfall don’t force postponement.

Article by Jack Burgess
Empire League Press


YORK, PA –  Empire Leagues right handed pitcher Alex Vargas has been moved to the York Revolution of the Atlantic League.

Vargas played for the Empire League Grays in the Interleague games after joining the Saranac Lake Surge in 2019.  He was then traded to the Plattsburgh Thunderbirds where he helped close out the rest of the season and a league Championship.

As a closer, Vargas topped out at 95mph and has reached up to 98mph. He has been moved to the York Revolution of the Atlantic League for the start of the 2021 season.

Article by Empire Media