Author: Thunderbirds


PLATTSBURGH, NY  –  The Plattsburgh Thunderbirds have continued their early season success, taking three of four games versus the Japan Islanders. Runs came in troves, as the pitching on both sides had a hard time containing the opposition’s offense.

Game one was an extra innings affair that ended in a 10-7 Islanders victory, the Islanders first win of the season. Starter Kyung Min Han, went 8.0 innings for the Islanders, allowing them to save pitchers as they headed into extra innings. In those eight innings, Han allowed six hits, four runs, two walks, and struck out three batters. Kazunori Takebayashi entered for Han and gave the Islanders a clean inning, only allowing two hits and striking out two batters. Hirota Yasuda entered after Takebayashi, giving up one run, but did not let the game get away from him.

Takuto Hasegawa was the Islander’s top hitter in the game, going 4-6 with a double. He also knocked in three RBIs.

The Thunderbirds had pretty solid pitching throughout the game, but they were not able to keep the Islanders offense from staying on top. David Ortiz started the game for the Thunderbirds, allowing three runs in three innings. Frank Giuliano had a great outing, following up Ortiz with 4.0 solid innings, giving up two hits, walking one batter, and only allowing one run. He also struck out three batters.

Emmanuel Brantley had a clean two inning outing, striking out three batters. But the final pitcher for Plattsburgh, Rancys Nunez, put the nail in the coffin allowing four runs in his two innings of work. 

The most notable hitter on Plattsburgh was player of the week, Jamiel Orozco. Orozco went 4-5 with two runs scored, one RBI and a stolen base. 

Game two had a much different outcome. Although Plattsburgh pitching still had trouble keeping Japan from scoring, the Plattsburgh offense exploded for 23 runs, beating out the Islanders who had 11. 

Starter for Japan, Ken Watanabe, could not find the strike zone at all, walking 12 batters, and eight straight to start the game. He also allowed three hits and thirteen runs in only 1.1 innings pitched. Things started to balance out after Kenta Tanaka entered the game for the Islanders, going 2.2 innings and only allowing one run, but that was quickly thrown away after Oto Amagai allowed seven runs in 1.1 innings. Kazunori Takebayashi ended the game only allowing one run.

Katsuya Arai was the Islanders top offensive producer in this game. Arai went 3-4 with one run scored, two stolen bases and five RBIs. But, it was not enough to keep his team in the game.

Thunderbirds starter Hennry Civil did not have success either, allowing eight runs in 4.0 innings pitched. Civil walked eight batters and gave up four hits, while also striking out six batters. The Plattsburgh bullpen of Brandon Madero and Nick DiBenedeto was much more efficient than their starter, only allowing three combined runs in 3.0 innings. 

Brandon Russo was one of the main sources of offense, going 3-4, with three runs scored, three RBIs and four stolen bases. Aside from pitching a scoreless inning in relief, DiBenedeto also went 2-4 with four runs scored, four RBIs and two stolen bases in the win.

Game three featured yet another rough start for Islanders pitchers. Shinya Yamauchi started the game and went 4.2 innings, allowing 13 runs, and walking four batters. The three pitchers that came out of the bullpen, Kenta Tanaka, Ken Watanabe and Hirota Yasuda, allowed five runs in their 3.2 innings of work, but only one was earned. 

Daiki Hirabayashi gave the Japan offense its spark, going 2-5 with three runs scored, a double and three RBIs. Takuto Hasegawa also went 2-5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs.

Three pitchers for the Thunderbirds combined to allow 15 total runs. David Ortiz started and gave up the most runs, six, while Andrew Bielicky and Emmanuel Brantley each gave up four each. 

For the offense, AJ Pollack, Brandon Russo and Marcos Estevez all had three RBIs. Pollack went 1-2 in the game with three walks, three runs scored and five stolen bases. Estevez went 3-5 with three runs scored, a triple, a home run and two stolen bases in the Thunderbirds 18-15 win. 

The fourth and final game of the series was a shortened seven inning game, due to the Empire Baseball League’s run rule. The Thunderbirds were up by eight or more runs by the end of the top of the seventh inning, so the game concluded in a 14-6 Plattsburgh victory, securing them the series. 

Japan’s starter Rui Akagawa allowed all but one run in his 4.0 innings of work, and Oto Amagai followed up only allowing one run in his 2.0 innings of work. Akagawa allowed five hits and 14 walks on top of the 13 runs allowed.

Katsuya Arai was the Islanders offensive player in the game, going 2-4 with two runs scored, a double and two RBIs. The rest of the lineup for Japan was held in check allowing foe the first easy victory of the series for the Thunderbirds.

Nick DeBenedeto had a shaky start, allowing five runs in his four innings of work, but three Plattsburgh pitchers were able to come in and throw three clean innings en route to the win. 

Next, the Thunderbirds are set to face the Tupper Lake River Pigs, at Municipal Park for the first clash between the top two teams in the EBL. The first game is set for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. The Islanders will play their first home games of the season at Lyon Mountain in a four game set versus the Saranac Lake Surge. The first game is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Article by Ben Diamond


PLATTSBURGH, NY –  The Plattsburgh Thunderbirds swept the two game series versus the Saranac Lake Surge with an 8-0 shutout on Thursday night. The pitching for the Thunderbirds was the story of the game which was able to hold the Surge off the board. Starter Keyvan Grenald, who was also named one of the players of the game, gave the Thunderbirds five strong innings, allowing five hits and two walks and struck out six batters. 

Second player of the game for Plattsburgh was Emmanuel Brantley who relieved Grenald. Brantley pitched two perfect innings, and struck out one batter. The final player of the game was Brandon Madero. Madero went 1-1 with three walks and a stolen base. 

After their two game sweep of the Surge, the Thunderbirds welcome the Japan Islanders for a three game set as they look to continue their hot start.

Article by Benjamin Diamond


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