Mudcats Team History

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   The legend of the Mudcats unbelievable tournament run this past weekend in Seguin, Tx. at the NBC Regional will be talked about for years to come. The Cats lost their opening game 4-1 to the Katy Collegians and were seemingly left for dead going into the weekend. The Mudcats rattled off an amazing 4 wins in a 30 hour span to take home their first NBC Regional Title since 2003 which was the last time that the Cats attended the tournament. The Mudcats defeated the San Antonio Titans 4-1, the Austin Expos 9-4, the Seguin Steelers 8-7, and finally the Austin Gold Sox 14-13 to win it all.
   The Mudcats were not very respected by the other teams coming into the tournament and especially after they had a dismal opening game vs the Collegians. The mood changed drastically throughout the weekend as the Cats fought back in every game with a vengeance. The Mudcats never gave up and never gave in no matter the circumstances. "I can't even believe what happened here this weekend. I am so emotional that I can't even speak. I am truly proud to be a Mudcat. These guys are family and they deserve this," Manager David Pratt said in a post game interview.
   Several players were of note for their performance this past weekend, but 3 in particular stood out. Catcher Brendan Chauret (.368 7-19 7 1B, 5 RU, 7 RBI, BB); Center Fielder Tim Landy (.444 8-18 7 1B, 2B, 5 RU, 6 RBI, 2 BB, HBP); and Pitcher Travis Barlow(2-0 10 1/3 IP, 16 HI, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO). They showed what it means to defy the odds a find a way to get the Championship won and were definitely the MVP's of the tournament. Other offensive standouts included Matt Simpson (.350 7-20 7 1B, 2 RU, 3 RBI, SB, HBP); Tommy Weisz (.438 7-16 7 1B, 5 RU, RBI, 5 BB, HBP); Jon Fletcher (.375 6-16 6 1B, 5 RU, 3 RBI, 3 BB, HBP); Todd West (.417 5-12 4 1B, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, SB); and Joe Taylor (.357 5-14 3 1B, 2 2B, 5 RU, 3 RBI, 3 BB, HBP). The offensive totals for the tournament were as follows: .322 55-171, 49 1B, 5 2B, 3B, 32 RBI, 36 RU, 29 BB, 2 SB, 5 HBP.
   The pitching staff struggled a bit over the weekend, but did keep the Cats in the game. The staff totals for the tournament were as follows: 4.00 ERA, 45 IP, 29 RU, 20 ER, 44 HI, 28 BB, 30 SO. The Mudcats did a great job of keeping their poise, but really struggled with walks that lead to a lot of runs that could have been avoided. The hitting that the Cats faced was the best they have seen all season and for the most part they got the job done.
   The Mudcats had agreed before the tournament to give the Gold Sox their bid to the NBC World Series no matter what in exchange for a winner take all 1 game Championship no matter which team was undefeated at the time if the 2 teams met in the finals. The Gold Sox were true to their word and the Mudcats wish the Gold Sox the best of luck in the World Series as they represent Texas.
   The Mudcats finished 2010 with a thrilling 2-1 playoff victory over their rival the White-Sox to capture their 2nd Austin Metro Baseball League Spring Playoffs title in 3 years. The Cats went 25-3 during the regular season to finish in 2nd to the White-Sox, but finally took down the White-Sox in the playoffs. With their championship victory the Mudcats finished the year ranked # 2 in the ASPBA national rankings. The Mudcats compiled a 33-7 overall record on the season which set a team record for wins in a season. The Cats fell 17-16 to the Memphis Royals in the championship game of the ASPBA World Series or they might have been assured a # 1 ranking. Overall, the Cats proved that they belong on the national stage with some of the nation's best teams with victories over teams from Missouri, Alabama, and Arkansas.
   The Mudcats offense seemed to always be there when it was needed in 2010. The Cats hit .376 as a team and scored an amazing 331 runs in 40 games. They averaged 8.3 runs per game.The offense was an integral part of their impressive season as many Cats contributed in successful ways. The Cats were lead by OF Steven Smolinsky (.427 47 hi, 10 2b, 4 3b, 35 rbi, 22 ru, 13 sb) who has quietly become the Cats best hitter over the past 3 years. Steven earned himself the "Silver Slugger" award for his impressive season. The outfield has been where the Cats have had some great offensive players over the years and that was definitely true of 2010. OF Tim Landy (.369 31 hi, 24 1b, 7 2b, 29 rbi, 25 ru, 21 bb, 7 sb), OF Jamie League (.462 36 hi, 27 1b, 7 2b, 2 hr, 27 rbi, 37 ru, 21 bb, 11 sb), OF Derek Wallace (.364 24 hi, 17 1b, 6 2b, 13 rbi, 20 ru, 7 sb), and OF Paul McCoy (.371 13 hi, 11 1b, 2 2b, 7 rbi, 18 ru, 8 bb, 2 sb) all had great seasons at the plate. The steady infield was lead by newcomers 3B Jason Winkler (.532 33 hi, 18 1b, 11 2b, 3 3b, 1 hr, 32 rbi, 23 ru, 10 sb), 3B Vinnie Ramirez (.286 16 hi, 13 1b, 3 2b, 11 rbi, 19 ru), and SS Raul Gomez (.379 22 hi, 15 1b, 4 2b, 3 3b, 9 rbi, 15 ru, 5 sb) who provided a lift to a left side of the infield that had struggled the two previous seasons. Ramirez earned "MVP" for his contributions. Veteran Cats Mike Pumo (.389 37 hi, 21 1b, 10 2b, 3 3b, 3 hr, 30 rbi, 34 ru, 12 bb, 12 sb) and 2B Jon Tapia (.375 18 hi, 16 1b, 2 2b, 9 rbi, 12 ru, 7 bb) had big years to add to the potent Cats attack. Behind the plate, C Brendan Chauret (.375 21 hi, 19 1b, 2 2b, 7 rbi, 18 ru, 9 bb) and C Joe Taylor (.302 26 hi, 9 1b, 10 2b, 6 hr, 26 rbi, 22 ru, 11 bb) sparked the Cats with big hits in clutch situations. Chauret also earned the Jay Sevier "Gold Glove" award for his defense.
   Other offensive contributers were: OF Pedro Maldanado (.389), 2B Corey Jahn (.318), SS Preston Owen (.360), UT Jason Rangel (.417), UT David House (.318), and 2B Mike Dunn (.250). Dunn earned the Michael Pratt "Hustle" award for his efforts. Also contributing to the Cats offensively in tournaments were: Eric Martanovic, Ben Parker, Tommy Weisz, and Matt Simpson.
   The pitching was definitely the strength of the Mudcats in 2010. With a team ERA of 2.76, the Cats were able to hold opponents at bay. Mudcats pitching also only allowed an amazing 107 earned runs and 123 walks while striking out 280 batters in 272 innings of play. This was a truly remarkable feat for a team that struggled the year before on the mound. The pitchers were led by their starting 6 pitchers who all had great seasons on the bump. Newcomers David House (6-0 52.1 inn, 2.81 era, 52 k), Vinnie Ramirez (6-1 29.2 inn, 1.42 era, 30 k), and Jason Rangel (3-3 30.1 inn, 3.23 era, 5 saves) were great additions to a staff that already had solid pitching with Chris Tuttle (4-0 30.1 inn, 1.15 era, 39 k, 1 save), Travis Barlow (5-1 39.1 inn, 2.14 era, 35 k, 3 saves), Kyle Gruver (3-0 28.1 inn, 5.68 era, 29 k), Jamie League (3-1 34.1 inn, 2.24 era, 31 k, 2 saves), and Troy Green (2-0 13.1 inn, 4.72 era, 17 k). The staff was clutch all season long in holding opponents to less than 3 runs a game on average.
   The 2011 Cats will have big expectations to fill to achieve what the 2010 Cats did. Look for many of the Cats to return along with some key free agent additions in order to try and defend the title in 2011.
2010 Award Winners:
MVP - Vinnie Ramirez
Silver Slugger - Steven Smolinsky
Cy Young - Travis Barlow
(Jay Sevier) Gold Glove - Brendan Chauret
(Michael Pratt) Hustle - Mike Dunn
   The Mudcats were one out away from a World Series title after losing a 16-14 lead in the bottom of the 7th with two outs in the championship game vs the Memphis Royals. The Mudcats braved scorching heat all weekend to finish the tournament 3-2 and finish in 2nd place. The Cats logged victories over the St. Louis Vikings 4-3, the Florence Nitro 4-1, and the Pine Bluff Braves 7-0, and lost to the Pine Bluff Braves 7-5 early in the tournament before falling to the Memphis Royals 17-16 in the championship game. The competition was fierce as 5 of the top ranked teams were in action over the weekend. The Mudcats definitely proved that they belong with the best teams in the United States.
   The Cats managed to hit .330 as a team in the tournament with 42 hits and 36 runs scored in 5 games. Offensive standouts included Raul Gomez (.375 6-16 6 1B, 2 RBI, 3 RU, SB); Brendan Chauret (.555 5-9 5 1B, 4 RU, 2 BB, RBI); Matt Simpson (.500 5-10 5 1B, 4 RU, 4 BB, SB); Tommy Weisz (.455 5-11 4 1B, 2B, 2 RBI, 6 RU, 4 BB, SB); Tim Landy (.308 4-13 3 1B, 2B, 6 RBI, 4 RU, 4 BB); Steven Smolinsky (.286 4-14 2 1B, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 3 RU, 2 BB); Jon Tapia (.286 4-14 3 1B, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 RU); and Derek Wallace (.333 4-12 3 1B, 3B, 5 RBI, 2 RU, BB). Mike Pumo hit the only home-run of the tournament for the Mudcats, it was his third of the season, and newcomer Eric Martanovic had 2 hits in 2 games to help with the offense.
   The Cats pitched exceptional until the title game. The ERA for the tournament was 4.71 and the pitching allowed 24 earned runs, 31 hits, and had 29 strikeouts. Most of the damage came from the title game as before that the team had an ERA of 2.00 in the first 4 games. Pitching standouts included Chris Tuttle (W 6.0 IP, HI, ER, 12 SO) and Jamie League (ND 4.2 IP, 6 HI, ER, 6 SO). Jason Rangel had a roller coaster of a tournament with a win, a loss, and a save in 3 appearances. David House got the win Saturday night vs Pine Bluff, and Kyle Gruver pitched well in relief vs Pine Bluff on Friday.
SS Raul Gomez (.375 6-16 6 1B, 2 RBI, 3 RU, SB)
C Brendan Chauret (.555 5-9 5 1B, 4 RU, 2 BB, RBI)
P Chris Tuttle (W 6.0 IP, HI, ER, 12 SO)   
   The Mudcats finished the 2009 campaign with a pair of disappointing losses to the White-Sox, 11-2 and 10-3, that knocked the Cats from the playoffs which eventually crowned a new champion. The Mudcats finished 19-8 and really played poorly down the stretch dropping 4 of their last 7 games. These losses included the White-Sox 6-1, and the Rays 11-10 that pushed the Mudcats to the #2 seed for the playoffs. This pitted the Cats vs the Sox in the first round and that is where the Cats drooped their final 2 games of the season. They never seemed to find a rhythm on offense and made several errors defensively that cost them in the end. The Mudcats have gone 49-13 in 2 years in the Austin Metro Baseball League with 1 championship yet most players feel very unsatisfied. The Mudcats have a long tradition of winning characterized by a very competetive attitude and will to win. This attitude seemed visibly lost in 2009 and the team was often frustrated causing a lack of team chemistry. This chemistry is what the Mudcats will need to find in 2010 to regain the crown they once held.
   Several bright spots in 2009 included newcomer Scott Dodge who had a spectacular season (.482, 13 RBI, 12 Runs, 11 SB, 4-1 1.70 ERA, 37 K's). Dodge was a duel threat player who provided a valuable spark to the Cats. Also on offense, Derek Wallace had a breakout year (.473, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 22 Runs) and Steven Smolinsky (.492, 1 HR, 20 RBI, 23 Runs) continued his success with the Cats. Other notable offensive efforts included; Joe Taylor (.375, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 21 Runs), Mike Pumo (.373, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 16 Runs), Ben Parker (.397, 18 RBI, 19 Runs), Jesse Bogan (.387, 3 HR, 19 RBI), Brendan Chauret (.340, 15 RBI, 10 Runs), David Walker (.423, 6 RBI, 12 Runs), Tim Landy (.400, 8 RBI, 13 Runs), and Jamie League (.365, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 24 Runs, 13 SB).
   Aaron Smith led the pitching staff (7-2, 2.84 ERA, 44.1 Innings, 5 BB, 52 K's) as he has now compiled a 15-3 record over the last 2 seasons with the Mudcats. Smith has become a dominate pitcher in this league and is closing in on many Mudcats records. Jamie League led the bullpen (0.62 ERA, 4 Saves, 11.1 Innings, 1 ER, 20 K's) and now has 7 saves, 43 K's, and has only given up 1 Earned Run in 27.2 Innings in the last 2 years with the Cats. Other notable pitching efforts included; Chris Tuttle (3-1, 3.50 ERA, 24 Innings, 24 K's), Troy Green (2-1, 3.23 ERA, 17.1 Innings, 18 K's), and Travis Barlow (1-1, 4.38 ERA, 2 Saves, 24 Innings, 26 K's).
   Overall, the Mudcats were efficient for most of the year, but didn't quite have enough in the end to win back-to-back championships. They will really have to improve in several areas in order to get back to the top of their game. 

2009 Award Winners:

MVP - Scott Dodge
Silver Slugger - Derek Wallace
Cy Young - Aaron Smith
(Jay Sevier) Gold Glove - Tim Landy
(Michael Pratt) Hustle - Preston Owen