Thursday, December 13, 2018

Boles to Manage Binghamton Rumble Ponies
BINGHAMTON, NY – The Binghamton Rumble Ponies are proud to name Kevin Boles as the team’s manager for the 2019 season. A veteran Minor League instructor with nearly two decades of managing experience, Boles joins the New York Mets organization after spending the last eleven seasons managing in the Boston Red Sox system.
“It is an honor to join the organization and I’m very excited to get started,” said Boles. “We will do our best to develop championship-quality players for the New York Mets.”
Boles, 43, will take the reins of the Rumble Ponies following a five-year stint managing the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA). He guided Boston’s top Minor League team to one International League championship, winning the Governor’s Cup in 2014. Baseball America recognized him in 2018 as the International League’s Best Managerial Prospect.
Prior to his time in Pawtucket, Boles managed in the Eastern League with the Portland Sea Dogs from 2011 through 2013.
Boles becomes the 16th manager in franchise history and the second to steer the ship since the team became the Rumble Ponies. His predecessor, Luis Rojas, was recently added to the New York Mets Major League coaching staff as Quality Control Coach.
The 2019 season will be Boles’ 20th year as a manager or full-time coach in Minor League Baseball. The Chicago native made his managerial debut in 2000 at the age of 25 with the GCL Marlins (R). He also logged time on various Minor League coaching staffs within the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins organizations before joining the Red Sox in 2008.
Boles played at the University of South Florida before the Chicago Cubs selected him in the 42nd round of the 1998 draft. After two seasons as a player, he followed his father’s footsteps into managing. John Boles managed at the Major League level with the Florida Marlins for four seasons (1996, 1999-2001). The elder Boles served as an executive with several teams for over two decades during his career in baseball.
Boles’ tenure with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies is set to start on April 4, 2019 against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

SYMETRA TOUR, WAPT JOIN FORCES TO EXPAND WOMEN’S GAME

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The Symetra Tour and newly formed Women’s All Pro Tour (WAPT) have announced a partnership for 2019 to promote and enhance opportunities for women to play professional golf.

As the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour, the Symetra Tour is known as the “Road to LPGA.” The agreement focuses on the WAPT serving in the same role, only for the Symetra Tour.

“There are so many deserving professional female golfers who are members of the Symetra Tour, but haven’t had access to our tournaments because we don’t host weekly qualifiers,” said Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour. “Additionally, those players who are on the alternate list waiting for their opportunity to play often lack consistent tournament competition to be ready when their time comes. Our hope is that Symetra Tour members will take advantage of this alliance which provides them an avenue for tournament entry and consistent, high-level competition against their peers.”

Operated by K&G Sports LLC, the WAPT is a developmental tour that will host five tournament series. Each series will feature two 72-hole championships for a full schedule of ten events in 2019. The top-two competitors in each of the five series will receive an exemption into select Symetra Tour events.

While the 2019 Symetra Tour schedule has yet to be announced, it will once again feature greater than 20 tournaments and $3 million in total prize money for the season. Symetra Tour tournament exemptions will be granted for the following events based on results from series one through five, respectively: IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort and Spa, Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, Valley Forge Invitational, Prasco Charity Championship and Janesville Golf Classic.

“We are very excited and honored to partner with the Symetra Tour and more importantly, be a part of the growth of women's golf,” said WAPT president Gary DeSerrano. “As we have done with the APT, the goal of our new WAPT is to provide more playing opportunities for women in professional golf and prepare them for a life on the Symetra and LPGA Tours. We look forward to the partnership in 2019 and hope to grow it in the years to come.”

K&G Sports is not new to professional golf. Since 2007 they have expanded the All Pro Tour (APT) into the largest men’s developmental tour outside those within the PGA TOUR circuit. The APT hosts 14-15 events each year and has graduated a number of players to the PGA TOUR including first-time winners Andrew Landry, Brice Garnett and Austin Cook in 2018.

Meanwhile, the alliance is sure to open doors for female players and pay dividends immediately. The WAPT hosted three tournaments in 2018 that served as test events and promotion for the tour's kickoff in 2019. Summar Roachell (Conway, Arkansas) competed in all three of the APT women’s division tournaments with her best showing of second place in Mandeville, La. at the Business First Bank Classic.

The University of Arkansas alumna said the experience helped prepare her for the next step and that a great deal of potential exists with the two organizations joining forces.

“Not having status the past year on the Symetra Tour, this partnership would have shown me the level of competition I could expect week in and week out on the Symetra Tour,” said Roachell, who finished 144 holes at the inaugural LPGA Q-Series to gain Symetra Tour membership for next season. “Every WAPT event I played I knew exactly what I was going to get—quality competition, great golf course, challenging setup and tournament staff that cares about your development. I am trilled to see the Symetra Tour and WAPT join together. It is a step in the right direction.”

ABOUT SYMETRA TOUR
The Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 39th competitive season in 2019. With the support of its umbrella partner Symetra, the Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Since Symetra’s inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7M in prize money to $3M in prize money awarded over the course of 21 tournaments. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 433 LPGA titles. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, Facebook.com/RoadtotheLPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA and YouTube.com/Road2LPGA.

ABOUT SYMETRA  

Symetra Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Symetra Financial Corporation, a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Washington. In business since 1957, Symetra provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions and independent agents and advisors. Symetra began its partnership with the Road to the LPGA in 2010 as the title sponsor of the Symetra Classic. It secured naming rights for the Symetra Tour in November 2011. In addition to its title sponsorship of the Tour, which runs through 2021, Symetra sponsors two events on the tournament schedule—the Symetra Classic and the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship. For more information about Symetra, visit www.symetra.com.

ABOUT WAPT

Subsidiary of K&G Sports LLC, the WAPT represents one of the best development opportunities for golf professionals in the USA to hone their competitive skills, while preparing for a life on the Symetra  and LPGA Tours.  Our events host special events on Monday, Pro-Am events on Tuesday and a 72-hole championship from Wednesday through Saturday. For more information visit www.wapt.golf. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

SWB Pinstripes Foundation to host second holiday luncheon Thursday
200 students and young adults headed to PNC Field for free holiday-inspired lunch
 
MOOSIC, PA (December 11, 2018) – On Thursday, December 13, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and their charitable arm, the SWB Pinstripes Foundation, will host their second luncheon this holiday season.  The club will welcome life skills and special education students in middle school and high school as well as several young adult programs.  The luncheon will begin at 11:30 A.M. and will be held in the Legends Club at PNC Field.   
 
“We are happy to once again open the ballpark for a free event like this,” said Jordan Maydole, the RailRiders Director of Community Relations.  “Our Thanksgiving luncheon was a success with 200 local children and young adults in attendance.  It is such a joyous time of year and we hope that Thursday’s event matches that feeling of the holiday season!”
 
CHAMP, the RailRiders mascot will be on-hand to entertain while the guests enjoy a holiday-themed meal and participate in craft-making.  In addition, a special guest from the North Pole may visit PNC Field.
 
This event, like the Thanksgiving luncheon last month, were made possible through approximately $10,000 in donations through the SWB Pinstripes Foundation.  The foundation also recently completed a sale of poinsettias and wreaths for the holiday season.
 
“The SWB Pinstripes Foundation is committed to improving our community,”  said Amy Miller, the manager of the SWB Pinstripes Foundation.  “2018 has been phenomenal year and we are looking forward to growing our reach to best benefit Northeast Pennsylvania.”
 
For more information on the SWB Pinstripes Foundation, please contact Jordan Maydole or Amy Miller in the RailRiders front office at (570) 969-BALL or visit swbrailriders.com.
 

Monday, December 10, 2018

SWB RailRiders announce All-Time Team Infield
Players to be honored with bobbleheads during 2019 celebration season
 
MOOSIC, PA (December 10, 2018) – The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are pleased to unveil the infielders selected for their All-Time SWB Team.  The RailRiders will spend the 2019 season honoring 30 years of professional baseball in Northeast Pennsylvania.
 
Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Rick Schu have been tabbed by voters as the top players at their respective spots on the infield.  Each will be honored with a custom bobblehead giveaway during the 2019 season.  Howard played for the Red Barons in 2004 and 2005, batting .371 in ‘05 with 16 home runs over 61 games.  Utley spent portions of three seasons in Moosic, including 2003 when he played 113 games and hit .323.  Rollins batted .274 in 2001 for SWB with 12 home runs and 69 runs batted in.  Schu played over 100 games in back-to-back seasons for the Red Barons and hit over .300 both years. 
 
During October and November, fans nominated and then voted on their all-time favorites that graced the field in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the home club.  Nominations spanned the full history of professional baseball in NEPA, were pared down to the finalists before the voting determined the fan’s ultimate selections.
 
Howard received 75% of the possible votes at first base, besting Tyler Austin, Gene Schall and Jon Zuber.  Utley recorded 78% of the votes at second, topping Marlon Anderson, Dave Doster and Jose Pirela.  Rollins recorded 73% of shortstop votes, defeating Eduardo Nunez, Nick Punto and Tyler Wade.  Schu narrowly edged Miguel Andujar, Travis Chapman and Scott Rolen, collecting 43% of the vote to earn the third base honors.
 
Rollins bobblehead will be the first given away in 2019, set for May 11, and will be followed by Utley on June 1.  Schu’s bobblehead is scheduled for July 6 and Howard’s is slated for August 3.
 
Howard, Utley, Rollins and Schu join pitcher Luis Severino and catcher Gary Sanchez on the All-Time SWB Team.  The outfield will be announced on Monday, December 17.  The RailRiders are offering a bobblehead plan for the 2019 season, guaranteeing all nine bobbleheads in addition to your game ticket.  A field reserved plan is $110 per seat and the bleacher plan is $100.
 
To purchase the bobblehead plan, season tickets or for more information, visit swbrailriders.com or call (570) 969-BALL.  The 2019 season begins on April 4 at Buffalo with PNC Field opener set for April 11.
Rojas Named to Major League Coaching Staff
BINGHAMTON, NY – Luis Rojas will join the New York Mets Major League coaching staff for the 2019 season, filling the new position of Quality Control Coach. In that capacity, Rojas will serve as a conduit between the Mets front office and the coaching staff.
Rojas served as the Binghamton Rumble Ponies manager for two seasons, compiling a record of 149-130 in his time in the Southern Tier. He guided the franchise to a postseason berth in his Double-A managerial debut season in 2017.
The New York Mets have yet to name a replacement for Rojas in Binghamton.
The Rumble Ponies will start their 2019 home schedule at NYSEG Stadium on April 11, 2019 against the Erie SeaWolves.

Friday, December 7, 2018

PBA Spare Shots
 
EJ TACKETT CLAIMS THIRD BERTH IN 2019 WORLD BOWLING TOUR MEN’S FINALS
Thanks in part to a gold-medal performance in all-events in the World Bowling Men’s Championships in Hong Kong last week, EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Ind., claimed the third berth in the 2019 World Bowling Tour Men’s Finals that will be contested on Sunday, Jan. 6, at the International Research and Training Center in Arlington, Texas, for broadcast on FS1 on March 10.
 
Tackett will join 2018 WBT points leader Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas, and Stuart Williams of England in the men’s finals. The WBT Women’s Finals, presented by the PBA, will feature Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y.; Liz Johnson of Palatine, Ill., and Daria Pajak of Poland.
 
On his way to winning the all-events gold medal in Hong Kong, Tackett also won gold in trios with Team USA teammates Andrew Anderson and Kyle Troup, and a silver medal in doubles with Anderson, PBA’s newly-crowned 2018 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year. Anderson was also silver-medalist in all-events.
 
WBT Men’s and Women’s Finalists were determined based on competition points earned in WBT events during calendar year 2018. For a complete summary of World Bowling Men’s Championships results, visit worldbowling.org.
 
INTERNATIONAL BOWLING MUSEUM TO UNVEIL PBA HALL OF FAME EXHIBIT
The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in Arlington, Texas, will unveil a new PBA Hall of Fame exhibit featuring items on loan from 2019 PBA Hall of Fame inductees Patrick Allen, Mika Koivuniemi, Bob Johnson and Jim Doty.
 
The PBA Hall of Fame exhibit, which will celebrate the organization’s role as the “major league of bowling in the world,” will hold its premier on Saturday, Jan. 5, in conjunction with the newest inductions. The Arlington-based IBM/HF serves as the home of the PBA Hall of Fame.
 
PBA REGIONAL UPDATE:  MIKE BAILEY WINS BEAUMONT SOUTHWEST OPEN
Mike Bailey from Irving, Texas, defeated Anthony Lavery-Spahr of Pasadena, Texas, 258-202, in the position round final match to win the 17th annual PBA Beaumont Southwest Open at Crossroads Bowling Center in Beaumont, Texas, Sunday. The victory was Bailey’s seventh in PBA Regional competition and his second in 2018.
 
Bailey battled Lavery-Spahr for the lead through most of the match play finals, but trailed Lavery-Spahr by 78 pins before the final game. With the 30 bonus pins awarded for winning the match, Bailey made up the deficit with a 258-202 win to claim the $2,500 first place check.
 
Bailey finished the event 18 pins ahead of Lavery-Spahr’s 4,853. Houston’s David Scardaville finished in third place.
 
Mike Moore and non-PBA member partner Shawn Naumann, both of Orlando, Fla., defeated Cristian Azcona of Puerto Rico and non-member Justin Dunn of Deland, Fla., 451-335, in a total pinfall match to win the $4,000 first prize in the PBA South Region Member/Non-Member Doubles at Break Point Alley Bowling Center in Tavares, Fla., Sunday.
 
Moore and Naumann won six of their eight matches and finished with a 16-game total of 7,042 pins to qualify first. Azcona and Dunn, who shared $2,000 for second place, eliminated Dave Stouffer of Lehigh Acres, Florida, and Lee Rathjen of Naples, Fla., 446-377, in the first stepladder match.
 
Harry Sullins of Chesterfield Twp., Mich., defeated top qualifier Mike Steil of Wheeling, Ill., 224-194, to win the PBA50 Victory Lanes Midwest/Central Open at Victory Lanes in Kankakee, Ill., Sunday. The tournament was Rich Weber’s final tournament as PBA Midwest Region tournament manager. Weber will officially retire on December 31.
 
Sullins, who earned $1,500 along with his 36th overall PBA Regional title and his fourth at Victory Lanes, defeated Gary Alstott of Washington, Ill., 267-214, in the semifinal game to advance to the championship match after Alstott eliminated Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio, 234-221, in the first match.
 
Scott Kinkaid of Elizabethtown, Pa., defeated Steven Kotowski of Clark, N.J., 278-236, to win the PBA MJK Pro Shop/Knob Hill Eastern Challenge presented by Brunswick in Manalapan, N.J., on Saturday.
 
PBA Challenge events are open to any member or non-member who has never won a PBA event.
 
Kinkaid, a 44-year-old non-PBA member, was bowling in his 12th PBA event. He qualified sixth and then dominated the field in the bracket elimination finals. He posted 6-1 record, averaging 262.4 over the seven games. Kotowski, also a non-member who was competing in only his second PBA event, posted a 5-2 record.
 
Kinkaid earned $1,500 for the win, but does not receive credit for a PBA Regional title because he is a non-member.

In the semifinal matches, Kinkaid topped Michael Markis of Tafton, Pa., 269-234, and Kotowski defeated Jeremy Milito of Holbrook, N.Y., 223-214.
 
● The PBA50 Timber Lanes East Open, originally scheduled for the Dec. 7-9 weekend in Oxford, Pa., has been postponed until 2019.
 
● As the PBA heads toward the year-end holidays, a limited schedule of PBA Regional competition is on tap for the Dec. 14-16 weekend, including the Reality Check/CareHawk South Classic at Sawgrass Lanes in Tamarac, Fla., and the Warren Harley-Davidson Central-East Challenge for non-title winners at Freeway Lanes of Warren, Ohio.
 
● Closing out PBA’s 2018 regional calendar will be the PBA50/PBA Houston Emerald Bowl Doubles presented by Bowling Dynamix over the Dec. 21-23 weekend, and the PBA Japan Region’s Scorpion and Women’s Scorpion Open tournaments at Tokyo Hagashiyamato Grand Bowl.
 
● For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on PBA Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area…and remember, you can follow “live scoring” for all PBA Regional events on pba.com (easily accessible for Apple and Android device users using the PBA app).
 
QUICK NOTES:
Del Ballard Jr., recipient of the 2017 PBA Tony Reyes Memorial Community Service Award, and wife Carolyn Dorin-Ballard have announced a $72,000 contribution to Cancer Care Services in the wake of their annual “Ballard Vs. The Big C” fund-raiser in Dallas.
 
Chris Barnes, the 2018 PBA Tony Reyes Memorial Community Service Award recipient, and wife Lynda drew a field of 241 participations for their 14th annual Barnes Thanksgiving Classic tournament at Plano Super Bowl in the Dallas area, awarding a total of $17,750 in scholarships.
 
Correction: the correct dates for the 20th anniversary Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles tournament in Houston, Texas, are Thursday, July 25 through Sunday, July 28. The tournament will be part of the 2019 USBC Cup points series and will be covered live from start to finish by PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling.
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2020 Triple-A All-Star Game coming to NEPA
RailRiders announce annual Triple-A showcase on July 15, 2020, at PNC Field
 
MOOSIC, PA (December 7, 2018) – On Thursday evening, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, in conjunction with the International League and Pacific Coast League, announced that the 2020 Triple-A All-Star Game will be held at PNC Field.  The festivities begin on July 13 and the 33rd Triple-A All-Star Game, presented by the Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau, will be played on July 15 at 7:05 P.M.
 
“We are thrilled to welcome the Triple-A Baseball world back to Northeast Pennsylvania,” stated Josh Olerud, the RailRiders Team President and General Manager.  “With the Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau at our side for this whole process, we are well aware of the profile and economic boost that these events can bring to a region.  This is a very exciting time at PNC Field with so much on the horizon.” 
 
2020 will mark the second time that the Triple-A All-Star Game and its events will be held in NEPA.  The eighth edition of the game was played at Lackawanna County Stadium on July 12, 1995.  At that time, the game was held as an American League versus National League contest with players coming from three leagues to represent their parent clubs. 
 
The All-Star Banquet will be held on Monday, July 13, 2020.  After a luncheon on July 14, PNC Field will host the annual home run derby and a celebrity softball game.  After the All-Star Game on July 15, a post-game bash will close the mid-season break.
 
For the announcement on Thursday, Olerud was joined by Curt Camoni, the Executive Director of the Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau, members of the team’s ownership group including Bob Mills, Andy Ashby, Steve Somers, Rick Bond, Matt Haggerty, John and Mary Metz, as well as Lackawanna County Commissioners Patrick O’Malley and Jerry Notarianni.  Roy White, a two-time All-Star and two-time World Champion, was also on hand to represent the New York Yankees.
 
The 2020 Triple-A All-Star Game will be the second national event at PNC Field since its 2012 renovation for the 2013 season.  The club also hosted the Triple-A National Championship Game in September of 2017.
 
In addition to the Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau as the title partner, the RailRiders have announced that the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center will serve as the official host hotel for All-Star Week.  The club is also pleased to have Novel-T-Shirts as a presenting sponsor of the events.
 
“Without exception, during every trip I have made to NEPA since 1995 I have been asked by at least one fan or member of the media: When are we going to host another Triple-A All-Star Game?” said International League President Randy Mobley.  “There is now an answer to this question and I am thrilled the game and associated events will return in 2020.” 
 
The 2018 All-Star Game was hosted by the Columbus Clippers and the 2019 edition is in El Paso, Texas.
 
“With the community support demonstrated when the team hosted the Triple-A National Championship Game in September of 2017,” Mobley added, “it became evident that we needed to get the All-Star Game back to Moosic as soon as possible.  The 29 other Triple-A teams around the country agreed, so here we come!  When the team’s current ownership took over a few years back, it arrived with a plan to ‘give the fans more’ and this is yet another example of that commitment being fulfilled.”
 
Ticket options, as well as additional details on the events surrounding the 2020 Triple-A All-Star Game, presented by the Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau, will be announced in the future.  The 2019 season, in which the RailRiders are celebrating 30 years of baseball in Northeast Pennsylvania, begins on April 4 with the home opener set for April 11.  Tickets and partnership information is available by calling (570) 969-2255 or by visiting swbrailriders.com