Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Heckler

By Tim Ferguson

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – “Time for a rally Chiefs, he can’t pitch!  Swing and a miss, that’s right you are out of here,” Syracuse Chiefs Heckler shouts.

            This is one of the first sounds you hear when you take your seat at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse.  Lloyd Broadnax, the Chiefs' heckler, is the loudest supporter of the home town team.  He doesn’t sit in a luxury suite, or behind home plate.  Section 205, near the visitors’ dugout, is his domain.

NBT Bank Stadium is filled with the echoes of his voice from literally every location in the ball park.  Whether you are in the press box trying to meet your deadline, or eating a hot dog down the third base line, Broadnax seems to travel with your ear.

            Broadnax, 53, says he moved to Central New York from Brooklyn to live with his sister in the early part of last decade following the death of his mother.  He says he could have had a baseball career if addiction and life hardship hadn’t plagued him.  An avid fan of the New York Mets, but living in Syracuse he has adopted the Chiefs as his own over time.  Attending games in Central New York has become his connection for his passion to baseball.

            “Just heckling the other team, getting on the opposing players,” Broadnax said. “That’s the most exciting part of the game for me, yelling and interacting with fans.”

            But, it wasn’t until after the 2003 season that he would get a favorable nod from the Chiefs to be their lead “heckler.”  He was actually called out by some of the Syracuse players for heckling them, instead of the opposing team.  Broadnax realized that it was time for him to direct his taunts toward the visitors instead.

            His enthusiasm for the Chiefs does not provide the perfect ball park experience in his eyes, however.  “I would like to see more fans at the games,” Broadax said. “If we could have more people in the stadium, it would really help me to make the environment more exciting.”

            Broadnax says he travels all around the International League to cities such as Rochester and Scranton, and even the opposing players have developed affection for him.  He says he has established quite a fan base of his own for his efforts. 

“A lot of people come up to me and say I am doing a great job,"he said. "Kids tell me I am awesome. I just hear a lot of really good things said about me,”

            Broadnax says he has developed great relationships with some of the current Chiefs.  He has been able participate in a local Chiefs Wiffle Ball clinic, and even threw out a “first pitch” last season as a reward for his support of the team.

            “It has its ups and downs [being a fan of the Chiefs], but I keep it fun,” Broadnax said.  The Chiefs were on their way to a ninth straight win the night we talked with him, but he wasn't taking any specific credit for their success. 

“I just take credit for the moments, like when the first basemen dropped the ball tonight for Lehigh," he said. "Sometimes I think maybe I had something to do with that,”

Winning Only Makes You Work Harder

By Edward McFarland
Syracuse, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs extended their season-high winning streak to nine, beating the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 9-5 at NBT Bank Stadium Wednesday night. 

Paolo Espino picked up the win for the Chiefs, while Anthony Vasquez took the loss for the IronPigs. 

“When we have a winning streak, it makes me try even harder and do better,” Espino said.

Lehigh Valley scored first, with catcher Logan Moore doubling off Espino in the top of the third inning, and then Chase d’Arnaud doubling to score Moore and give the IronPigs a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the 3rd, the Chiefs caught fire. Caleb Ramsey walked and moved to 3rd on a single by Dan Butler. Espino’s sacrifice bunt scored Ramsey and moved Butler to 2nd. Manny Burriss’ RBI single brought in Butler to put the Chiefs ahead, 2-1.

In the 4th inning, the IronPigs answered back. Tyler Pastornicky started with a single, and then advanced to 2nd with a Brian Bogusevic walk. Pastornicky moved over to 3rd after a double play, and then scored on a single from Kelly Dugan to tie it.  

Syracuse broke it open in the bottom of the fourth, putting up five runs. First, Ramsey and Matt den Dekker came across on a Butler 2-run double. A few batters later, Burriss scored Butler on a single up the middle to make it 5-2.

Trea Turner then singled to put men at 1st and 2nd for Jason Martinson’s 2-run double, putting the Chiefs up 7-2.

The IronPigs tried to make a push in the 5th inning with three runs, but it was not enough to come back, as the Chiefs scored two more more in the 6th, putting Syracuse up for good 9-5.

“These guys continue to grind it out, play hard to the last out, and they don’t give up,” Syracuse manager, Billy Gardner, Jr. said. “The club house environment is really good now.” 

The Syracuse Chiefs are now 52-67 and will play the IronPigs again Thursday to finish up the three-game series.

Friday, August 14, 2015

One Strong Offensive Inning is Enough for the Chiefs

By Kaimeng Yang

Syracuse, N.Y.- The Syracuse Chiefs stretched their winning streak to nine with a 9-5 victory against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Wednesday night at NBT Bank Stadium. It's their longest winning streak since June 6, 2012.

The two teams went scoreless in the first two innings. Chiefs' starting pitcher Paolo Espino gave up the first run in the top of third, but the Chiefs answered immediately with two runs in the bottom.

The turning point of the game was the bottom of the fourth. The game was tied at 2-2 when Matt den Dekker and Caleb Ramsey started the offensive run with two singles. Then Dan Butler fired a double to the left allowed den Dekker and Ramsey to score. Emmanuel Burriss kept his momentum from the third inning, when he had driven in a run and got Butler home with a double.

IronPigs' pitcher Anthony Vasquez lost his rhythm after allowing three runs in five minutes and walked Trea Turner. With Burriss and Turner on bases, Jason Martinson sent another two-run double to center field. The IronPigs brought in Jason Berken to stop the bleeding, but the momentum had changed to the Chiefs' side.

Brian Bogusevic hit a three-run homer for the IronPigs in the top of the fifth, but it was not enoughe to save his team. The Chiefs punched back with two runs in the bottom of the six and kept the 9-5 score to the end.

With nine straight wins in the book, team manager Billy Gardner, Jr. is happy with the team effort. “You pitch. You defend. You get some timely hits, you are going to win some games,” he said. The Chiefs have struggled this season but Gardner says they are finding their way out. He mentioned the clubhouse environment is really good right now and it helps the team a lot.

Starting pitcher Espino struggled, giving up all five runs, but as an experienced veteran he still has confidence. When asked about the pressure from the winning streak he said “It actually makes me do even better and try even harder, I feel no pressure.”

Espino got an extra surprise in offense. His sacrifice bunt helped Ramsey tied the game in the bottom of the third for the Chiefs. It is his fourth RBI of the season.  “It is always great as a pitcher when you get something like that,” he said.

The Chiefs and the IronPigs will play their last game of this series on Thursday night, and the Chiefs is looking to make the winning streak into double-digits.

Syracuse Chiefs Win Ninth Straight

By Yonah Perline

Syracuse, N.Y. -  The Syracuse Chiefs extended their winning steak to nine games Wednesday night, beating the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs 9-5 at NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs broke a 2-2 ballgame wide open when they brought home five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Matt den Dekker (1-3, 1 R) lined a single to right field to start the rally and Caleb Ramsey (2-3, 2 R) did the same to put runners on first and second with one out. Dan Butler (2-4, 2 RBI, 2 R) got his second hit in as many plate appearances after roping a double down the third base line. 

"I was just able to see the pitches well and make good contact [off the lefty pitcher]," Butler said. 

With two runs in, a man on second and one out, pitcher Paolo Espino (0-1, 1 RBI) advanced the runner to third with a ground ball to second.

Speedster Emmanuel Burriss (2-5, 2RBI, 1 R) hit a routine ground ball through the five-six hole and took advantage of a lazy outfield by hustling to second base.

"That's the type of baseball that we need to play if we're gonna win games," Burriss said. "I wouldn't call it lazy, I just hope that my hustle is better than [their] hustle."

Trea Turner (2-4, 2 R) walked, and Jason Martinson (1-3, 2 RBI) stepped up to the plate with two bases occupied and two outs. Martinson hit a bomb in the left center gap to plate two and cap the five-run inning. 

The IronPigs put three more runs on the board when Brian Bogusevic hit a home run to right center with two on in the top of the fifth inning, but that was all they could manage off Chiefs' starter Espino. He finished his night with five innings pitched, allowing five earned runs and nine hits while striking out two and walking one. Not the prettiest line, but it earned him the win. P.J. Walters and Matt Grace combined for four scoreless innings in relief to secure the victory. 

"Sometimes having a big lead can lead to guys throwing the ball in the strike zone too much and guys get hit," Espino said. "I don't feel as bad at the end of the game, even though I gave up a lot of runs, because this is a team game and at the end when you get a win, it's always good." 

The Chiefs will look to take its winning streak to double digits in the third and final game of the series against the Iron Pigs Thursday night at NBT Bank Park. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.

Total Team Effort Extends Chiefs' Streak to Nine Games

By Nick Richardson

SYRACUSE, N.Y.A comprehensive nine-man effort helped the Syracuse Chiefs rack up their ninth consecutive win, defeating the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 9-5 Wednesday night at NBT Bank Stadium. The streak is the longest the Chiefs have had in three years.

“We walked over some hot coals for a while,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said after the game, referencing the team’s struggles for most of the season. “These guys continue to grind it out, play hard until the last out and they don’t give up. I think the clubhouse environment is really good right now. They get along well.”

On a night where the ball was flying around the park at times, Syracuse (52-67) received contributions from the entire lineup. Everybody on the Chiefs, including the pitchers, contributed either a hit, run or run batted in. Leading the way were Emmanuel Burriss, Jason Martinson and Dan Butler, all three of whom drove in two runs in the victory. Kevin Keyes, Matt Skole and starting pitcher Paolo Espino provided the rest of the offense.

It was in the bottom of the fourth inning where the Chiefs really broke things open. With the score tied at 2-2 after a Kelly Dugan RBI single for Lehigh Valley (53-65), the Chiefs brought all nine men to the plate in the bottom half, scoring five runs to create a comfortable lead.

After Matt Skole grounded out, Matt den Dekker and Caleb Ramsey got things started with back-to-back singles and were eventually driven in on Butler’s two-run double. Butler was subsequently brought in on an RBI double by Burriss, and after Trea Turner worked out a walk, Martinson brought both of them in with a hard-hit double of his own.

For all the offense that the Chiefs were able to muster, their pitching was hit and miss. Espino worked five tough innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out two. It was in his final inning of work, though, that Espino had the most difficulty, surrendering three runs in the frame, all of which came on a Brian Bogusevic home run.

Fortunately for the Chiefs, the bullpen did its job as it has all throughout this winning streak. Leading the way was P.J. Walters, who delivered three shutout innings of relief, striking out four IronPigs and walking none.

“The team’s pretty good about picking each other up,” Walters said. “An extra inning here, an extra inning there, it helps the next guy be fresh. Out there in the bullpen we’re all trying to help each other that way.”

Walters’ manager was also happy that his bullpen got a bit of a break tonight.

“We were thin down there,” Gardner said. “We needed some work out of him [Walters] and he gave us three good innings, with the lead and held it. He’s really done a good job in some high-leverage situations for us.”

Matt Grace closed it out in the ninth.

The Chiefs and IronPigs close out the series on Thursday night with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.

Expectations Are High for Turner

By Zach Francis

Syracuse, N.Y. - High expectations are hard for almost anyone to live up to. When you’re one year removed from being a first round draft pick, like Syracuse Chiefs shortstop Trea Turner, high expectations are part of the territory.

“I have high expectations for myself, but I couldn’t really tell you what the expectations from other people are,” Turner said, Wednesday night after the Chiefs 9-5 win over Lehigh Valley. “It doesn’t matter to me what other people have expectations for. I know what I want to be.”

On the season, Turner is batting .317 across three teams with eight home runs, 53 RBIs and 26 stolen bases.

Turner, the 13th overall pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft out of North Carolina State University by the San Diego Padres, is expected by most experts to do big things in his career. The Washington Nationals, the parent team of the Chiefs, thought so highly of him, they were willing to wait nearly six months to get him.

On December 19, 2014, the Padres, Tampa Bay Rays and the Nationals agreed on a trade that centered around Wil Myers being sent from Tampa Bay to San Diego. A key part of the trade was a certain player to be named later the Padres would send to Washington. At the time it was widely expected that Turner was that player.

Because of Major League Baseball rules, players are not eligible to be traded until one year after they are drafted. On June 14th, just over one year after he was drafted, the trade was completed and Turner became a member of the Nationals organization. The expectations at that point were higher than ever.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity the Nationals have given me,” Turner said. “I’m just going to try and go out and win as many games as possible for this team.”

Winning has been something Turner has done at every level. He was a leader on N.C. State’s 2013 run to the College World Series, and has been a key contributor to the Chiefs' second half revival, helping lead the team to nine straight wins in early August.

Chiefs manager Billy Gardner says Turner’s natural baseball abilities will continue to help his teams win and has helped him succeed up to this level.

“He’s very athletic and he’s got a high baseball IQ,” Gardner said. “He can really run, he can really hit. He’s got a high ceiling. He’s got the talent to be in the big leagues and stay there for a while.”

Turner is known for his speed and his defense, with 26 total stolen bases this season and a .960 fielding percentage from arguably the most difficult position on the field.

“He’s going to impact the game with his legs and also with his glove,” Gardner said. “He’s got a really good make up and intangibles.”

As Turner continues to improve, the expectations will continue to rise.

“I’m excited for the future and I’m going to work hard to reach my expectations for myself,” Turner said. “I’m glad the Nationals have given me the opportunity to play at the highest level in the minor leagues. We’ll see where it goes from here.”

Dominant Fourth Inning Sets Up Ninth-Straight Win

By Kerry Bretti 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Syracuse Chiefs won their ninth straight game Wednesday night with a 9-5 victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Despite having the best record in triple-A baseball last season, the nine-game winning streak is their longest since 2012. This season’s win-streak comes after the All-Star break that the Chiefs entered with the worst record in the league.

The Chiefs used a fourth inning surge to get separation from the IronPigs. The Chiefs came up in the inning tied 2-2 when Dan Butler hit a two-run double them up 4-2. Emmanuel Burriss then drove in Butler to make it 5-2.  Jason Martinson hit another double, driving in Burriss and Trea Turner to close out the scoring for the inning at 7-2.

Burris finished the night with two hits, one run, and two RBIs. He has experience with numerous different minor league teams before Syracuse, including the Fresno Grizzlies and the Cincinnati Reds. He has also spent some time in the majors playing for the San Francisco Giants and has been up with the Washington Nationals this season. With all of his experience, he is a key player in making sure the Chiefs stay focused on winning, despite their record and being out of the playoff picture.

“Whenever we start winning ball games and playing together as a team our confidence goes that much higher,” Burriss said after the ninth straight win. “That also has to go back to the first question of getting our business done. Everybody is coming in with the right attitude every day trying to make sure that we put in the right work.”

The IronPigs were the first on the scoreboard with an RBI from Chase d’Arnaud in the top of the third inning. The Chiefs responded when pitcher Paolo Espino laid down a sacrifice bunt to allow Caleb Ramsey to score from third and Dan Butler, who ha singled, to advance to second.. Burriss drove in Butler to make it 2-1, Chiefs

Lehigh Valley scored once in the top of the fourth to tie the game at two each before Syracuse took that big lead in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the fifth, the IronPigs Brian Bogusevic hit a home-run with two on base, bringing the score to 7-5.

The comeback attempt wouldn’t last as Kevin Keyes and Matt Skole both hit single RBIs to put the score where it ended at 9-5.

Syracuse’s overall record after the win is 52-67. The Chiefs will finish their three-game series with Lehigh Valley on Thursday.

'The Butler Did It': Syracuse Chiefs Win Their Ninth Game in a Row

By Ellen Burr

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs extended their winning streak to nine Wednesday night, beating the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 9-5. This is the longest winning streak the Chiefs have had since 2012.

After a slow start for both teams in the first two innings, the Chiefs found their flow in the third, with two runs over the IronPigs’ one. That flow turned into a tidal wave as Syracuse poured it on in the fourth inning, scoring five runs against Lehigh Valley’s one, making the score 7-2 going into the fifth.

Syracuse Chiefs’ catcher Dan Butler had two runs and two RBIs on two hits. Butler said before the game he was working with his coaches in the cage to adjust his batting. Butler credited the Chiefs' win to the team’s strong fourth inning.

“I mean because we kept tacking on runs, they kept tacking on runs,” Butler said. “Getting the multiple runs right there kind of helped settle the game for us and put us in control.”

Once again, Syracuse second baseman Emmanuel Burris had a strong game with one run and two RBIs on two hits.

“I love the fact that I can get things going for the team,” Burriss said. “You know sometimes when I don’t I feel bad, but we have a good group of guys. So whenever I’m not getting it done the way I want to they’re always picking me up. To make sure I’m getting my job done, it feels good every day.”

An improved clubhouse environment and was an essential part of the Chiefs’ success over the past nine games, Chiefs’ Manager Billy Gardner Jr. explained. But Gardner is looking to one player to keep the streak alive through the next game.

“Momentum is only as good as that guy going out on the mound tomorrow, so hopefully Richard Bleier will pitch like we know he’s capable of, and we’ll keep the streak going,” Gardner said.

The Syracuse Chiefs look to increase their winning streak to ten games as they take on Lehigh Valley again tonight at home at 7:05 PM.


Postgame Interview with Syracuse Chiefs Manager Billy Gardner, Jr.

Postgame Interview with Syracuse Chiefs Catcher Dan Butler

Chiefs Win Ninth Straight Fueled by Huge Fourth Inning

By Alex Busch

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Chiefs claimed their ninth-straight win for the first time since 2012 on Wednesday night at NBT Bank Stadium, but the team’s reaction would have one thinking it was just any ordinary win.

Fueled by a five-run outburst in the fourth inning, Syracuse (52-67) defeated Lehigh Valley 9-5 in the second of a three-game homestand against the IronPigs (53-65).

For a team that saw immense first-half struggles this season, the Chiefs now have ten wins in in August, and it’s only 12 days into the month.

Chiefs catcher Dan Butler said there’s no different approach to the game now that the team has found success, but the players do have to focus on each game like it’s their last.

“We try not to ride that rollercoaster, that’s what gets you in trouble during the season,” Butler said. “Nothing really changes in the clubhouse, we’re just playing well and starting to put things together.”

But Butler — who finished with two runs and two RBIs — said they really got the bats going once they hit the top of the batting order for the second time, in the third inning. The Chiefs scored twice in the third before plating the five runs in the fourth.

“Getting multiple runs there kind of settled the game there for us,” Butler said. “It put us into control.”

Second baseman Emmanuel Burriss — who led the team with two hits Wednesday — finished with one run and two RBIs. He said it will take more than just showing up to keep the current streak alive.

“Putting in the effort every day, every at-bat, every pitch,” Burriss said. “Give 100 percent, that’s all we can ask.”

Syracuse Chiefs Seal the Deal

By Morgan Gordon

Syracuse, N.Y.—  The Syracuse Chiefs had a slow start Wednesday Night at NBT Bank Stadium, but took control of the game to seal the deal to their 9th straight win of the season by score of 9-5.

The Chiefs started the 3rd inning trailing the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 1-0 but turned the remainder of
the game around. They scored twice in the bottom of the third

In the 4th inning, after Lehigh Valley has scored once to tie it, the Chiefs scored five runs to pull away from the IronPigs.

Catcher Dan Butler hit a two-run double bringing Matt den Dekker and Caleb Ramsey home, to give the Chiefs a 4-2 lead. Eammanuel Burris drove Butler in, then scored along with Trea Turner on a double by Jason Martinson, making it 7-2, Chiefs.
“Getting the multiple runs," Butler said. "It put us in control.”

Burriss, who went two for five and drove in two runs, said it's the hard work the Chiefs put in at practice that makes winning possible.

“The majority of it has to do with our coaching staff," Burriss said. "Coming into the stadium getting drills done and not taking days off.”

The Iron Pigs attempted to fire back in the fifth when Brian Bogusevic hit a three-run home run to close it to 7-5. But Chiefs' relievers shut Lehigh Valley down from there on and Syracuse added two runs in the 6th to reach the final score.