The New York-Penn League is a short-season Single-A league with 14 teams split into three different divisions – McNamara, Pinckney and Stedler.
Despite the name of the league, the teams aren't exclusively located in New York and Pennsylvania. As many Orioles fans are aware, the Aberdeen IronBirds represent the organization in the league. There are also teams in Massachusetts, Ohio and Vermont.
The Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals also have affiliates in the league.
The IronBirds finished in last place in the McNamara Division with a 36-39 record. They were 13 games behind the Staten Island Yankees, who finished 49-26 and won the division.
The Batavia Muckdogs, who are an affiliate of the Cardinals, won the Pinckney Division with a 46-28 record and the Lowell Spinners, who represent the Red Sox in the league, finished in first place in the Stedler Division with a 40-33 record. The Jamestown Jammers, who represent the Marlins, finished 47-29 and earned the final berth in the playoffs as the wild-card team.
Jamestown swept the first two games against Staten Island to pick up the first spot in the championship series and Batavia beat Lowell in three games in the other semifinal.
Caleb Joseph led the IronBirds by hitting .261 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs in 63 games. The 22-year-old catcher finished tied for fifth in the league with 19 doubles and he was first on the team with 62 hits. Tyler Kolodny established a team record with 10 home runs in 72 games. The 20-year-old third baseman also led the team in RBIs (38), runs scored (38), triples (four) and total bases (107).
Shortstop Jedidiah Stephen had eight home runs and 29 RBIs in 46 games before being promoted to the Delmarva Shorebirds. His replacement, Greg Miclat, hit .291 with nine runs scored in 16 games.
Three starting pitchers each had over 70 strikeouts for Aberdeen this season. Rick Zagone, a 22-year-old left-hander, led the charge with 79 in 65 1/3 innings. Cole McCurry had 75 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings and Pat Egan struck out 72 hitters in 77 2/3 innings. Zagone was 7-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 15 games (11 starts), while McCurry was 8-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 15 starts. Egan was 5-6 with a 3.24 ERA in 14 starts.
Third baseman Jermaine Curtis hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to help Batavia beat Jamestown, 4-3, in the first game of the championship series. The Jammers had taken the lead in the bottom of the eighth on a three-run home run by first baseman Ben Lasater before the Muckdogs pulled out the victory.
Curtis was 2-for-5 and designated hitter Edwin Gomez was 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs in the game. Catcher Charles Cutler and second baseman Colt Sedbrook each had two hits for the Muckdogs.
In the second game, Batavia scored four runs in the third inning and five in the eighth to capture the league championship with a 9-3 victory over Jamestown. Right fielder Shane Peterson was 3-for-5 with two RBIs to power the Muckdogs. Gomez had two RBIs and center fielder Frederick Parejo was 4-for-4 in the game.
Jason Castro, Tri-City ValleyCats – The 21-year-old catcher, who was selected by the Astros with the 10th overall pick in this year's draft, batted .275 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 39 games for Tri-City. Castro is 3-for-11 in five games for the North Shore Honu in Hawaii Winter Baseball.
Lonnie Chisenhall, Mahoning Valley Scrappers – The Indians selected the 20-year-old infielder with the 29th overall pick in this year's draft. Chisenhall has had some off-the-field issues in the past – he pleaded guilty to burglary and grand larceny for taking electronics from a dorm room in college – but he hit .290 with 20 doubles, five home runs and 45 RBIs in 68 games for Mahoning Valley.
Jason Tweedy, Hudson Valley Renegades – The Rays didn't select the 22-year-old infielder until the 20th round of this year's draft, but he was one of the primary offensive catalysts for Hudson Valley in 2008. Tweedy batted .273 with 15 doubles, 37 runs scored and 24 RBIs in 68 games. He also had 24 stolen bases this season.
Brad Holt, Brooklyn Cyclones – Holt was 5-3 with a 1.87 ERA in 14 starts for Brooklyn. The 21-year-old right-hander led the league with 96 strikeouts in 72 1/3 innings. He struck out 14 hitters in six innings against the Vermont Lake Monsters on July 24. Holt, who was selected by the Mets in the first round of this year's draft, had 12 strikeouts in his final start of the season against Aberdeen on Sept. 1.
Kyle Weiland, Lowell Spinners – The 22-year-old right-hander was only 3-3 in 15 games (10 starts) for Lowell, but he led the league with a 1.50 ERA. Weiland, who was picked by the Red Sox in the third round of this year's draft, had 68 strikeouts and only walked 10 hitters in 60 innings.