Tag Archives: Andy Appleby

USPBL Announces Three Players Sign with the Twins

Trifecta! Minnesota Twins Sign Three USPBL Standouts

ROCHESTER, Mich. – August 1, 2017The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL) announced that Randy Dobnak, pitcher for the Utica Unicorns, Kevin Marnon, pitcher for the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers, and Taylor Grzelakowski, catcher for the Utica Unicorns have all been signed by the Minnesota Twins organization. Dobnak, Grzelakowski and Marnon are the third, fourth and fifth USPBL players signed to a MLB contract this year. Overall 18 players have been signed by MLB organizations since the league’s inaugural season last year.

Randy Dobnak, a 22-year-old, 6’1”, 215 lb. right-hander from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, appeared in 6 games this season for the Utica Unicorns.  He compiled a 3-0 record, with 29 strikeouts over 35 innings and an ERA of 2.31.  Dobnak joined the USPBL’s Unicorns following a collegiate career at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia.

Dobnak praised his experience with the USPBL, saying, “Getting the opportunity to play in the USPBL is something special to me. Having the chance to play baseball beyond college is something every kid dreams of doing and I got the chance to live it. Throughout my time here, I’ve learned even more about the game and how I can become better as a person and as a player, pushing myself to my limits. The players, coaches, and staff in the USPBL are top notch and I could not have asked for anything more.”

Kevin Marnon, a 23-year-old, 6’7”, 240 lb. left-hander pitcher from Shelby Township, Michigan, appeared in 16 games with 18 innings pitched, 29 strike outs and an ERA of 1.50. Marnon joined the USPBL after pitching as both a starter and reliever at Ball State University.

“Being signed by a Major League club is a surreal feeling,” said Marnon. “I’ve worked for this my whole life, and I’m just so happy that things paid off.  I’m extremely grateful for the USPBL organization and everything they’ve done for me.”

Tayor Grzelakowski, a 5’11, 200 lb. catcher from  Fraser, Michigan, Grzelakowski joined the USPBL’s Utica Unicorns following his collegiate career at Madonna University where he led the Crusaders in home runs, RBI’s and batting average. Grzelakowski appeared in 29 games this season for the Unicorns and was leading the league in home runs with 9. In 108 at bats he hit .306 with 7 doubles and 23 RBI’s.

“The USPBL has been an incredible experience, from the facility to the staff at Jimmy John’s field, I could not have asked for a better opportunity,” said Taylor Grzelakowski. “I will be forever grateful for the chance that Andy Appleby, Justin Ordenruff and Jim Essian have given me. They allowed me to continue my baseball career, and helped get me signed by the Minnesota Twins Organization. Special thanks to Cedrick Landrum and Ray Ortega for the countless hours they spent with me honing my craft. I’m excited to see what this new chapter brings but I will never forget my time as a Utica Unicorn.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to have three more of our players signing by Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations,” said Andy Appleby, Commissioner and Founder of the USPBL. “These players are textbook examples of what we are trying to achieve with player development in the USPBL.  Our goal is to make every player better and see them succeed at the next level and beyond,” Appleby added.


About United Shore Professional Baseball League                                                                             

Rochester, MI-based General Sports and Entertainment founded the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), an independent professional baseball league, in Metro Detroit in 2015.  The league plays in the new, state-of-the-art $16 million ballpark named Jimmy John’s Field located in downtown Utica, Mich.  The first of its kind for the region, the USPBL provides a fun and exciting family atmosphere while showcasing top baseball talent to fans of all ages. The inaugural season of the USPBL, which began on Memorial Day 2016, featured three teams—the Utica Unicorns, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers and the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers, from which 13 players were signed to contracts by Major League organizations.

The 2017 USPBL season features four teams with the addition of the Westside Woolly Mammoths, and the season began on May 11, 2017 and runs through September 10, 2017.  Additional teams and ballparks will be added in future years.

Tom Wegehaupt

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USPBL Unveils (Pre)Historic Fourth Team

Indy Ball Island has been a proud supporter of the United Shore Professional Baseball League since their inception. After an amazing first season, the league has announced that there will now be a fourth team playing at Jimmy John’s Field for the 2017 season.

Rochester, Mich. – January 4, 2017 The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), metro-Detroit’s first independent professional baseball league, founded by Rochester, MI- based General Sports and Entertainment, today announced the name of the league’s highly anticipated fourth team – the Westside Woolly Mammoths. Core team colors are dark and light blue with red accents.  Alternate uniforms will also bring in orange and animal print designs that harken back to “The Flintstones” – all independent league unique and trendsetting.

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“There have been numerous Mastodons found in Michigan over the last 100 years, and I always thought “Mastodons” had great potential as a sports team name. “Woolly Mammoth” was better, although one had not been discovered here,” said Andy Appleby, USPBL founder and commissioner. “Then, in 2015, a mammoth, complete with huge tusks, was unearthed on a farm in Chelsea, Michigan and our inspiration was complete. In addition to being distinctive, the “Woolly Mammoths” name also allows for a whole host of fun marketing and merchandising opportunities. We are absolutely thrilled with the results.”

The Westside Woolly Mammoths will play the 2017 season at the state-of-the-art Jimmy John’s Field in Utica, MI along with the USPBL’s three original teams – the Utica Unicorns, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers, and the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers.  Shane McCatty, who served as Assistant Manager of the league champion Utica Unicorns in 2016, will manage the Westside Woolly Mammoths.  The USPBL’s 2017 Season begins on May 11, 2017 and runs through September 10, 2017, with games being played every Thursday through Sunday – perfect for families.

The USPBL was designed as a developmental finishing school for players seeking to make it to the Majors, and the 2016 season was an unqualified success, as 9 USPBL players were picked up by Major League organizations during the league’s first year of operation.  Tens of thousands of fans attending games at Jimmy John’s Field during the league’s inaugural season witnessed exceptional professional baseball, as they experienced a first-class ballpark, high-level of customer service, and affordable pricing that made it easy for an outstanding family night out. The USPBL also became an important new community asset, with more than 500 charities leveraging the USPBL and Jimmy John’s Field for various fundraising endeavors in 2016.

About United Shore Professional Baseball League 

Rochester, MI-based General Sports and Entertainment founded the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), an independent professional baseball league, in Metro Detroit in 2015. The league plays in the new, state-of-the-art $16 million ballpark named Jimmy John’s Field located in downtown Utica, Mich.  The first of its kind for the region, the USPBL provides a fun and exciting family atmosphere while showcasing top baseball talent to fans of all ages. The inaugural season of the USPBL, which began on Memorial Day 2016, featured three teams—the Utica Unicorns, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers and the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers. The 2017 USPBL season will feature four teams with the addition of the Westside Woolly Mammoths, and the season will begin on May 11, 2017 and run through September 10, 2017.  Additional teams and ballparks will be added in future years.

2017 Tryout Information for the USPBL is also listed on our TRYOUTS page.