Tag Archives: Utica Unicorns

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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What’s New with the United Shore League

Take Me Out to the Ball Game
May 11th is Opening Day for the 2017 United Shore Professional Baseball League Season
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Utica, Mich. – The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), metro-Detroit’s first independent professional baseball league, will open its second season on May 11, 2017, 7:05 pm at Jimmy John’s Field in downtown Utica, when the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers face the hometown favorite, and reigning champion, Utica Unicorns. Games will be played every Thursday through Sunday until September 10, 2017.
New Team
Fans can expect an array of new and exciting sights, sounds and scents in 2017. For starters, the league has added a fourth team to the roster. The Westside Woolly Mammoths will battle it out with the Utica Unicorns, Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers and Eastside Diamond Hoppers for this year’s pennant.
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New Ballpark Features
The league is adding new outdoor bars to its 3 picnic patio areas (Right Field Patio, Left Field Patio, and Chevrolet Pavilion). The full service bars will feature fountain soda, draft beer, and TV’s to catch all the latest scores. The league also is adding a new stage beyond the right centerfield wall to showcase the many bands that play at the ballpark throughout the season.
New Food
The league has hired new executive head chef Joseph Johnson – most recently from the Inn at Stonecliffe on Mackinac Island and The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth. Joining him is David Parker, the league’s new director of food and beverage, who brings considerable experience via the Montgomery Biscuits (AA affiliate team of the Tampa Bay Ray’s), Lansing Lugnuts and The Great Lakes Loons. Also new to the food and beverage staff is Nathan Liska, assistant director of food and beverage. Liska was formerly a chef at Andiamo Restaurant and The Tiger Den in Comerica Park.
The new staff has made significant changes to the type and quality of food that will be served at Jimmy John’s Field during the 2017 season. Fans can expect a lot more cooked to order foods made with fresh ingredients—the league is even planting its own herb garden to use in its recipes. The USPBL also hired a BBQ Pit Master and will be serving fresh, smoked on site BBQ favorites such as pulled pork, wings, ribs and chicken. Fans will also be able to enjoy such wide-varying fare as: Philly Cheese Steak Nachos, Foot-Long Hot Dogs and Sausages, Garlic Fries and more.  Additionally, fans will be able to enjoy Chick-fil-A on Thursday nights and Lou & Harry’s, an East Lansing institution, on Friday nights.
New Promotions
The USPBL is all about affordable family fun and has lined-up an exciting season of promotional game days and nights, including:
  • The Human Cannon Ball
  • World Famous Team Ghost Riders (the cowboy monkeys who performed at the inaugural opening day in 2016)
  • Helicopter Candy Drops for Kids
  • The Zooperstars
  • America’s Got Talent’s Quick Change
  • Jake the Diamond Dog
  • Jimmy Buffett Night
  • Star Wars Night
  • Peanut Free Night
  • Family Campout Night
  • WCSX Classic Rock Saturdays
  • WYCD Country Music Nights
  • Heritage Nights to honor the German, Greek, Irish, Italian, and Polish communities
  • Bobblehead, Hat & T-Shirt Giveaways
  • Fireworks Spectaculars every Friday night
  • Kids run the bases after every game
A complete list of promotions and dates can be found at https://uspbl.com/promotions/.
Tickets are affordably priced and start at just $12 in the grandstand and $6 dollars for lawn. Tickets can be purchased at the box office at Jimmy John’s Field or online at https://uspbl.com/tickets/.  Parking is free.
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 12 players were signed to contracts by Major League organizations. 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.