Isan Diaz is a Ruffnecks 1st!

Isan Diaz is a Ruffnecks 1st!

Homers for 1st Major League hit!

Senior Ruffnecks Shine in Alabama

Senior Ruffnecks Shine in Alabama

PG Elite Championships Invite 32 Top Programs

Ruffnecks 13s and 14s Meet in Nashville

Ruffnecks 13s and 14s Meet in Nashville

14U Beats 13U in CABA event.

Isan Diaz is a Ruffnecks 1st!

Isan Diaz with 13U Ruffnecks

Less than a month ago Isan Diaz was in Nashville with the Triple A Miami Marlins affiliate from New Orleans.  Fresh off his participation at the All-Star Futures Game in Cleveland, Isan stayed in the Nashville hotel with his dad, Raul Diaz, who was coaching the 13U Ruffnecks at the CABA World Series during the same period.  In other words, he was in the same hotel as the 13U and 14U Ruffnecks… doing his own laundry in the same machines as we did the 13U and 14U laundry.  On Sunday night, July 14th, Isan Diaz made arrangements to provide tickets for the entire 13U team to the Nashville Sounds vs. New Orleans Babycakes game.  He met with the young ‘Necks, posed for a picture, signed a few things, and went about his business as a baseball player.  He hit a home run to the delight of the young players who just adopted a new “best friend” baseball hero.  Amazing.

The call to the Big Leagues came on Sunday, August 4th.  The first start was Monday, August 5th in a doubleheader at Citi Field against the New York Mets.  Of course Papa Diaz and the family, including Raul Jr. (17U Ruffnecks) traveled to New York to see Isan’s debut.  Also traveling to Citi Field was Dan Brookes, former Ruffnecks coach, who saw Isan Diaz in Springfield, Massachusetts and recommended the Ruffnecks program for the young 15 year old.  Many others from the Ruffnecks extended family were watching live on the MLB Network as Diaz found himself in the lineup for the 4:00pm game at 2B and hitting second in the lineup.  Among those watching from afar was Coach Kirk Fredericks, another Ruffnecks coach instrumental in Diaz’ growth and development.  In fact it was Fredericks’ tough love that provided a shot of reality to the young Diaz early in his first few weeks of summer baseball with the Ruffnecks.  The young Diaz was taken out of two consecutive games for simple reasons, such as not running hard.  Never happened before… but dad and Isan knew then that such lessons were tough, but formative.  Later that summer, at Auburn University, he sat another game for forgetting his uniform on the bus.  Another formative moment.  By the end of that summer and during the next season, Diaz attracted plenty of attention, including a potential offer from Vanderbilt.  But after his senior season in high school, Isan was drafted in the 2nd round, signed, and has worked hard ever since as a professional.

Home Run!

August 5, 2019 was the day that Isan Diaz became the first Ruffnecks player in our 16 year history to play in a Major League game.  And it was an extraordinary debut.  As his dad, Raul Sr., was being interviewed on television by the Marlins affiliate, Isan launched a two-strike pitch over the Mets bullpen for a home run… his first Major League hit in his first Major League game.  Off Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom!  The moment, and the reaction captured on video continues to go viral.  It is an amazing display of devotion and love for a son who has made it to the Big Leagues.  Many in the Ruffnecks extended family, from former Ruffnecks pitching coach Matt Blake (Cleveland Indians), former teammates, to current coaches and players commenced texting and calling each other with joy and amazement.  So happy for the first day, the first hit, the first HR… the first Ruffneck.  The joy continues.

Senior Ruffnecks Shine in Alabama

2019 Senior Ruffnecks

The 17U Ruffnecks earned an invitation to the first Perfect Game Elite Championships in Hoover, Alabama July 17-21.  Only 32 teams from around the country were invited to attend, all with talented rosters.  Indeed, most rosters were filled with committed players to Power 5 conferences.  As a program we are humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to compete in such an event.  Indeed, the Senior Ruffnecks did not disappoint.  The squad gave a good account of themselves by winning their pool and earning the #8 seed in the Gold Bracket playoff round.  Every game was tightly played, with solid pitching, defense, and competitive at-bats.  In Game #1 the Ruffnecks faced a talented team from Louisiana.  Silas Reed pitched well in a back and forth affair.  Outfielder Kevin Skagerlind continued to establish himself as a top echelon defensive and offensive player.  He threw out the tying run at the plate to end a threat in the 5th.  Skags also went 1 for 3 with 2 stolen bases.  Raul Diaz got the game winning hit in the 6th, pushing the ‘Necks ahead 3-2.  It was all the Ruffnecks needed as Henry Gustavson pitched the final two frames with total control and effectiveness for the save.

In Game #2, lefthander Tom Chmielewski threw 5 innings against the Florida Aces, surrendering 2 runs in the 5th.  Ben Reyes came on in relief for two innings. Reyes gave up no hits and struck out three for the save in a 4-2 win.  Skagerlind continued his offensive tear by going 3 for 3.  Aidan Harrington was outstanding in the field and contributed a big hit.

Pre-Game at PG Elite - Alabama

Game #3 featured starter Seamus Barrett who was spectacular in a 2-2 tie.  Barrett went 6.2 innings, struck out 10 and gave up 4 hits.  His fastball was in the 87-90 range with an effective change and breaking ball.  The game was a “play for the pool” stakes game, and the Ruffnecks showed a ton of grit and determination.  Lucas Stowe led the way with two big hits, including a triple.  Skagerlind again delivered with an RBI single.  The defense was errorless, with several outstanding plays by Kai Grocki at 3B. The catching corps of Holt Fletcher and Raul Diaz was spectacular all tournament in the 95 heat and humidity of the Deep South.

After earning the #8 seed, the Ruffnecks faced a strong 643 DP team from Georgia.  The ‘Necks took a 3-0 lead into the top of the 7th inning behind a strong outing from Andrew Steinhubel on the mound.  The sands in the hourglass ran out in a manner only seen in the game of baseball.  Unable to get the final three outs for the win, the ‘Necks surrendered 11 runs in the top of the 7th in an 11-3 defeat.  Crazy… but baseball!  The end did not diminish the accomplishments nor did it dim the spotlight the team brought upon itself.  The event was one of the very best, most competitive baseball tournaments the program has ever attended.  Dozens of professional scouts, college coaches, and observers saw a Ruffnecks team worthy and competitive.  It was a fine finish to a demanding travel schedule for the summer of 2019, one in which the competition is outstanding.  We salute our worthy opponents!

2019 Ruffnecks Fall Baseball

       Click on Image above for Registration Form.

13U Fall Baseball Registration remains open.  Limited spots still available.  HS Wood and College Prep close on August 17th.

The Week Ahead - Notices

(Updated Wednesday, August 21 at 8:00am)

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

2019 Summer Season is OVER!

Thank you to all players, families, and our worthy opponents.

Fall Baseball Begins
September 7-8

NEBC Store Now Open

 

Click to Access Ruffnecks Sweats, Shorts, & more at NEBC Store

Follow @neruffnecks on Twitter

Are you on Twitter? Follow our teams - we make regular updates during the season.