September 21, 2021

Ayala’s Return Gives Sparky Lyle’s Team Big Boost

September 10, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

If anyone heard what sounded like a collective sigh of relief recently, it probably came from the Somerset Patriots clubhouse because pesky Elliott Ayala had shaken off the effects of being hit squarely on the mouth with a pitch sufficiently to get back in the lineup.

“That’s a guy that we need,” Manager Sparky Lyle told during the 5-foot-9 infielder-outfielder’s week on the sidelines.  “We’re winning without him now, but it’s not an unknown fact that he’s always in the middle of everything.”

Ayala has already helped Somerset to a pair of Atlantic League championships, and is being counted on to carry some of the load as the Patriots try to three-peat, which would be their sixth title overall.  Ayala, either 30 or 31 depending on the source, has gone 6-for-22 (.273) in six games since his return, which is barely below his .283 season average.  He has contributed 56 runs and 31 RBI in 105 games.

Alums Patterson, Watson, Pascucci Contributing

While catcher Mike Rivera (Atlantic City) is the only Atlantic League grad who has benefitted from the September expansion of major league rosters so far, various 2010 alums of the league are prominent in affiliated playoffs.

Former Lancaster closer Scott Patterson’s two scoreless innings (three strikeouts) saved Tacoma’s first Pacific Coast League playoff victory, a series the Seattle farmhands now lead, 2-0.  Playoff foe Sacramento has Barnstormers outfielder Matt Watson hitting cleanup (2-for-8, one RBI).

Patterson had a positive season after leaving Lancaster, winning two of three decisions and saving six games in 29 appearances (2.67 ERA) and his typical solid control, but just as big of an impression had to be left by early-season Camden outfielder Valentino Pascucci, who homered every 11.2 at-bats for the New York Mets’ Buffalo farm club.  The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Pascucci hit 17 round-trippers in only 72 games, and with three homers for the Riversharks now has 235 for his professional career.

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This ‘n That

It does not appear San Diego plans to add Wily Mo Pena to its roster despite the fact the 28-year-old slugger hit .324 (.365 with runners in scoring position) with nine homers and 34 RBI in 40 games for Portland, OR after purchasing his contract from Bridgeport…The Hoorelbeke brothers are in the independent Northern League playoffs, one year after playing at Bridgeport.  Casey led the Northern League in earned run average (1.84), a tough feat for a reliever, but he qualified with 83 innings and allowed only 56 hits while winning 10 of 15 decisions and saving seven games. Jesse was second in home runs (29), then hit a three-run blast in the opening playoff victory for Fargo, ND.

(These are excerpts from the Atlantic League Notebook.  Subscriptions to the full Notebook are available via or  Bob Wirz also writes a weekly column, the Independent Baseball Insider, as well as a blog, The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as chief spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)


One Response to “Ayala’s Return Gives Sparky Lyle’s Team Big Boost”
  1. Al Mcqueen says:

    I have been looking for Sparky for the past few years. I am currently on vacation in St Lucia and someone mentioned he had passed away. He was the best man at my wedding and we played together in Winston Salem and Pitsfield. Can you pass this message along? I just googles this info and it says he managed this team in Sept of 2011 . Current dat Jan 20, 2011. My phone number is 416 460 2759. Tell him the boys from Wellesville are trying to get a reunion going. Thanks. Al McQueen

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