Friday, August 13, 2010

Welcome home, Tommy

Former Shaker High and South Troy Dodgers star pitcher Tommy Kahnle returned to the Capital Region Friday for a three-game series against the Tri-City ValleyCats at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

TROY -- Not only did Tommy Kahnle have one heck of a homecoming Friday night, he's had a great start to his professional baseball career.

Kahnle, the former Shaker High and South Troy Dodgers star flamethrowing righthander, who was drafted by the New York Yankees in the fifth round in June and signed with the club a few weeks ago, returned to the area with the Staten Island Yankees for a New York-Penn League game Friday night against the Tri-City ValleyCats at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

The Yankees gave Kahnle a chance to pitch in front of the home crowd and he did not disappoint. Kahnle pitched the seventh and eighth innings, striking out four.

In fact, in his short professional career, he's yet to allow a baserunner. In three appearances at the short-season Class A level (four innings), Kahnle has recorded seven strikeouts. That's it. No walks, no nothing.

In the ninth inning, the Yankees turned to Richard Martinez and the home fans got even more bang for their buck. Tri-City's Kike Hernandez hit a walk-off home run for the ValleyCats, capping a 2-1 victory.

Former South Troy Dodgers pitcher Mike Ness, who is a member of the ValleyCats, also pitched in the game. He earned the win, his first of the season, on Hernandez's blast.

Our Ed Weaver covered the game and he also spoke with Kahnle for a piece for Saturday's paper. Be sure to check out those stories on Saturday. Kahnle will also be our Sunday profile subject in Sunday's edition.

Here are some excerpts from Weaver's story:

The hard-throwing righthander hit 97 mph on the radar gun, striking out four hitters and retiring the other two on harmless popups, bringing delight to his large, vocal group of fans, which may, of course, included some plain, ole New York Yankees fans.

"I thought I threw real good," Kahnle said. "I had command of my fastball, showing them a breaking ball. I was getting strikeouts and popups. It seemed pretty good. I'm pretty happy."

And so it's been for Kahnle in his first three outings as a pro.
"He's the real deal," said Atlanta Braves scout John Stewart. "He throws hard."

He's retired all 12 batters he's faced in four innings, striking out seven.

"I'm trying not to," he replied when asked when he might permit a baserunner. "That's my job. I know it's not always going to be this easy."

Tommy Kahnle gets in some long-toss work prior to Friday's New York-Penn League game against the Tri-City ValleyCats.

In other baseball news, the Albany Athletics' run in the AABC Stan Musial World Series in Houston came to an end Friday.

Canton's Phil Sabatka hit a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Stallions to a 6-4 victory over the A's.

Albany (36-10) was making its first appearance in the Stan Musial World Series. Only the 1989 Apex Printing and 1973 Sons of Italy teams were the only Twilight League teams to reach the World Series in the league's 80-year history.

The Twilight League will host an 80th anniversary celebration Sunday (Aug. 15) at Bleecker Stadium in Albany. To read a story Andrew Santillo wrote to preview the event in last Sunday's paper, click here.

A Veteran's Association game begins at 4 p.m., which will be followed by a home run derby and the 2010 All-Star game. The league has been using Bleecker Stadium since 1936.

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