Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots may have fallen short in the playoffs, but it’s hard to look back at the 2016 season and not see what a successful season it was in Central New Jersey.
The Somerset Patriots led the Atlantic League in attendance with over 370,000 fans coming to games at TD Bank Ballpark, recently named Ballpark Digest’s "Best Independent Ballpark" in the country for the second straight season.
"It shows the amazing support the Somerset Patriots continue to receive from our fans and the community," said Chairman Steve Kalafer. "For a team to continue to grow and top the league in attendance almost 20 years into existence is a great achievement. We couldn’t do it without the best fans and partners in all of baseball."
The team also set a new weekend attendance record with 22,907 fans on Father’s Day weekend from June 17th-19th. It is the third time the Somerset Patriots have held the record.
Between the lines, the Somerset Patriots had the best record in the league at 77-63 and earned their fourth straight and 13th overall playoff berth in 19 seasons by winning the Liberty Division Second Half Championship.
"It was a little bit of a different kind of year. We stad off 13-0 and then came back to earth for a while," said manager Brett Jodie. "It definitely was a fun year with a lot of positives. I’m very proud of all of our guys and how hard we fought to make it to the playoffs."
Closer Jon Hunton set the Atlantic League career saves record, second baseman Eric Farris was named the Rawlings Gold Glove Defensive Player of the Year, while third baseman David Vidal and outfielder Aharon Eggleston were also honored with End-Of-Season Awards.
The team’s on-field success the past few seasons was rewarded with two former players making the trip back to Major League Baseball when relief pitcher Buddy Boshers (Minnesota Twins) and infielder Robert Andino (Miami Marlins) got the call up to the "Big Leagues." Both were members of the 2015 Atlantic League Champion Somerset Patriots team.
Despite all of these successes, the Somerset Patriots are already looking ahead to the 2017 season, which will mark the 20th Anniversary of the Atlantic League and the Somerset Patriots. TD Bank Ballpark will host the league’s premier event when the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star Game takes place in Bridgewater on Wednesday, July 12th.
"2016 was a tremendous season with a lot of amazing moments. We have our work cut out for us, but our staff is already hard at work planning for 2017," said President/General Manager Patrick McVerry. "It will be an extraordinary year featuring our 20th Anniversary and an All-Star Game that people will remember for years to come. We are excited to get things going for the season."