Titans Notbook: Lyons back in the swing of things in Bristol, a long way from California and a big first hit
TORRINGTON - Barry Lyons has done just about everything you can do in baseball, havig made it to the majors with the New York Mets, and he's spending his summer in Bristol seeing if he wants to do a little more.
Coaching the Blues in their inaugural season, Lyons has the Blues in first place in the FCBL West Division through 20 games at 12-8.
"Overall everything is going quite well so far." Lyons said. "We are playing some pretty good baseball and the key is we are competing and playing good baseball more and more. Tonight was as close to a complete game that we have had this season."
Lyons is no stranger to summer baseball, having operated two clubs in the Cotton State League before Hurricane Katrina back in his native Mississippi. He came to Bristol via a friend he shared with Blues owner Elliot Scheiner. The friend introrduced the two and the Grammy-winning Scheiner is a long time Mets fan and with Lyons having an open summer, the fit was perfect.
Lyons said he met with Scheiner and the Bristol ownership group last November and had a good feeling about it.
"I have been wanting to get back up here in the New York, New England area having played in New York and in the Cape Cod League," Lyons said. "I have good memories and good feelings about this area."
Lyons played seven seasons in the majors, including five with the Mets. Now he is weighing a return to the Mets in a coaching capacity and using his summer in the FCBL to see if he he has the itch to get back into professional baseball.
"This is s chance to come and spend the summer and put my toes in the water and see if I want to manage," Lyons said. "There are possibilities of getting back in the game with the Mets, I have had conversations with them. This is sort of a way to see how much I enjoyed it and I'm enjoying it very much."
Fans in Bristol are enjoying this first summer of FCBL baseball as well and are coming out in good numbers to support the Blues.
"The people in Bristol have been supportive and coming out to Muzzy Field," Lyons said. "It's a great atmosphere for baseball and the fans have come out. All in all, I have nothing but good feelings about it so far and I'm excited about the rest of the season."
FIRST HIT: Jeremy Pena just graduated from high school two weeks ago and is already getting a start on baseball at the next level with the Titans.
The future Maine Black Bear joined the team about a week or so after the season started and his first hit was a go-ahead RBI double that helped lift the Titans to a 4-2 victory over the Martha's Vineyard Sharks on June 24.
"I was up in the count and was sitting on fastball and I got it and put a good swing on it," Pena said. "It felt good."
Son of former major leaguer Geronimo Pena, Jeremy wanted to play high-level baseball this summer and feels like he is in the right spot with the Titans.
"The level of competition is the biggest difference. The pitching is good, the pitchers don't make a lot of mistakes," Pena said. "In high school you might get two or three mistakes an at-bat, here you get one and if you miss your pitch you have to adjust and try to hit their pitch."
Pena was drafted in the 39th round by the Atlanta Braves earlier this month in the MLB Draft. He said it felt good to be recognized as one of the top players in the country but he will be headed to Maine to keep working on his game. In the meantime he will get a chance to see where he stands and what he needs to do to get to the next level this summer in the FCBL.
"Playing this summer will help going to school, it will get me ready because I will know what I have to work on over the winter and I'll know what to expect in the coming season," Pena said.
CALIFORNIA BOYS - It's not rare to see college teammates in an FCBL game but it is a little uncommon to have three players from the same school in a game when that school is 3,000 miles away.
That was the case Thursday when the Titans hosted the Bristol Blues and Torrington outfielder Tyler Bindi faced off against St. Mary's teammates Austin Chauvin and Davis Strong. All three players are from California.
"It's definitely a little weird playing with them back home and then coming all the way out here and playing against them," Bindi said.
Chauvin homered, doubled and scored twice in Friday's win for the Blues, who are 2-0 against the Titans so far this season. Bindi doubled for Torrington and Strong had a hit and an RBI for Bristol.
Chauvin is coming off a freshman season in which he appeared in 18 games including five starts and hit .233 (7 for 30) with an RBI and three runs scored. Strong made 33 starts and appeared in nine other games for the Gaels and hit .241 with 28 hits, 12 RBI, 20 runs scored as well as a pair of doubles and two triples.
NOTES: The Titans were seventh in the 10-team FCBL with 120 hits after Thursday's loss. Martha's Vineyard and Nashua are tied for the league lead with 156. ... It appears that the league is pretty balanced this season as seven of the 10 teams are playing .500 or better baseball. ... Joel Roman is the only Titan with multiple home runs on the season, he has two. ... Former Titan Mike Odenwaelder has a pair of hits thru four games with the Aberdeen Ironbirds, a Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.