Gateway jumped out to an early 10-5 record and appeared to be destined for plenty of success. With third-year Grizzlie Mark Brackman (All pictures in this story, courtesy of Paul Baillargeon/ActionImaging.com) and hyped newcomer Aaron Shafer anchoring the starting rotation and a loaded batting order, the Grizzlies endured two four-game winning streaks and won eight of nine from late May to early June.
Gateway sent their second player to affiliated ball in mid-June when Ryan Khoury was signed by the Boston Red Sox. It was Khoury’s second go-around with the Red Sox, who released him in the 2011 Spring Training after he spent 2006-2010 with them. Khoury batted .320 with five home runs during his stint at Gateway and excelled upon his return to the Red Sox organization, finishing the year at Triple-A Pawtucket.
On the pitching side of things, Gateway struggled once again on the mound, posting the third worst ERA in the Frontier League at 5.16. Brackman led the Grizzlies pitching staff for the third consecutive season, inching closer to numerous Grizzlies career pitching records. Despite a month long absence due to a right foot injury, the Grizzlies ace right-hander amassed seven wins and finished with a league-best 2.15 ERA, while tossing three complete games. Brackman’s stellar first half of the season earned him a spot on the Frontier League All Star team. He was the only Grizzlies pitcher to eclipse 100 innings.
Warren completed his 5th season and with the team’s 39 wins, he moved into 8th place all-time in Frontier League Managerial wins.
Gateway finished third in the league in attendance, barely being clipped by Traverse City for second place. 166,072 fans came through the gates at GCS Ballpark for an average of 3,610. The final attendance total helped mark the ninth straight year in which the Grizzlies averaged over 3,600 fans. A franchise record 8,189 fans came through the turnstiles on Sunday, September 4th for the ‘Greatest in Baseball’ as the Grizzlies fell to the River City Rascals in the final game of the 2011 season.
Already getting the itch for Grizzlies baseball again. I'll keep you posted on offseason happenings. Thanks!
Voice of the Gateway Grizzlies, Adam Young