Published September 10, 2017

UTICA — Three months ago, Chris Newell found his club in last place. He made a vow that his squad would right the ship, win the United Shore Professional Baseball League pennant and take home the ultimate prize.

The Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers manager proved himself right Sept. 10 after his team topped the Westside Woolly Mammoths 5-2 in the USPBL title game Sept. 10 at Jimmy John's Field in Utica. A day after his birthday, Newell happily sported a freshly printed championship shirt that had been soaked through due to a Gatorade shower at the hands of his players.

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Published August 23, 2017

UTICA — Two local prep products are one step closer to fulfilling their dreams of becoming Major League ballplayers, utilizing the United Shore Professional Baseball League as the vehicle to do so.

Kevin Marnon, a Sterling Heights Stevenson graduate, and Taylor Grzelakowski, a product of Fraser High, both signed with the Minnesota Twins organization Aug. 1. The pair reported to Minnesota’s Gulf Coast League affiliate, also named the Twins.

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Published August 4, 2017

UTICA — With each pitch toward the plate, Billy Ferris is crouched and ready for a hit.

A Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers hitter lofts a high, drifting fly ball. Immediately after contact, Ferris is sprinting, tracking the rawhide’s flight. The baseball is certainly in foul territory, but Ferris still has a chance at it, positioning himself perfectly for the descent.

The ball eventually lands just on the other side of a fence, narrowly missing the glove of Ferris. However, he is still determined to make a play on the ball.

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Published July 21, 2017

UTICA — In the game of baseball, the ultimate goal is to reach home.

In a player’s career, the chief objective is to earn a spot in the majors. Along the way, home plate is crossed many times at many different places — usually many miles away from a player’s home.

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Published July 13, 2017

UTICA — On a sunny mid-June afternoon at Jimmy John’s Field, Alex Abbott delivers a home run. 

A utility man for the Westside Woolly Mammoths, Abbott’s shot over the right field fence increased his club’s lead over the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers.

As players and coaches exited the dugout to congratulate him on the hit, the ballpark remained quiet. 

The Mammoths won the United Shore Professional Baseball League contest 12-1, but not a single fan rose to their feet throughout the entire game.

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Published May 26, 2017

UTICA — On a chilly evening in early May, a capacity crowd at Jimmy John’s Field warmly welcomes the starting lineup of the home team.

A herd of Utica Unicorns sprint out of the dugout, one by one, surrounded by the theatrics of smoke and loud music. The club’s skipper quietly joins them on the field, slowly ambling up the steps.

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Published May 12, 2017

In front of a sold-out Jimmy John's Field, the United Shore Professional Baseball League kicked off its sophomore season May 11. The opener featured a rematch of last season's title match, as the reigning champs, the Utica Unicorns topped the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers 4-0.

Utica pitcher Donny Murray earned the win, pitching five scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and struck out seven.

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Published January 27, 2017

ROCHESTER — When Brian Berryman greets a new player in the United Shore Professional Baseball League, his initial welcome can be slightly confounding.

“When I first meet a guy, I tell them, ‘I don’t want you here,’ and I say that to every single person we bring in,” said Berryman, who is the USPBL’s executive director of baseball operations. “They usually look at me like I’m an idiot, but then I tell them why.”

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Published January 4, 2017

The United Shore Professional Baseball League announced Jan. 4 the creation of the Westside Woolly Mammoths as the fourth team to join the independent league.

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Published September 16, 2016

C&G Newspapers

UTICA — The inaugural season of the United Shore Professional Baseball League ended Sept. 11 with the Utica Unicorns celebrating their championship victory with a proper champagne celebration.

It also ended with a message from USPBL Commissioner Andy Appleby to the fans at Jimmy John’s Field that he would see them back at the ballpark on May 11, 2017.

That message at least answered one of the many questions regarding the future of the independent league.

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