Lancaster JetHawks

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Lancaster JetHawks
Founded in 1955
Lancaster, California
LancasterJethawksLogo2007.PNG LancasterJethawksCapLogo2007.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
Class-level
Current Class A – Advanced
Minor league affiliations
League California League
Division Southern Division
Major league affiliations
Current Houston Astros (2009–present)
Previous
Minor league titles
League titles 2014, 2012
[1960, 1961, 1975, & 1976 (as the Reno Silver Sox)]
Division titles 2004 (First Half Crown),
2008 (First & Second Half Crowns),
2012 (Wild Card),
2014 (First Half Crown)
Team data
Nickname
  • Lancaster JetHawks (1996–present)
  • Riverside Pilots (1993–1995)
  • Reno Padres (1982–1987)
  • Reno Silver Sox (1955–1964, 1966–1981, 1988–1992)
Ballpark The Hangar (1996–present)
Previous parks
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Peter A. Carfagna and family
Manager Rodney Linares
General manager Will Thornhill

The Lancaster JetHawks are a minor league baseball team of the California League located in Lancaster, California. The team is named for the city's association with the aerospace industry and plays its home games at The Hangar. The Lancaster JetHawks are the Class A – Advanced affiliate of the Houston Astros. The Jethawks are the only California League team in Los Angeles County.

Team History[edit]

Prior to moving to Lancaster, the team was known as the Riverside Pilots of Riverside, California. Notable players to play for the JetHawks include José Cruz, Jr. and Brandon Webb. While in Riverside, the team played at UC-Riverside Sports Center. The Pilots' previous owners chose Lancaster over Palm Springs, California in a lucrative offer.

In November 2005, the original owners of the JetHawks during their first 10 years in Lancaster, Clutch Play Baseball, LLC, sold the team to a group led by majority investor Peter Carfagna of Cleveland, Ohio. One of their first acts was to replace the stadium's original scoreboard with a more advanced video board. For the first time, this allowed for video replays and other views from cameras around the field. For the 2006 season, the JetHawks' manager was former major leaguer Brett Butler.

On September 29, 2006, the Boston Red Sox announced a two-year affiliation agreement with the JetHawks after losing their previous Carolina League affiliation in Wilmington. Since the Fenway Sports Group purchased the Carolina League's Salem Avalanche franchise after the 2007 season, with the stated intent of moving the Red Sox's High-A affiliation there once the 2007–2008 agreement term expired, the JetHawks were forced to find a new major league affiliate before the 2009 season—the Houston Astros.

On August 25, 2008, the JetHawks announced its new General Manager, Antelope Valley native Larry Thornhill. Thornhill, a former JetHawks broadcaster from its inaugural season of 1996, took over day-to-day operations of the Lancaster organization from Brad Seymour who was promoted to Vice President of both the JetHawks and Lake County Captains. Seymour joined the organization in 2004 and served as General Manager for five seasons with the JetHawks.

Wes Clemente, after serving the 2009 season as the JetHawks' manager, took over the managerial position for the Corpus Christi Hooks, Houston's Double-A affiliate. On November 16, 2009, the JetHawks announced its new manager for the 2010 season, Tom Lawless. He served as the manager of the Lexington Legends, the Astros' Class A minor league team, for the 2009 season.

The JetHawks concluded the 2010 season with a 54–86 record, setting the worst season mark in franchise history.

The JetHawks have been lauded for their creative giveaways. Every season, they give away a NASA-related bobblehead to pay tribute to the Antelope Valley and its leading industry. The Buzz Aldrin bobblehead was a big hit. On July 12, 2008, the JetHawks gave away skateboards to the first 500 children to arrive at the ballpark. These skateboards were widely considered the most expensive and high-end giveaway of the season in minor league baseball. Minor League Baseball (MILB.com) rated the skateboard giveaway one of the top ten promotions of 2008 in the minor leagues.

On December 9, 2010, Tom Spencer was named as the JetHawks' manager for the 2011 season. He served as the manager of the Palm Beach Cardinals, the Advanced A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, for the 2009 season.

On May 26, 2011, the Lancaster JetHawks announced that Larry Thornhill had resigned his position as Vice President and General Manager of the franchise for personal reasons. Derek Sharp, Lancaster's Assistant General Manager who has been with the organization since 2008, was named Interim General Manager for the remainder of the 2011 California League season. Brad Seymour, who was the JetHawks General Manager from 2004 – 2008, had also been named Senior Consultant for the JetHawks. Seymour currently also serves as Vice President and General Manager of the Lake County (OH) Captains, Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians under the direction of the Peter A. Carfagna ownership group which also controls the Lancaster JetHawks. Seymour, along with team President Peter E. Carfagna, will have direct oversight of the day-to-day activities of the JetHawks. On September 7, 2011, Derek Sharp was promoted from Interim General Manager to General Manager.

On January 3, 2012, Rodney Linares was named as the JetHawks' manager for the 2012 season. He served as the manager of the Lexington Legends, the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros, for the 2011 season.

The Lancaster JetHawks clinched a playoff berth after the 2012 season as the #2 seed Wild Card. In the Southern Division Mini-Series, the JetHawks beat the Lake Elsinore Storm, two games to one. In the Southern Division Championship Series, the JetHawks beat the First & Second Half Champion High Desert Mavericks, three games to one. On September 15, 2012, the Lancaster JetHawks became the California League Champions after sweeping the Northern Division Champion Modesto Nuts three games to none with a final score in Game 3 of 3–2. It would be the JetHawks’ first California League Championship title in franchise history.

On May 12, 2013 (Mother’s Day), the Lancaster JetHawks beat the Stockton Ports, 2–0, as Kyle Hallock and Luis Cruz combined to throw the first nine-inning no-hitter in franchise history. The win was also JetHawks manager Rodney Linares' 300th career win as a manager. The only other no-hitter in JetHawks history came in 2010 when they no-hit the Lake Elsinore Storm in a combined 10-inning no-hitter. Robert Donovan, Edwin Walker, David Berner, David Carpenter, and Jose Trinidad pitched in the game for the JetHawks.

The Lancaster JetHawks clinched a playoff berth after the 2013 season as the First and Second Half Champions.

On December 20, 2014, Will Thornhill, son of former general manager Larry Thornhill, was named the new general manager of the Lancaster JetHawks after Derek Sharp accepted a job with the New Britain Rock Cats, the Double A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

On April 29, 2014, Lance McCullers and Kyle Smith combined to tie a Lancaster franchise record with 17 strikeouts against the High Desert Mavericks. The record was set on August 8, 1997 when then Mariners' farmhand Jason Bond struck out 14 batters and the bullpen fanned three at Recreation Park against the Visalia Oaks.

On May 13, 2014, Josh Hader, J.D. Osborne, and Daniel Minor combined to throw the third no-hitter in franchise history as the JetHawks beat the Bakersfield Blaze, 1-0, at The Hangar.

On June 5, 2014, designated hitter Dan Gulbransen doubled to lead of the eighth inning to complete the sixth cycle of JetHawks history in a 16-7 win over the Inland Empire 66ers at The Hangar. Gulbransen became the first JetHawk to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes and Freddy Parejo hit for the cycle on back-to-back days on June 8th and 9th, 2010.

On June 11, 2014, the Lancaster JetHawks clinched the 2014 South Division First Half Championship title with a 16-3 win over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at The Hangar. The feat marks the sixth time the JetHawks have won the first half title in franchise history and the first time they've won back-to-back first halves since 2007 and 2008 as a Boston Red Sox affiliate. With three games remaining before the first half of the season concluded, the JetHawks tied the franchise record for first half wins with forty-three that was set back in 2004. On June 13, 2014, the JetHawks set a new franchise record for first half wins with forty-four with a 7-4 win over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at The Hangar.

The Lancaster JetHawks clinched a playoff spot as the First Half Champions after the 2014 season. In the Southern Division Championship Series, the JetHawks swept the Second Half Champion Inland Empire 66ers, three games to none. On September 15, 2014, the Lancaster JetHawks became the California League Champions after beating the Northern Division Champion Visalia Rawhide three games to two with a final score in Game 5 of 10-2. It would be the JetHawks' second California League Championship title in franchise history, achieved on the two-year anniversary of their first and second title in three seasons.

"The Hangar"[edit]

The JetHawks play home games at The Hangar which opened in 1996 as Lancaster Municipal Stadium. The Hangar has just over 4,600 permanent seats, but can accommodate over 7,000 fans with grass seating along each foul line. The stadium has deep fences (350 feet (110 m) down the right and left field lines and 410 feet (120 m) to deep center field) to combat the prevailing winds of the Antelope Valley. Known now by its nickname "The Hangar" after the signage of Clear Channel Stadium (2005–2012) was removed during the 2012 season, the stadium has a NASA F/A-18 Hornet mounted on display at the front entrance.

On December 19, 2010, Ballpark Digest.com reported that the Lancaster JetHawks are expected to save some green – to the tune of $48K – this coming season after the installation of solar panels on a ballpark carport will supply 98 percent of The Hangar's electricity needs on a typical game night. The installation is part of a city-wide emphasis on solar energy from civic structures. At the ballpark, 1,500 solar panels will be installed on a 700-foot-long carport beside the ballpark, well outside of foul-ball range. The electricity generated by the 340-kilowatt panel system will supply 98 percent of the power needed to run the ballpark, including the ballpark lights, and should save the owners of the JetHawks some $48,000 per year in utility costs. "The entire Lancaster community has embraced the city's mission to become the alternative energy capital of the world, and as the first minor league team in California to go solar, we’re happy to do our part", said JetHawks owner Peter Carfagna.

Community Sports Network (CSN @ JetHawks.com)[edit]

On August 27, 2009, the Lancaster JetHawks created the Community Sports Network (CSN @ JetHawks.com), an internet radio station that brings almost two hundred games and thousands of hours of local sports talk coverage to the Antelope Valley each year. The creation was in response to several local radio stations in the Antelope Valley eliminating their high school and college radio coverage. The station streams live on the internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with all local sports coverage. The station also offers live play-by-play coverage of Lancaster JetHawks baseball, Antelope Valley College football and basketball, and a high school football and basketball game of the week, all accessible through the JetHawks' website. The free service launched on Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 6 PM with an hour-long pre-game show leading up to dual coverage of the Lancaster JetHawks game against the Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino and the Antelope Valley College Marauders football opener on the road against College of the Canyons.

As of the 2010 season, the Lancaster JetHawks have a new radio station and a new web home to broadcast every inning of JetHawks baseball. The team partnered with News Talk 1380, a High Desert Broadcasting station, which will carry every JetHawks game, including the regular season and playoffs. Launched in September 2009, CSN@JetHawks.com will stream all broadcasts live as well as offering special replays of events. Jeff Lasky, JetHawks' play-by-play broadcaster since the 2006 season, will once again be calling the action while being joined by newcomer Scott Blusiewicz.

On February 17, 2012, the Lancaster JetHawks announced its return to New Talk 1380 AM and a new voice for the 2012 season. The High Desert Broadcasting station with take over the play-by-play action live all season with Jason Schwartz, a Los Angeles native and University of Southern California graduate who was the voice of the Northwest League's Tri-City Dust Devils, Class A Short Season affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, for their 2011 season. A live stream of each game will also be broadcast online at JetHawks.com. The JetHawks Clubhouse Show, a weekly talk show, will continue to air every Wednesday at 5 PM (PST) on air and online at JetHawks.com.

KaBoom, Stealth, & The Hawkettes[edit]

Since the 1996 inaugural season, KaBoom (KB for short) has been the JetHawks' mascot. In the 2008 season, he introduced an all-new look as part of his team's complete image makeover. KB entertains fans at games and participates in contests between innings. He can often be seen walking around the stadium planning his next stunt. KaBoom also encourages children in Antelope Valley schools to read with his own KaBoom's Reading Challenge. Before the 2009 season on March 21, 2009, KaBoom celebrated his 13th birthday at a party held in his honor at Clear Channel Stadium, where he revealed his younger brother, Stealth, to JetHawks fans. Stealth has been added as a JetHawks' mascot as of the 2009 season.

From 2009 to 2011, the JetHawks reintroduced the all new Hawkettes, a dance team that helps pass out giveaways at the main gate, toss JetHawks and Astros merchandise into the stands, and demonstrate their dancing abilities with their own dance routines, along with KaBoom, between innings. The team previously appeared at the ballpark during the 1996 inaugural season.

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish in Southern Division Manager Playoffs
1996 71–69 3rd Dave Brundage
1997 75–66 2nd Rick Burleson
1998 78–62 3rd Rick Burleson
1999 55–85 5th Darrin Garner
2000 89–51 1st Mark Parent First Half Champions
2001 61–79 5th Scott Coolbaugh
2002 63–77 3rd Bill Plummer & Steve Scarsone
2003 73–67 4th Mike Aldrete
2004 86–54 1st Wally Backman First Half Champions, Southern Division Champions
2005 75–65 1st Bill Plummer
2006 68–72 4th Brett Butler
2007 83–57 1st Chad Epperson First & Second Half Champions
2008 76–64 1st Chad Epperson First & Second Half Champions, Southern Division Champions
2009 56–84 5th Wes Clements
2010 54–86 4th Tom Lawless
2011 55–85 4th Tom Spencer
2012 74–66 2nd Rodney Linares Wild Card, Southern Division Champions,
California League Champions
2013 82–58 1st Rodney Linares First & Second Half Champions
2014 78-62 1st Rodney Linares First Half Champions, Southern Division Champions, California League Champions

Roster[edit]

Lancaster JetHawks roster
Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 31 Tyler Brunnemann
  • 17 Chris Cotton
  • 21 Jamaine Cotton
  • 22 Kent Emanuel
  • 30 Evan Grills
  • 45 Brian Holmes
  • 23 Lance McCullers, Jr.
  • 19 Daniel Minor
  • 18 Zach Morton
  • 37 Gonzalo Sanudo
  • 32 Vincent Velasquez
  • 29 Andrew Walter
  • 26 Kyle Westwood

Catchers

  •  7 Jobduan Morales
  • 10 Roberto Pena

Infielders

  • 20 Austin Elkins
  • 11 Jack Mayfield
  • 39 Chase McDonald
  •  3 Chan-Jong Moon
  •  5 Rio Ruiz
  • 24 Tyler White

Outfielders

  • 16 Ronnie Mitchell
  • 15 Brett Phillips
  •  2 James Ramsay
  • 13 Danry Vasquez

Manager

  • 33 Rodney Linares

Coaches

  • 38 Don Alexander (pitching)
  • 44 Darryl Robinson (hitting)
  • 12 Ramon Vazquez (infield)


Injury icon 2.svg 7-day disabled list
* On Houston Astros 40-man roster
∞ Reserve list
§ Suspended list
‡ Restricted list
# Rehab assignment
Roster updated September 6, 2014
Transactions
More MiLB rosters
Houston Astros minor league players

Lancaster JetHawks Baseball Hall of Fame[edit]

Charter Inductees – Class of 2003 (August 16, 2003)

  • Jim Slaton (Pitching Coach, 1997–1998)
  • José Cruz, Jr. (Outfielder, 1996)
  • Joe Mays (Pitcher, 1997)
  • Mike and Judy Ellis (Owners)
  • Matt and Shelly Ellis (Owners)
  • Larry Thornhill (Public Address Announcer)
  • Jim Gilley, City Manager of the City of Lancaster
  • City of Lancaster
  • Clutch Play Baseball, LLC

Class of 2004

  • Rick Burleson (Manager, 1997–1998)
  • Ken Cloude (Pitcher, 1996)
  • Juan Pierre (Outfielder of 1999 Lancaster Stealth, California Fall League Champions)
  • The Flight Crew Booster Club

Class of 2005

  • Brandon Webb (Pitcher, 2001 & Baseball America's 2003 Major League Rookie of the Year)
  • Bud Jones (Head Baseball Coach of Antelope Valley High School & Antelope Valley College & 1971 National High School Coach of the Year)

Class of 2006

  • Jack Wilson (Infielder of the 1999 Lancaster Stealth, California Fall League Champions)
  • Larry Lake (Contributor)

Class of 2007

Class of 2008

Class of 2009

Class of 2010

Class of 2011

  • Dámaso Marte (Pitcher, 1997)
  • Dan Munz (Head Groundskeeper, 1996 & City of Lancaster Maintenance Coordinator)
  • Kevin Younkin (Account Executive, 1996; Director of Ticketing & Group Sales, 1997; Assistant General Manager, 1998; General Manager of the 1999 Lancaster Stealth, California Fall League Champions; General Manager, 2000–2002; California League Executive of the Year, 2000)

Class of 2012

  • Aaron Bates (Infielder, 2007)
  • Dan Hubbard (JetHawks Radio Broadcaster)
  • Perry Husband (Baseball Skill Innovator and Author)
  • Curt Redecker (Friends of Baseball and former chairman of the Flight Crew Booster Club)

Class of 2013

  • Jose Altuve (Infielder, 2010 & 2011)
  • Carlos González (Outfielder, 2006)
  • Don Alexander (Pitching Coach, 2012 – present)
  • Darryl Robinson (Hitting Coach, 2009 – present)
  • Rodney Linares (Manager, 2012 – present)

Class of 2014

  • Daniel Nava (Outfielder, 2008)
  • J.B. Shuck (Outfielder, 2009)
  • Harley Smith (Quartz Hill Pony League & Paraclete High School Coach)
  • Doug Mapson (Palmdale High School Coach & Major League Baseball Scout)
  • Derek Sharp (General Manager, 2011-2013)
  • Gayland Devers (Little League Coach & JetHawks Head Usher)

Notable JetHawks Alumni[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]