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IronBirds 2011 Season Recap

October 12, 2011
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2011 Season Review
By Towney Godfrey

Despite a losing record, the 2011 Aberdeen IronBirds brought plenty of highlights and excitement to Ripken Stadium this year. Here's a look back at some of the memorable moments from the 10th season of professional baseball in Aberdeen...

Opening Night
June 17, 2011
The IronBirds started off the season with an exciting 7-2 win over division-rival the Hudson Valley Renegades. Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Parker Bridwell had one of his best starts of the season, tossing five shutout innings. He walked none and struck-out a season-high nine batters.

Nowak's Night
June 24, 2011
Second-year IronBirds outfielder Jeremy Nowak had a career-night. Before the game, Nowak was interviewed for the IronBirds' radio pregame show and appeared on the cover of that night's First Pitch. Against the Staten Island Yankees that night, Nowak blasted two long home runs (the first to right field, the second to left field). After the game, Nowak was promoted to the Class-A Delmarva Shorebirds.

The Wright Stuff
July 6, 2011
2011 Baltimore Orioles third-round pick Mike Wright made his Aberdeen debut against the Lowell Spinners. After giving up a triple to the first batter he faced, Wright settled down and retired the next six batters he faced in order. The tall right-hander flashed a 96 MPH fastball as he struck-out three batters over two innings of work. The IronBirds would beat the Spinners that night 2-1, snapping an eight-game losing streak.

Hobgood and Berry Debut
July 16, 2011
Top Orioles prospects Matt Hobgood and Ryan Berry made their IronBirds debuts at the Vermont Lake Monsters. Both recovering from shoulder injuries, the former first-round pick Hobgood started the game. He allowed two earned runs over four innings of work. Berry entered the game afterwards, surrendering just one run in three frames of work.

IronBirds Run Wild
July 19, 2011
With the Brooklyn Cyclones in town, the IronBirds ran wild. The club stole a franchise-record nine bases against the New York Mets' short-season affiliate. Glynn Davis, Sammie Starr, and Martin Serrata swiped two bags each.

All-Star Night
August 16, 2011
Despite having the league's worst record, four IronBirds represented Aberdeen on the American League team in the 2011 New York-Penn League All-Star Game. Infielders Joe Velleggia and Dudley Leonora, outfielder Glynn Davis, and starting pitcher Trent Howard were all invited to play in this year's late-summer classic in Lowell, MA. Velleggia had to sit out the exhibition due to an oblique strain, but Leonora and Davis both saw significant time off the bench. Howard pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

GCL Orioles Join IronBirds
August 30, 2011
Following the end of the Gulf Coast League season, right-handed pitchers Miguel Chalas, Jaime Esquivel, and Jose Nivar, left-handers Jorge Rivera and Eduardo Rodriguez, and infielder Tommy Winegardner were promoted to the club. Chalas, Esquivel and Rodriguez each had opportunities to start games. Nivar pitched out of the bullpen and Winegardner saw time around the infield. Rivera, however, fared the best. He pitched three perfect innings out of the bullpen and picked up a win in his first New York-Penn League appearance against the Tri-City ValleyCats.

Wilson Closes Strong
September 3, 2011
Baltimore Orioles 10th round pick Tyler Wilson did not allow more than two runs in a start over his first five starts. The right-hander saved his best for last. In his final start at the Hudson Valley Renegades, Wilson tossed a season-high six scoreless innings. He surrendered just three hits and no walks while striking out six. Zach Fowler and Luis Lebron pitched the final three frames without allowing a run, as Aberdeen defeated Hudson Valley 1-0. The win would be the IronBirds' 24th and final win of the 2011 season.

Florimon Gets the Call
September 5, 2011
Following the Double-A Bowie Baysox's final game of the season, shortstop Pedro Florimon was called up to Baltimore. Florimon, who played for the IronBirds in 2006 and as a rehabber in 2010, has long been considered one of the top defensive shortstops in the Orioles system. Florimon was the sixth former IronBirds player to get called up to the big leagues in 2011. The Orioles called up left-handed pitcher Zach Britton, outfielders Matt Angle and Kyle Hudson, and infielder Ryan Adams during the season. Also, right-handed pitcher Pedro Beato made his big league debut for the New York Mets at the start of the season. Twenty-four former IronBirds have now made it to the majors.