For those who only kept up with the RiverDogs’ Thirsty Thursday promotions this season, here’s a brief recap of how the rest of the 2009 season went.
Though the RiverDogs did not make postseason play for the fourth consecutive season, the team finished with a winning record (74-65) and enjoyed plenty of success throughout the year.
2009 was marked by much fluctuation. The team finished the season with only 11 of the same players that they started with in April. While this was positive on the whole, with 16 players receiving promotions, it left the rest of the boys constantly readjusting to a new wave of players. The RiverDogs coped well however and had numerous successful outings.
Among the most notable wins were a couple of walk-off game-winning home-runs against the Asheville Tourists in May, a large comeback win against the Augusta Green Jackets, turning a 10-4 deficit into a 14-13 victory, and the largest come-from-behind win in the 13-year history of Riley Park against the Rome Braves, defeating the Braves 10-9 after being down 9-1 in the top of the fifth inning.
Many individual players stood out this season as well with superb performances on the field. Abraham Almonte collected a career-high 26-game hitting streak from Aug. 6-Sept. 5, which marked the longest streak for the RiverDogs since Mitch Hilligoss’ 38 straight games in 2007. Almonte also finished fifth in the league for stolen bases.
David Phelps, Melky Mesa, and CorbanJoseph were honored with selections to the Southern Atlantic League (SAL) Postseason All-Star Squad. Before receiving a promotion in July, Phelps finished 10-3 with a 2.80 ERA over 19 starts. Mesa finished tied for fourth with 20 home runs and ranked fifth with 76 runs scored. Joseph, a fourth-round pick by the Yankees in 2008, came to life in the second half of the season by hitting .410 in July with 13 multi-hit games including eight in a row, which won him the SAL’s Topps Player of the Month honors.
Four players and two coaches were named to SAL Southern Division All-Star Team. Manager Torre Tyson and pitching coach Jeff Ware joined pitcher Hector Noesi, outfielder Melky Mesa, designated hitter Dan Brewer, and ambidextrous closer Pat Venditte for the All-Star game in West Virginia on June 23 at Appalachian Power Park.
The RiverDogs had a big season at the box office as well, having their third-highest attendance figure ever at 268,985 total fans, for an average of 4,015 per game.