Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have announced that infielder Matt Hagen has been voted as the #12 Patriot in team history.
The Top 20 Patriots presented by AT&T is a season-long promotion as part of the team’s 20th Season. The Top 20 Patriots were voted on by the fans and ranked by an expert panel of team officials, media, and long-time fans.
“One thing you learn when you get done playing is that the game goes on without you,” said Hagen. “It’s nice to know that people still remember your efforts and appreciate everything you did on the field, especially for a team like Somerset.”
Hagen came to the Patriots to be a role player off the bench, but instantly impacted the team and became an everyday starter in the infield and outfield.
In his first season with the team in 2008, Hagen became an All-Star with a .308 batting average, 71 runs scored, 132 hits, 23 doubles, four triples, 17 home runs, 71 RBI, and 34 stolen bases in 117 games played.
His consistent play made him one of the standouts on a team that included the league’s Player of the Year (Josh Pressley) and earned him the starting second baseman position towards the end of the season into the playoffs.
“He was a big part of our team’s success both in the clubhouse and on the field,” said Somerset Patriots Manager Emeritus Sparky Lyle, who managed Hagen in his time with the team. “He played every day based on his performance. I actually think he became a better player each game. He worked hard and that made him one of the key guys on some really good teams.”
It was clear that once he became a Patriot, Hagen hit his stride and was an invaluable part of the franchise’s return to the top of the standings.
He helped lead the Patriots to the championship in 2008 and returned for his second All-Star season with the team in 2009, finishing among the league leaders with a .317 average, 88 runs, 143 hits, 36 doubles, 10 home runs, and 75 RBI in 120 games played.
The 2009 team went on to win a league record 86 games on their way to Somerset’s second straight championship, the first back-to-back titles in league history. In the playoffs, Hagen hit .294 with seven runs, 10 hits, six doubles, a home run, and eight RBI in eight games.
“I think the expectations were high and rightly so. You don’t play in Somerset to come in second place. You come to win championships. There’s no excuse to not finish on top,” Hagen said.
He became a fan favorite and part of the team’s core during a successful run that saw the team make the post-season in three straight seasons from 2008 through 2010. During that time, the roster featured several players that returned year after year and became the faces of the organization at the ballpark and throughout the community.
“It’s very rare to see the type of chemistry in professional sports that we had. We really caught lightning in a bottle where that many guys genuinely wanted to see each other succeed. It was a family. The Patriots were my family away from home,” Hagen said.
Hagen finished his time in Somerset with a .280 average, 538 hits, 126 doubles, 58 home runs, and 290 RBI in 545 games played.
The Top 20 Patriots presented by AT&T will be counted down each week throughout the 2017 season. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.
Tickets to the 2017 Somerset Patriots Season presented by Ford, which includes the team’s 20th Anniversary, are on sale now. TD Bank Ballpark will be the host of the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star Game presented by RWJBarnabas Health and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey on Wednesday, July 12th. For more information, stop by the ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.
About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 36 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 800 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment to metropolitan markets serving nearly 15% of the US population.
For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.
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