Utica, N.Y. - The 2018 PGCBL season is just around the corner and the Utica Blue Sox are gearing up for year three in the league.
Many of the new Sox come from out of town, all over the country. However, there are two players on the squad with local ties, Whitesboro grad Pat Galer and Nico Ramos of Rome, who graduated from Holland Patent.
Ramos currently plays college ball at Sienna. Last year, he won the PGCBL title with the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs, but this year brings a different level of significance to his summer.
"I'm pretty excited for this, last year I was home but this is a field that I grew up on," said Ramos. "I've been playing here since I was 14 and I just have a lot of history here and I'm super excited to be able to call this my home field for once."
On the other side of things, new head coach, Joe Martinez, is a Brooklyn native who now lives with his family down in Tampa. Along with many of the players, the past couple of weeks have been his introduction to Utica.
The journey here has been something he's looked forward to for a very long time.
"When I got the gig back in November, I was counting the days," said Martinez. "I remember saying 180 days and I was like this thing is moving like an hour glass, but it's finally here. I've been here a little over a week now since Monday."
Martinez said that while he hasn't been in Utica long, it's already made a positive impression on him.
Utica has treated me really good, the guys, people we've met, I've met a lot of wonderful people here," he said. "They're making me feel at home so it's great."
When asked what he hopes to accomplish with this group this year, he said, simply, "to win."
Ramos has been one of the factors helping the coach ease into his new location, he shares in his skipper's vision for this team. Despite being from different places, for this summer, they're all Uticans.
"I would like another ring," he said. "The one I have right now is pretty sick, and it's cool, but I would like to have one that says Utica on it."
NOTE: Galer was not at Wednesday's practice.