Rockland County, NY (September 6, 2021) – Rich and Sophia Fernandez were winners of the New York Boulders’ first-ever Phil Tisi Award and outfielder Jack Sundberg was tabbed this year’s recipient of the Johnny Thompson Unsung Hero Award as the Frontier League team handed out its end-of-season honors at their final home game of the season on Monday, Labor Day.
Phil Tisi was a teacher and public servant in Rockland County who passed away in April of 2020 due to complications of the Coronavirus. He was 72.
A supporter of independent league baseball since the birth of the Boulders in 2011, he was regarded as the franchise’s #1 fan.
However, Tisi was more than just a baseball fan. A Social Studies teacher at Suffern High School for 38 years before retiring in 2009, he also served the public as a deputy supervisor, interim supervisor, assistant to the supervisor and director of communications for the Town of Ramapo.
The award in his honor is given to the member of the New York Boulders’ family who has demonstrated a commitment to bettering the community by giving an effort above and beyond the normal level through their work with local charities, schools and organizations in hope of making Rockland a better place to live and expanding the Boulders’ name – and Rich and Sophia Fernandez certainly fit that description.
Diagnosed at an early age with Multiple Sclerosis, Rich still served with the NYPD for 24 years, retiring in 2013 with the rank of sargeant. Throughout the years, he has served on numerous civic and charitable groups in Rockland County, including a stint as President of the North Rockland School Board.
His wife Sophia, a USPS employee, has been at his side throughout, assisting Rich with his endeavors, while also undertaking her own work in local civic groups in Rockland County.
The couple have been season ticket holders to Boulders games for a handful of season.
Meanwhile, Sundberg has quietly put together an outstanding season on his way to the Thompson Award.
Sundberg has given the Boulders’ solid defensive play in left field, while, at bat, has maintained a batting average hovering around the .300 mark throughout the year and, through the Labor Day game versus Tri-City, is tied for the Boulders' single season stolen base mark of 47 set by Junior Arrojo in 2016.
Additionally, Gail Gultz was named Boulders’ Employee of the Year.
Though you may only know Gultz around PCU Park for selling 50/50 raffles, she has become an integral part of our school programming, helping to develop a curriculum guide to accompany our school field trips and continues to
work with Scholastic Book Fairs to coordinate our Read for the Boulders incentive program, bringing local students and their families into the ballpark.
She also assists with event planning, sales, promotions, and runs BALK, the Boulders’ co-ed adult kickball league here at the stadium.
The Boulders also announced the winners of team awards with North Rockland High School graduate Dan Wircansky tabbed as the top pitcher, catcher Gian Martellini as the top rookie, centerfielder Milton Smith, Jr. as the top defensive player, second baseman Zach Kirtley as the Core Power Player of the Year and team MVP and first baseman Ray Hernandez as the fan favorite.
Information regarding tickets to individual New York Boulders’ games, as well 2022 season tickets and packages are available by calling 845-364-0009 or sliding to www.NYBoulders.com.
Debuting in 1993, the Frontier League is the largest and longest-running of the modern independent leagues and features teams stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway. In September of 2020, the Frontier League reached an agreement to become a “Partner League” with Major League Baseball.
As a “Partner League,” the Frontier League and its teams will meet on a regular basis with MLB representatives to discuss joint marketing and promotional opportunities, as well as collaborate on initiatives to provide organized baseball to communities throughout the United States and Canada.
More information can be found at www.frontierleague.com.