The Vermont Lake Monsters are pleased to announce that we recently received three Futures League Team Awards for the 2023 season, including Best Community Promotion for our “Dig In for Pete” Night as we celebrated Head Coach Pete Wilk and raised money to help his fight with cancer. Also winning awards were Staffer of the Year Alex Pierotti and Executive of the Year C.J. Knudsen.
Below is the Futures League announcement for each of the three awards:
BEST COMMUNITY PROMOTION – “Dig In for Pete” Night
The Lake Monsters’ manager since their move to the Futures League in 2021, Wilk was diagnosed in February with Glioblastoma and underwent treatment at the Duke University Cancer Center’s Brain Tumor Clinic. Shortly after Wilk and his family returned to Vermont in late June, the organization dedicated their July 8 game to supporting his cause. A total of $20,000 was raised through the promotion, which included an auction of that night’s special Wilk, No. 45 game-worn jerseys. Generous community support included the opposing Westfield Starfires donating $1,000 to the family and adding a team-signed bat to the auction, while Lake Monsters sponsor Chasella Capital matched the $4,500 raised in the jersey auction. Finally, the English Family matched the donations through the “Dig In for Pete” bracelet sales of $5,000.
STAFF MEMBER OF THE YEAR – Alex Pierotti, Vermont Lake Monsters
Pierotti joined the Lake Monsters in March 2022 as the Director of Concessions & Events before taking on added responsibility in 2023 as Director of Operations after GM Dave Schermerhorn left for a role in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, stepping up to fill a very large void. During his first season in Vermont, Pierotti stepped right in to create and operate the food and locations that serve the field-level suites at Centennial Field and then expanded menu offerings for this past season. He was also tasked with hiring and maintaining the team’s game day staff. Pierotti led the Lake Monsters’ food and beverage revenue growth by 83 percent in two years and also established a relationship with the Vermont Food Bank to combat food insecurity, raising $20,000 and generating great publicity for the food bank and the team.
WILLIAM J. TERLECKY EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR – CJ Knudsen
The Executive of the Year honor is Knudsen’s second in three years, as he also won the award in 2021 following the Lake Monsters’ championship-winning inaugural season. Though his title is as Senior VP, he has essentially acted as a general manager following the departure of Dave Schermerhorn, who took a position with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization last November.
“It’s truly an honor to be named the William J. Terlecky Executive of the Year. This award is a total team effort and I really want to thank our outstanding staff and our truly dedicated fans and sponsors. Even despite the rainy season, fans came out to cheer on the Monsters and our amazing staff welcomed them with a smile,” Knudsen said. “We would also like to thank The Futures League, Commissioner Paolucci, and the other teams and owners within the league; for allowing us to be part of something special and for developing future leaders, on and off the field.”
With Knudsen’s leadership, the Vermont franchise welcomed a Futures League-high 83,310 fans (2,540 on average) to Burlington’s Centennial Field, marking its most successful season at the gates since 2012. The team hosted over 4,000 fans for two regular-season games and played in 10 games that were televised WYCI or NESN, bringing games into the homes of fans throughout New England and northern New York.
Knudsen and his team executed a memorable two-day Futures League All-Star experience on July 24-25, which marked the first such event held in Burlington since 1986. The event included a separate Home Run Derby and on-field concert the night before the game. The game itself was played before an All-Star league-record crowd of 4,415, which was treated to player autograph sessions and ceremonies and awed by a Vermont Air National Guard flyover prior to the first pitch.
“This is the toughest award to give out every year because we have so many hard working and talented executives in this league. However, once again CJ Knudsen separated himself from the rest,” Paolucci said. “The planning and the effort that went into the 2023 All Star Game was certainly special. This was a first-class event that had fans, players, coaches and administrators all feeling like we were in the major leagues. CJ is a proven leader, not just with Vermont but throughout the entire Futures League as well.”