SOUTHERN ILLINOIS NAMES TOM CARCIONE HITTING COACH

The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they have hired baseball coaching veteran Tom Carcione to be their new hitting coach in 2021. Carcione replaces Steve Marino, who departed the club to pursue a career in law enforcement.

The 54-year old comes to Southern Illinois with nearly 30 years of experience across many different levels of baseball, both as a coach and as a player. Most-recently, Carcione served as the hitting coach for the Lincoln Saltdogs in the American Association from 2016-19. Under his tutelage, the Saltdogs finished in the top half of the league in home runs in each of his last three seasons, bashing a league-best 116 long balls in 2018. They also finished among the top teams in the circuit with a .274 team average and .357 on-base percentage that season, and were fourth-best with 531 runs scored. In addition, Lincoln was also top-five in the American Association in home runs, batting average, and on-base percentage in 2017.

“First, I would like to thank Mike Pinto for the opportunity to join the Miners organization,” Carcione said. “With the success and reputation of the Miners through the years, I am excited to become a member of the coaching staff and help with their continued success and pursuit of a Frontier League championship.”

Prior to his experience in Lincoln, Carcione was the hitting coach for the Windy City ThunderBolts in 2015. Before that, he served as an assistant coach and director of baseball operations at Northern Illinois University from 2012-15, and was also an assistant there from 2007-08. In between his two stints in DeKalb, Carcione served as the interim and then permanent head coach at Division-II Metropolitan State University of Denver for two seasons. In addition, he was the hitting coach for the Can-Am League’s Ottawa Rapidz in 2008, and was made the interim manager that season, then hired as the permanent manager ahead of the 2009 campaign, but the team ceased operations that offseason.

Carcione has also spent two seasons as the pitching coach for the Sioux City Explorers in the American Association from 2006-07, was the head coach of Si Tanka University (NAIA) in South Dakota in 2005, and an assistant coach at the University of South Dakota from 2000-04. He began his coaching career as the bench and bullpen coach for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, also in the American Association, in 1999.

The River Grove, Illinois native who now resides outside Denver, Colorado also enjoyed a 10-year professional playing career, including five seasons in independent baseball and five more in the Oakland Athletics organization, where the former catcher advanced as high as Double-A. He was a 10th-round selection by the A’s out of Texas A&M University in the 1988 MLB Draft.

“We are very excited and proud to add Tom to our coaching staff,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “He has a depth of experience in the game- first as a player for 10 years, followed by a coaching career that spans from college through the pro ranks. He has worked with some very good hitters over the years, and has helped them get better each day. Our guys are going to love working with Tom.”

The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League’s most-successful franchise since debuting in 2007, winning the 2012 Frontier League Championship as well as division titles in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. They have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception, and also set a new Frontier League attendance record in their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.

TITANS ADD EXPERIENCED OF RACUSIN

The Ottawa Titans Baseball Club announced today the signing of Outfielder Zach Racusin for the 2021 season.

Racusin, 27, last played in 2020 where he appeared in 13 games for the New York Boulders in the All-American Challenge. One of the more consistent players in the Frontier League, Racusin is a career .288 hitter in 170 games.

His last full season of action came in 2019 with the Lake Erie Crushers, where the 6-foot Outfielder hit .274 with two home runs and 33 RBI’s while ranking 11th in the league with 98 hits.

“Zach has been a solid Frontier League player for the past few seasons,” indicated Titans Manager Steve Brook. “I love his approach at the plate and am confident that he will add significant depth to our lineup this season. Racusin grinds out his at-bats and puts a lot of pressure on opposing pitchers. He’s coming into the 2021 season with a ton to prove and I’m excited for him and this opportunity.”

A graduate of Georgetown University (Washington, DC), Racusin has appeared in the Atlantic League, American Association, and the Frontier League through three seasons of professional baseball. While in college, Racusin had 21 multi-hit games, including 12 with at least three hits, and eight games with multiple-RBI.

His great uncle, Saul Nechtem, is in the Boston University Hall of Fame after starring in baseball, basketball, football, and track & field from 1936-39.

The Ottawa Titans are scheduled to hit the field in late Spring of 2021 playing in the Frontier League, a partner league of Major League Baseball.

AIGLES ADD LHP TASKER STROBEL

The Trois-Rivieres Aigles announce that they have reached an agreement with American pitcher Tasker Strobel for the 2021 season. The new acquisition of the Aigles, from Avon, Indiana, has already accumulated experience in the Frontier league, playing for the Joliet Slammers in 2017.

Prior to joining the Slammers, Strobel played with the Saint Joseph’s College Pumas, a NCAA Division II program, in 2016 and 2017. In his final year with the team, Strobel posted an earned-run average of 3.17 while maintaining a winning record of 7 wins and 3 losses. He later made the leap into the American Association by joining the Gary SouthShore RailCats. In 2020, he played with the Westside Woolly Mammoths in the United Shores Baseball League. In 10 games, he had an earned run average of 3.97 in addition to not allowing any home runs to his opponents.

“Tasker is a great acquisition for our team in 2021. He’s a left-handed pitcher who has great power. He has shown increasing velocity and better control over the past few years, I’m sure he will be able to perform at a high level this season. He is able to outsmart hitters with all of his throws. I feel lucky to have been able to sign him before other teams. I see him as an endgame reliever, who could even find his role as a stopper,” says Matthew Rusch, manager of the Aigles.

WILD THINGS EXTEND FORMER ROCKIES FARMHAND PIMENTEL

The Washington Wild Things’ pitching staff continued to grow today as the team has announced the extension of right hander Keven Pimentel through the upcoming season. The former Rockies farmhand pitched for the Steel City Slammin’ Sammies in pod play after being signed prior to 2020 by the Wild Things.

Pimentel started all five of the games he appeared in this past summer. In 24 innings, he struck out 35 and walked only 14. He allowed 13 runs, 11 of which were earned. His record was 2-0.

“Our rotation is being built to have starters collectively set a high bar and Keven feeds into that environment. He showed the ability to throw any pitch in any count and a natural feel to slow down the game,” said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. “He comes from a winning program with experience in meaningful games and the desire to work deep in outings. Keven adds another diverse arm to our room and we look for him to make an impact in 2021.”

Pimentel said he enjoyed the support of the staff, players and fans during 2020 and that the decision was “pretty easy” to return to Washington.

“The staff and players were great and after seeing some of the dudes back it was a no brainer for me to come back and join the guys to go out and compete and win,” said Pimentel. “The fans can expect someone that’s going to play hard and compete every time on the mound. Off the mound [I’m] someone that’s having fun with his teammates and smiling.”

Pimentel was a 28th round pick for the Rockies in the 2019 draft after his final two seasons of collegiate ball were spent at the University of Tampa. In 2019 for Boise (A-), he logged 29.2 innings in 22 games from the bullpen and fanned 20.

He started his college career at Miami, where he appeared in 33 games over two seasons. Then Pimentel transferred to Tampa, where he became a starter, as he started all 33 games he appeared in there through his two years. He pitched to a record of 22-4 and a 3.10 ERA at Tampa. In nearly 200 innings, he struck out 174 opposing batters and walked just 49. His WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) was not higher than 1.077 in either season. He was a two-time all-conference pitcher and all-region multiple times.

“Goals for this year is to compete and try and win as many games as possible,” said Pimentel. “The rest will take care of itself. Having fun and playing hard will lead into winning games.”

Washington’s season opener is scheduled for May 27 at New York.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League, partner league of Major League Baseball, that plays in Washington, PA. Since their inception in 2002, the Wild Things have won six division titles and earned numerous playoff appearances. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media platforms and website, washingtonwildthings.com. For other inquiries, call the front office at 724-250-9555.

 

 

BOOMERS BRING BACK REDS PROSPECT RODRIGUEZ

The Schaumburg Boomers have announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Orlando Rodriguez for the 2021 season. 

Rodriguez, 26 returns to Schaumburg after having his contract purchased by the Cincinnati Reds after just two starts during the 2019 season. He worked 13.1 innings and allowed just three runs on nine hits with 12 strikeouts in those two starts.  

“We are very fortunate to get Orlando back,” said manager Jamie Bennett. Although we only had him a short time in 2019, he had an immediate impact on our ball club before being signed by the Reds. He is a hardworking and very competitive pitcher that should fit nicely into our rotation. 

The Reds assigned Rodriguez to their then rookie league affiliate, the Billings Mustangs. He threw 36.2 innings in 10 appearances with 49 strikeouts.  

Rodriguez most recently played for the Lightning Sloths of the Constellation Energy League (CEL). The CEL was an independent league that was put together by the Sugar Land Skeeters due to COVID-19. The righty threw 21.2 innings over 11 games while striking out 19.  

“When Jamie told me that we re-signed Orlando I was very excited,” said pitching coach Connor Reed. “Having played together in 2019 and seeing what he was able to do in a short stint here before being picked up. It’s a big add for our staff having another starter who has been in Schaumburg before and has succeeded.” 

Rodriguez, a native of Miami, Florida, attended St. Thomas University. He helped guide the team to the 2019 NAIA National Championship game. His last season as a Bobcat he struck out 113 batters in 95.2 innings and left the program as the all-time leader in wins and strikeouts.  

To stay up to date with all things Boomers baseball, follow the Boomers on social media and on www.boomersbaseball.com. 

MINERS BRING BACK STELZER AND MITCHELL, SIGN MANG

The Southern Illinois Miners announce that pitcher Blake Stelzer and outfielder Dalton Mitchell have returned to the club after playing elsewhere in 2020, and have also signed outfielder Jared Mang out of the California Winter League.

Stelzer, a 6’3” right-handed pitcher, played for the St. Cloud Rox in the summer collegiate Northwoods League in 2020, and had a 3-1 record and seven saves in 16 appearances out of the bullpen along with 22 strikeouts, 11 walks, and a 2.73 ERA. He was slated to join the Miners last year out of Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he pitched to a 0.52 ERA in 17 1/3 innings along with a 25:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio as a senior before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down college athletics.

Mitchell, a Metropolis native, played with the Chicago Deep Dish of the City of Champions Cup league that took place in Joliet last year, seeing 10 games of action in the outfield. He previously hit .417 in 11 games with the Roswell Invaders in the Pecos League in 2019 after batting .264 with 10 doubles and 33 RBIs as a senior at Indiana University-Southeast that same year. Mitchell also spent three seasons playing at Alabama A&M University.

Mang comes to the Miners out of the California Winter League in 2021, but the Los Alamos, New Mexico native also has one season of affiliated experience under his belt, amassing 22 RBIs, nine doubles and three triples in 43 games in the Tigers organization with the rookie-level GCL Tigers in 2019. He was selected in the 18th round of the 2019 MLB Draft by Detroit after a standout career at the University of New Mexico, where he was a two-time First Team All-Mountain West selection as a senior and sophomore. Mang batted .365 with 23 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 51 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, 57 runs scored, and 76 hits in just 52 games as a senior for the Lobos in 2019.

“Our roster continues to improve with each day of the spring,” said Miners manager Mike Pinto. “Blake and Dalton were able to get valuable time last summer improving their games while we were unable to play. That experience should help them prepare for our spring training ahead. Meanwhile, Jared impressed our scout Casey Dill out in the California Winter League recently. He brings great speed and defense to the outfield, and also some experience with the Tigers organization following his successful college career.”

The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League’s most-successful franchise since debuting in 2007, winning the 2012 Frontier League Championship as well as division titles in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. They have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception, and also set a new Frontier League attendance record in their inaugural season. In addition, they have sent 59 players to MLB organizations in their 13 years of operation. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.

 

OTTERS ADD FORMER REDS PROSPECT

Former Cincinnati Reds prospect Miles Gordon signs with the Evansville Otters for 2021.

The Oakville, Ontario native brings with him five seasons of experience with the Cincinnati Reds organization.

“I’m looking forward to competing again with my teammates and winning some ball games,” Gordon said. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about the organization, and I’m excited to get going!”

“A close player from my 1999 championship team from London, Ontario reached out to me to recommend Miles,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “I followed up with some of my Reds contacts to cross check and heard all good things.”

The outfielder played for the Arizona League Reds, Pioneer League Billings Mustangs, Florida State League Daytona Tortugas, and the Midwest League Dayton Dragons from 2015-2019.

Overall, with the Reds organization, Gordon batted .242 with 13 home runs and 99 RBIs in 908 at-bats. In 253 games played, Gordon scored 130 runs, had 68 totals extra-base hits, and swiped 47 bags.

“Miles should prove to be a dynamic player in the Frontier league, an exceptional athlete with plus speed and should secure our outfield defensively,” McCauley added. “He will definitely be a top of the order guy, looking for him to get on base and use his speed to get into scoring position for the guys hitting behind him.”

“I’m a high energy guy, always rooting for the guy next to me and like to keep it light,” Gordon stated. “I like to have fun whenever I’m around the park. I play hard every night, and I’m itching to get back into a competitive environment.”

In his time with the Reds, Gordon played with former Otters pitcher Randy Wynne in Dayton in 2019 and roomed with former Otters outfielder Logan Taylor in 2018.

Gordon was drafted by the Reds in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft out of St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Secondary School in Oakville, Ontario.

“Miles had some really great years earlier in his Reds career, but he may have gotten away from what got him drafted in the fourth round,” McCauley said.

“We were happy to hear he was working with respected hitting guys to get back to his old self. He will definitely continue to improve under hitting coach Bobby Segal’s watch, and in talking with Miles, his approach is very similar to Bobby’s philosophy.”

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.

The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

FORMER 10th ROUND PICK TO BOLSTER WILD THINGS STAFF

The roster for the 2021 Washington Wild Things has grown by one, as the team announced the addition of right-handed pitcher Nate Pawelczyk today. Pawelczyk started five games for the Steel City Slammin’ Sammies in pod play in 2020 and is now set for his first Frontier League season.

Pawelczyk was 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA across 27.1 innings in the five starts for the Slammin’ Sammies. He allowed 17 hits, 12 runs (10 earned) and punched out 34 during the summer of 2020. The work came off his only season pitching in the Chicago White Sox organization after he was drafted out of Winthrop in the 10th round of the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft.

“Nate has been attacking the off-season, looking to build on tweaks made this summer,” said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. “The arm is a great foundation to pair with his desire to work efficient deep in games. A diverse rotation challenges hitters daily and we see Nate’s style as a great compliment.”

Pawelczyk said he enjoyed his first experience with the Wild Things this past summer, which made it an easy decision to return.

“After my experience with everyone associated with the Wild Things last year, the decision was easy,” said Pawelczyk. “From the fans that were able to make it out to the upper management I really enjoyed everyone around the organization. To boil it down to a few things is tough, but I would say the dedication to winning is probably my favorite thing about the organization. From the team they put together this year on paper to many other things, it’s apparent that the goal is to win.”

Pawelczyk, who will turn 24 in early June, pitched his way to a 3.81 ERA in 21 bullpen appearances for the Great Falls Voyagers (CWS, Rookie Ball) in the minors. He struck out 26 to just eight walks in 26 innings in 2019, while allowing 30 hits.

At Winthrop, Pawelczyk was a standout. In four seasons, he amassed a 23-14 record and a 4.02 ERA in 64 games (39 starts). In 282.1 innings he fanned 251 opposing batters. His best season by earned run average was his sophomore year in 2017, when he pitched his way to a 2.23 ERA in 16 games, 11 of which were starts. He struck out 69 in 76.2 innings of work while walking 32, but only allowed 53 hits. He found himself 7-2 when the year was done. He’d have seven wins in his junior year with a 3.77 ERA and was 9-4 as a senior with a career high 83 strikeouts in a career-best 92.1 innings. He was a two-time first-team All-Big South pitcher and once a second-team All-Conference pitcher.

“As a player, I love to compete,” said Pawelczyk. “I’m someone who goes out there and simply plays to win. On the field I’m a different person than off just due to competitiveness. But off the field I love to interact with fans after games. Personal goal is to stay healthy and continue to improve. My team goal for the year is to win the Frontier League.”

Pawelczyk and his teammates report in May before May 27’s scheduled-season opener at the New York Boulders. Pawelczyk will be joined by another pitcher as roster announcements this week. The next will be announced Thursday.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League, partner league of Major League Baseball, that plays in Washington, PA. Since their inception in 2002, the Wild Things have won six division titles and earned numerous playoff appearances. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media platforms and website, washingtonwildthings.com. For other inquiries, call the front office at 724-250-9555.

 

2021 FRONTIER LEAGUE TRYOUT CAMP & DRAFT MAY 10-11

The 28th annual Frontier League Tryout Camp and Draft will be held on Monday, May 10 and Tuesday, May 11 at Mercy Health Stadium in Avon, Ohio, home of the Lake Erie Crushers.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE 2021 TRYOUT CAMP & DRAFT

All 16 Frontier League teams will be represented at the workouts, and scouts from multiple Major League Baseball teams also attend each season.  Representatives from other independent leagues participate as well.  Advance registration is available at frontierleaguetryouts.eventbrite.com.

The workouts officially begin at 9:00 AM on May 10 and will feature running, fielding and throwing drills for infielders, outfielders, and catchers, and batting practice for position players while pitchers will throw 15-20 pitch bullpens.  Following the first day, the field managers will post a list of players invited back for inter-squad games on May 11.  At the conclusion of the games, action will break for 30 minutes as clubs and prepare for the draft.

Social distancing protocols will be observed during the Tryout Camp, including masks required for all attendees not actively participating in baseball activities.

An average of 35 players each season have been drafted and signed to spring training contracts over the past eight years.  Each year, at least one tryout camp participant has been selected for the Frontier League’s All-Star Game. Several draftees have gone on to be signed by Major League Baseball organizations, with four having ascended to the Major Leagues (Chris Jakubauskas, Seattle; Josh Smoker, New York Mets; Chris Smith, Toronto; and Robert Stock, San Diego).

“We take great pride in giving players an outlet to showcase their talents and provide a quality experience at minimal cost,” said Frontier League Deputy Commissioner Steve Tahsler.  “Our clubs take this event very seriously as they look to complete their spring training rosters, and with new teams joining for the 2021 season we expect more opportunities for players to be signed.”

Debuting in 1993, the Frontier League is the largest and longest running of the MLB Partner Leagues and features teams stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway.  More information and the complete 2021 schedule can be found at www.frontierleague.com.

Mercy Health Stadium is located 20 miles west of downtown Cleveland at exit 151 off I-90.  Spring training for Frontier League teams begins on Thursday, May 13 with the regular season opening on May 27.

IMPORTANT: As per the manufacturer’s warranty for the artificial playing surface at Mercy Health Stadium, all players trying out must wear turf shoes or molded cleats. No metal cleats will be allowed. This policy is the same that is in effect for all events at Mercy Health Stadium. Players attempting to enter Mercy Health Stadium with metal cleats will be immediately disqualified from the workouts.  In addition, there is a strict no seed policy at the stadium, and all tryout participants are not permitted to bring seeds into the facility.

CONNOR PANAS RETURNING TO QUEBEC

The building of a spring training roster continues for the Quebec Capitales. This time, the organization announces the return of Connor Panas, who had been to the 2019 edition of the team for twenty games. It is with an impressive track record that Panas will join the Capitales for a second stay in the Old Capital.

Connor Panas’ run through the affiliate ranks began in 2015 when the Toronto Blue Jays made him their 9th-round pick.  A Toronto native, Panas was drafted following his senior season at Canisius College in Buffalo.  While at Canisius, Panas was named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Male Student Athlete of the Year for 2014 and 2015, an ABCA/Rawlings Division I Third-Team All-American in 2014 and 2015, and a Capital One Academic All-American in 2015.

Panas quickly climbed the minor league ladder with his batting power. In 2016 and 2017, he hit consecutive 16 and 18 home runs at A-level, then high-A. These good performances have earned him a promotion in 2018 to the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Eastern League. The following year, Panas made the leap into the San Diego Padres organization at AAA level. In 401 minor league games, the outfielder hit 52 home runs, drove in 187 runs and maintained a .338 on-base percentage.

After being released in the summer of 2019, Panas joined the Capitales in July. His stint with the Capitales in the summer of 2019 was interspersed with his participation in the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. After the Canadian National Team won a silver medal, he finished the season in Quebec City with more than respectable offensive statistics.

“He has a pretty impressive baseball resume. His statistics in affiliated baseball show a lot of power. We can’t wait to see what he can do with us at the start of a season,” said Capitales’ manager Patrick Scalabrini. Connor Panas will present himself in Quebec City with the status of experienced player.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS ANNOUNCES NEW, LOWER TICKET PRICES FOR 2021

The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they are offering new lower ticket prices, along with full- and partial-season ticket membership plans at new, lower, never-before-seen rates, for the upcoming 2021 season.

With ballpark capacity expected to be reduced this summer due to state COVID-19 guidelines, fans with a ticket membership plan can guarantee their seat for home games at Rent One Park. There are five tiers of ticket membership plans available, starting at $110. Single-game tickets, which will be priced at $5, $8, and $12, will go on sale later this spring based on availability and capacity limitations.

The Miners have also made parking free for the 2021 season, and are also making rounds of mini golf at the Mini Golf Club at Rent One Park free with a game ticket.

Along with introducing these new cost-saving measures, the Miners are also implementing safety and efficiency measures to help make fans feel safe when visiting Rent One Park. Fans will now be able to access their tickets digitally, and mobile food ordering will also be implemented this season. Details on these measures will be announced in the coming weeks.

“On Opening Day, it will have been more than 600 days since our fans have been able to walk through the gate at Rent One Park to enjoy Miners baseball,” Southern Illinois manager/COO Mike Pinto said. “There have been no Friday night fireworks, no walk-off wins, no fans to greet at the gates- nothing but an empty stadium. Our organization is ready for a comeback, and we wanted to find a way to increase affordability so that our fans can return and enjoy their summer with us once again.”

For more information, contact the Miners box office at (618) 998-8499.

The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League’s most-successful franchise since debuting in 2007, winning the 2012 Frontier League Championship as well as division titles in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. They have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception, and also set a new Frontier League attendance record in their inaugural season. In addition, they have sent 59 players to MLB organizations in their 13 years of operation. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.

WILD THINGS, GRIZZLIES COMPLETE TRADE

Last week’s trade between the Gateway Grizzlies and Wild Things has been completed as infielder Brian Sharp, whom Washington acquired by sending right-handed pitcher Clinton Hollon to the Grizzlies, has signed his contract to join the 2021 roster.

Sharp was the 26th round pick of the New York Mets in the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Missouri. He’d go on to play two seasons in the Mets’ organization between short-season A ball and Class A.

In 2018 with the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League, Sharp hit five home runs and drove in 22 runs in 50 games in his first taste of professional baseball. That season, he sported an OPS of .734 (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) while splitting time between third and first base, defensively. Sharp played for the Columbia Fireflies (A – SALL) in 2019 and had 12 doubles, five triples and 11 home runs to go along with 38 RBI.

Now he joins the Wild Things’ roster for manager Tom Vaeth’s first season with the club.

“He’s a plus defender who will solidify our infield defense,” said Vaeth. “At the plate he provides some much-needed left-handed power with the ability to be a run producer.. [We’re] very excited to add him to the Wild Things family.”

For president and general manager Tony Buccilli, Sharp allows the club to continue to do what has recently been done at the corner infield spots.

“There are aspects of Brian’s game we believe we can amplify. He fits the extra-base-centric hitter we typically plug into our corner spots,” said Buccilli. “We continue to build a deep, diverse lineup in hopes we can be as dangerous as possible.”

The news of the trade “surprised” Sharp a bit.

“[I was] a little surprised but also excited. I am looking forward to this opportunity and am eager to join Washington and play this season,” said Sharp. “For this season I want to continue to refine my skills as a baseball player. I want to continue my development and I want to improve and get better every day. Hopefully along the way we as a team can pick up some wins as well. Overall, I am excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to be back on a diamond after a long time away.”

Sharp played three seasons at Missouri from 2016-2018 totaling 158 games. He drove in 73 runs and hit 12 home runs in that time while sporting a slash line of .278/.385/.404.

He said the biggest difference between his experience at Missouri and in pro ball thus far has probably been the competition level, but also the adaption to playing everyday.

“I think playing every day and preparing your body for a full season is a lot different from college. I think I have improved as a player solely because I have played more games and had more at-bats,” said Sharp. “I believe getting game reps is the best way to improve your game.”

According to Sharp, fans can expect a versatile player who will do whatever it takes to help the team win. In other words, a player that will “give 100% every night.”

Sharp and the Wild Things are scheduled to report in May before May 27’s scheduled season opener at the New York Boulders.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League, partner league of Major League Baseball, that plays in Washington, PA. Since their inception in 2002, the Wild Things have won six division titles and earned numerous playoff appearances. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media platforms and website, washingtonwildthings.com. For other inquiries, call the front office at 724-250-9555.

 

TITANS INK BRANDON SHERMAN AND KEVIN CONNOLLY FOR 2021

The Ottawa Titans Baseball Club announced today the signings of left-handed pitcher Brandon Sherman and Outfielder Kevin Connolly for the 2021 season.

Sherman, 25, enters his second season of professional baseball and is coming off a championship performance with the Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks in 2019. The Island Park, New York native was 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in nine relief appearances.

“Brandon Sherman comes to Ottawa highly recommended by our own Cody Mincey,” said Titans Manager Steve Brook. “Sherman features plus stuff from the left side and will compete for a position on our 2021 starting rotation. He’s a young kid with a huge desire to be successful this season and beyond. We are pumped to have Brandon with us.”

A graduate of Nassau Community College, Sherman attended the Ducks open player tryout and received an invitation to spring training. Prior to the Atlantic League, he pitched with the Long Island Black Sox in the Zorrilla League.

Connolly, 26, joins the Titans from the Liberation League’s California Dogecoin, where in 2020, the 6-foot-2-inch Outfielder hit .356 with two home runs and 29 RBI’s in 35 games. Connolly ranked second on the team in average amongst qualified hitters, along with first in slugging percentage (.444), hits, home runs, and runs driven in.

“Kevin Connolly has worked extremely hard to be put in a situation to compete for a position on the 2021 roster in Ottawa,” added Brook. “I first saw Kevin prior to the 2019 season in an open workout – and really liked what I saw. He brings a professional approach to his at-bats and wants to prove that he deserves to play at an elite level. I’m very excited to see what he can do with us this season.”

A graduate of Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska), Connolly will enter his fourth season of professional baseball. In his college days, Connolly notched a 12-game hitting streak, along with ranking second in stolen bases (13) in his Sophomore season.

Connolly has also had stints in the Pecos League and Pacific Association, where he is a career .315 hitter, with eight home runs, 46 RBI’s, and an On-Base Percentage of .406 in 84 games.

The Ottawa Titans are scheduled to hit the field in late Spring of 2021 playing in the Frontier League, a partner league of Major League Baseball.

2019 ALL-STAR ROA BACK WITH WILD THINGS

Today the Washington Wild Things announced right fielder Hector Roa has re-signed for the 2021 season. Roa, who has been with the organization since 2017, is set for his fourth Frontier League season with the team. He was named a Frontier League midseason and postseason All-Star in 2019.

Roa hit a career-high 18 home runs in 2019, his third season with the Wild Things, and drove in a career-best 70 runs in 93 games. He also connected with 21 doubles and six triples while slashing .288/.303/.516. The home run total was tied for the best in the league while his 70 RBI were fourth and six triples second.

In 2020, Roa had six extra-base hits and 12 RBI in 77 plate appearances during pod play.

“Roa continues to be a force in the league and the face of our franchise,” said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. “He provides great positive energy to his teammates and brings his passion for the game to the ballpark daily. We are happy he has made Washington home and we will continue to put him in positions to succeed.”

Roa said the love he gets from everyone in Washington from the staff to the fans and community is a big reason he decided to return and keep playing for the Wild Things.

“[It’s also] the acceptance of the way I am and [the fact that I] can just be myself,” said Roa.

Roa signed as an international free agent with the Astros’ organization in 2012 before spending five seasons in the system. He reached as high a Single-A Quad Cities before coming to Washington. In 2017, he hit 15 home runs and drove in 62. In 2018, he reached double digits in outfield assists with 10 and hit 12 homers with 69 RBI, 11 double and, for the second-straight season, had seven triples.

Then 2019 happened: his best season with the club. He posted the aforementioned numbers at the plate and recorded 16 outfield assists in 90 games.

Now Roa rejoins the Wild Things’ outfield for what he hopes is a championship run in 2021. He and his teammates will report to Washington in May in advance of the May 27 opener at the New York Boulders.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League, partner league of Major League Baseball, that plays in Washington, PA. Since their inception in 2002, the Wild Things have won six division titles and earned numerous playoff appearances. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media platforms and website, washingtonwildthings.com. For other inquiries, call the front office at 724-250-9555.

 

AIGLES ADD POWER ARM TO BULLPEN

The Trois-Rivières Aigles have reached an agreement with pitcher Vlad Nunez. The 23-year-old American, a former prospect for the Chicago White Sox organization, will battle for an important role in the bullpen.

Nunez is a product of the Stetson University Hatters of the Atlantic Sun conference. In 67 innings of work in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, he recorded 73 strikeouts, allowed 36 walks and preserved 14 wins.  His 13 saves in 2019 tied him for the A-Sun lead.

Nunez signed as a non-drafted free agent with the White Sox following his senior season at Stetson.  He saw action in 15 games for the AZL White Sox, recording 35 strikeouts in 29 innings.

“Vlad has a very strong arm. We are talking about a fastball between 90 and 93 miles an hour in addition to a full repertoire of pitches. He has worked very hard over the past few months with major major baseball prospects in Miami. He will be a key element in the bullpen during close games,” said Aigles’ manager Matthew Rusch.

Nunez graduated in 2019 in Communication and Media Studies. He is the son of Vladimir Nunez, a former major baseball pitcher with the Miami Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves.

California Winter League

 

Frontier League Transactions