2020 Season Long, Weekly Promotions Announced

Crestwood, IL – It is never too early to think baseball!  Your Windy City ThunderBolts are gearing up for the 2020 season and are excited to announce this summer’s season long, weekly promotions!  Our theme night schedule, including live-music entertainment, will be announced in the coming weeks.  

· Value Tuesdays with $2 Tickets & $2 Hot Dogs – Two great deals on Tuesday night as all box seats and hot dogs cost just $2 each! (deal not valid for 10:35 am day games)

· Win it Wednesdays, with FREE tickets to Seniors & Military – All Seniors 55-years of age and older get a free ticket to all Wednesday night home games. (senior deal valid for 7:05 pm games only. free tickets available on the day-of-the-game at the box office only…just walk up!)  Also veterans & active military receive two tickets to all Wednesday and Sunday home games during the 2020 season. (Just walk up to the ballpark box office on the day of any Wednesday or Sunday home game and show your military ID)  Finally don’t forget that when the ThunderBolts win on Wednesdays, the fans win too!  If the ThunderBolts win any Wednesday night game, your game ticket becomes a voucher that can be exchanged for a free additional ticket to any other 2020 ThunderBolts home game! (Ticket holders for ThunderBolts win on 10:35 am School or Splash Days are not valid for exchange…night game wins are valid for exchange only)

· Thirsty Thursday with $1 Beer & Postgame Pro Wrestling Show – We will be serving $1 Retro 12 oz Beers, $2 Regular 16 oz Draft Domestics and $3 Craft Beers all night long!  Also, White Castle returns as our presenting sponsor for the fantastic 1-hour postgame wrestling show! (promotion not valid for 10:35 am day games)

· Firework Fridays – Fireworks are back on Fridays and each will feature a special theme!  Also we are bringing back that spectacular combo deal for Fridays only!  Get 2 upper level seats, 2 hot dogs, and 2 beers/sodas/waters for JUST $20.  This deal is available on-line and MUST be purchased BEFORE the date of the game.  All themes will be announced at a later date.

· Firework Saturdays – Fireworks and a special theme will once again highlight Saturday nights in Crestwood this summer! All themes will be announced at a later date.

· JULIE, Inc. Family Sundays – For a new price of JUST $39, families will receive 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 chips, 4 sodas, AND 4 hats! On top of the affordable ticket option, families will be able to enjoy various family themed entertainment; such as magic shows, bubble shows, petting zoos, animal shows and more. Entertainment schedule will be announced at a later date. Also veterans & active military receive two tickets to all Wednesday and Sunday home games during the 2020 season. (Just walk up to the ballpark box office on the day of any Wednesday or Sunday home game and show your military ID)  Finally after the game, all fans will have the opportunity to run the bases, get autographs from their favorite ThunderBolts and play catch in the outfield!

The ThunderBolts begin their 2020 Season at home with two 10:35 am School Days on May 14th & 15th before we celebrate our formal “Opening Night” on Saturday, May 16th in Crestwood at Ozinga Field.  The night will feature special pregame ceremonies and our famous SUPER MEGA Postgame Fireworks SPECTACULAR.  Group tickets of all kinds including suites, picnics, and our popular Glenmark #WinCity Party Patio are on-sale now! Individual tickets for the 2019 season go on-sale Monday, April 6th at 10 am.  Call us at 708-489-2255 for more information or to make your reservation.

NEW JERSEY JACKALS NAME GIL ADDEO GENERAL MANAGER

Little Falls, NJ – The 2019 Can-Am League Champion New Jersey Jackals have named Gil Addeo General Manager. Previously serving as the club’s Group Sales and Event Coordinator, Addeo is the fifth General Manager in team history. His duties will include general oversight of the entire operation including sales, community relations and being a liaison to the Frontier League.

“Gil Addeo is an outstanding professional, and I’m excited to have him move into his new position as General Manager,” New Jersey Jackals President of Baseball Operations Greg Lockard said. “He has excelled at every level within our company, and this promotion is well deserved.”

The 2020 season will mark Addeo’s third season with the Jackals where he has risen through the ranks. While attending Montclair State University in January 2018, he joined the organization as a Sales Associate Intern and handled various duties ranging from analyzing and developing sales and marketing materials to working in season ticket sales and customer service. Last year he was promoted to Group Sales and Event Coordinator. While flourishing in the new role which encompassed group sales and sponsorship sales and working in game day operations, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management in May 2019.

“Playing in the Frontier League is a game-changing opportunity for the New Jersey Jackals. We’re playing on a bigger stage now, and Gil Addeo is the right person at the right time to be our General Manager,” New Jersey Jackals Owner Al Dorso Sr. said. “Gil brings a perfect blend of creative passion and analytical thinking to the table, and I can’t wait to see how he leads our organization to draw more fans and make the Jackals an even more alluring community relations and business partner.”

Addeo has ambitious plans for the team this season. The organization is putting significant muscle behind all areas of community relations to both develop new ties while maintaining existing healthy relationships with local towns, schools, charities and summer camps. These activities will range from player and Jack the Jackal visits to a planned robust slate of community awareness nights at Yogi Berra Stadium this summer. Addeo has already created several exciting new programs to enhance the team’s family-friendly atmosphere. The organization has also aggressively expanded its sales force to grow its group sales efforts while coming up with new in-stadium vehicles to attract new marketing partners.

“I always knew that I wanted to work in baseball and working for the Jackals felt right the moment I started my internship. I am humbled and grateful to Greg Lockard and the Dorso family for entrusting me with this once in a lifetime opportunity,” Addeo said. “I’m counting on our talented staff to answer the challenge of expanding our loyal fan base and strengthening relationships with Montclair State University and all our neighboring communities. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt if we can win a second consecutive championship.”

The New Jersey Jackals journey westward to begin its first season in the Frontier League on May 14, 2020, against the Florence Y’Alls followed by a weekend three-game set against the Southern Illinois Miners. The Jackals return to “The House That Yogi Built” for the home opener on Friday, May 22 against the Quebec Capitales. Future announcements about the 2020 season promotion schedule and single-game ticket availability will be made soon.

Otters bring back Cullen, Almonte, Norkus and Wilkesfor 2020

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters will be bringing back outfielder Hunter Cullen and pitchers Abraham Almonte, Trace Norkus, and Brandon Wilkes for the 2020 season.

Cullen has spent two seasons with Evansville. In 2019, he saw his batting average increase from his first season from .240 to .261. He also had increases in runs with 43, doubles with 12, home runs with eight, RBIs with 34, and stolen bases with 16.

“Hunter worked extremely hard last offseason and worked with some advanced hitting coaches,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “I think he got stronger and understood the game a little better.”

“I hope I continue to show power, but I’m really working this offseason on using the whole field at the plate,” Cullen said. “My goal is to not give up as many at-bats and really increase my on-base percentage.”

“With his speed, he needs to commit to a two-strike approach,” McCauley said. “If he can, he will become a top of the order player and very appealing to affiliated teams.”

Cullen’s outfield defense also highlighted his 2019 season, making diving catches and wall-climbing snags to rob home runs.

“Out in the field, I have the confidence and thinking that if anything comes my way, it’s going to be caught,” Cullen said. “I do a lot of self-talk in the outfield but try not to overthink because keeping it simple is better.”

Before Evansville, Cullen played collegiately for Cal State Fullerton from 2015-17 after beginning his collegiate career at Saddleback College in 2014. As a senior in 2017, Cullen hit .251 and finished with eight doubles, two triples and six home runs. He appeared in 127 games for the Titans in his career and stole 11 bases.

Almonte joined the Otters last season after spending two years in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. In 2019 with the Otters, Almonte recorded 13 strikeouts and a 4.38 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched and 14 appearances, missing the middle part of the season due to injury.

“Last year I learned that everything happens for a reason and everything is in God’s hands,” Almonte said. “Now I am thankfully healthy and have taken a lot time preparing specifically for the Otters and this season.”

“I am hungry and thankful for this opportunity.”

“It was a frustrating and disappointing season for Abraham last year with the lingering injury, but we’ve received really great news about his offseason progress,” McCauley said.

Almonte is from Danbury, Conn. and was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 26th round of the 2017 MLB June Draft. He pitched for the Missoula Osprey and the Kane County Cougars in his two seasons in the organization.

“We look forward to seeing a healthy, dominant Abraham for us at the back end of the bullpen,” McCauley said.

“My goal this season is to continue being the dominant pitcher I know I can be and who the people and coaches around me know I can be,” Almonte said.

Almonte played collegiately at Philadelphia University, and was the first Philadelphia University player drafted since Shaun Babula in 1999 by the Chicago White Sox in the 16th round. Almonte averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings at Philadelphia University. On April 3, 2015 vs. Lincoln (PA), he threw the school’s first no-hitter since 1999.

Norkus signed with the Otters in August 2019 and recorded a 1.93 ERA with seven strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.

“During the stretch run of last season, I took away that winning is fun, and it makes the game better and more relaxed,” Norkus said.

“This season, my goal is to just be a go-to guy that the team can rely on and help win. I also want to strive to have a 3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio or better.”

“In a small sample size, we liked what we saw from Trace last season to want to bring him back,” McCauley said. “His college numbers were dynamic, so we’re hoping to see some of that come spring.”

Norkus wrapped up his senior season at the University of North Florida last spring. During his senior campaign, he posted a series of career bests as a senior, turning in the best numbers of tenure in: ERA (2.86), appearances (23), games started (two), saves (six), innings pitched (34.2) and strikeouts (42).

“For my short time with the Otters last season, I learned that being around a great group of players and coaches in the clubhouse really impacted the way we played out on the field,” Norkus said.

“Having good chemistry is vital to any team sport and it shows. Hopefully, this 2020 season we’ll come out on top with a championship.”

Wilkes is from Holly Hill, Fla. and joined the Otters in June 2019. Wilkes saw limited action due to injury in 2019, picking up two strikeouts in his lone appearance, but says he learned a lot from last season by sitting back and observing all aspects of the game.

“I’m excited and feel very good heading into this season,” Wilkes said. “My arm is back to full health.”

“Brandon put in hard work and showed persistence throughout the summer, earning him a spot in Spring Training,” McCauley said. “He could’ve gone home at any point but stuck it out and grinded with his rehab.”

Wilkes played collegiately at Bethune-Cookman University. In his senior season, he had five saves and led the team with a 2.04 ERA, .202 opponents’ average, and 11.72 strikeouts per-game. He registered 46 strikeouts to 11 walks in 16 appearances and 35 innings.

“We weren’t comfortable rushing him back to the mound last year,” McCauley said. “With a full offseason, we will hopefully see what Brandon can really do.”

“My goal for this season is to stay healthy all year,” Wilkes said. “If I stay healthy, I think the stats will take care of themselves.”

Evansville will host Opening Night from Bosse Field against the Gateway Grizzlies May 15 at 6:35 p.m. Preseason exhibitions will begin May 2 for the Otters. The annual Education Day games will be May 6 and May 13 at 10 a.m.

You won’t want to miss what’s new in 2020 at Bosse Field with the Evansville Otters, featuring some new Frontier League competition as part of the largest, independent professional league in North America!

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.

Otters sign two from California Winter League; ink Gangwish and Pastora

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters have signed left-handed pitchers Neil Lang and Justin Lewis out of the California Winter League and inked catcher Michael Gangwish and right-handed pitcher Steve Pastora for the 2020 season.

Lang signed with the Otters while playing winter baseball in the CWL for the Manitoba North Stars. So far during the winter league season, the left-hander has made two starts, logging a 5.00 ERA in seven innings pitched. He has also struck out nine batters.

Otters bench coach Boots Day discovered Lang while managing him in the CWL.

“Before I got out here, Andy (McCauley) told me about Lang after hearing good things from multiple scouts and to have an eye on him,” Day said. “I watched him throw a side session so we could see for ourselves, and everything matched with what we had heard.”

“I am very excited to have signed with Evansville and could not be more grateful for the opportunity to be an Otter this season,” Lang said.

Lang, from San Ramon, Calif., has pitched at the independent level in 2018 and 2019, first for the Monterey Amberjacks in the Pecos League and then for the San Rafael Pacifics, Napa Silverados, and the Salina Stockade in the Pacific Association. Overall in his career in independent baseball, Lang has six wins, a 5.30 ERA, 21 starts, and 117 strikeouts in 132.1 innings pitched.

“He has three good pitches, can throw strikes and pitch ahead in the count,” Day said. “His change-up is great and has a decent breaking ball that he can throw over for strikes just like his other pitches.”

“Neil was really excited when we offered him the contract with the Otters, feeling some relief earning a professional contract.”

“I am looking forward to doing whatever I can to help the team win a championship,” Lang said.

Also pitching for the Otters’ Day in the CWL with the North Stars, Lewis has recorded a 4.42 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 6.1 innings and two starts.

“We wanted to sign Lewis pretty quickly, as he’s been the talk of the California Winter League,” Day said. “Everybody wants him with several teams from multiple leagues here, and there’s been multiple scouts in the stands watching his outings.”

“I’m very excited to be a member of the Otters,” Lewis said. “I’ve been training very hard for my next opportunity in professional baseball, and I’m looking forward to helping the team win games.”

The Burbank, Calif. native was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 28th round of the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft and spent two seasons with the organization.

Lewis pitched for the Arizona League Dodgers and the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League between 2017 and 2018. Overall, Lewis was 2-1 with a 6.08 ERA in 31 appearances, recording 54 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched.

“Justin has a power arm, hitting 93-95 in velocity, and he has a decent change-up and a breaking pitch that can be unhittable and a wipeout pitch,” Day said. “Working with pitching coach Max Peterson, who is also a lefty, will help him improve to be more consistent with the secondary pitches.”

“He’s committed to put the work in and ready to be an Otter.”

“I expect to work out of the bullpen, but I can also start if needed,” Lewis said. “I’m a hard worker, and I’m always looking for ways to learn and improve my game.”

The southpaw played for Cornell University at the college level.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about this organization, and I’m hoping to be a part of something special in Evansville this year.”

Gangwish is from Albuquerque, N.M. and will be joining the Otters for his rookie season.

The catcher played college baseball at the Colorado School of Mines and closed his career as Mines’ all-time home runs and RBI leader. He also received numerous all-region, all-conference, and all-America honors.

“Michael contacted our league office and was then brought to our attention,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “We then did our research and was intrigued by what we gathered.”

“We received good reports from contacts we know that saw him play in college and have been following his production this winter in Australia.”

“I’m excited for the opportunity to play in Evansville and help the club win in any way I can,” Gangwish said. “I believe that it will be a great fit, and I’m looking forward to playing at historic Bosse field.”

For his college career, Gangwish batted .354 in 162 starts and 174 games played, while scoring 153 runs, hitting 45 doubles and 46 home runs, recording 186 RBIs, and posting a .426 on-base percentage. Defensively, Gangwish had 153 assists and sported a .983 fielding percentage.

“Michael’s offense and catching ability caught our attention after we received good reports from our college contacts that he played against,” McCauley said. “They were convinced he was a draft-worthy player.”

“We feel his receiving ability will translate to the Frontier League and if he can make the adjustment to wood bats, he should see considerable time behind the plate.”

“I pride myself in being a defensive catcher first, working hard every day to make myself the best catcher I can be,” Gangwish said. “As a hitter, I am aggressive in my zone and look to capitalize when pitchers make mistakes.”

Pastora is from Sacramento, Calif. and brings with him two seasons of professional experience, having a stint with the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association in 2018 and with Rocky Mountain Vibes of the Pioneer League and affiliate of the Milwuakee Brewers organization in 2019.

“Steve was recommended to us by the Brewers organization and other scouts who saw him,” McCauley said.

“I’m ready to compete and do it every day no matter what,” Pastora said. “I’ll be ready to take food away from hitters every night.”

Pastora did not allow a run in three appearances and three innings with the Wingnuts in 2018. The right-hander logged a 2.37 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 14 appearances and 19 innings pitched in 2019 with the Vibes.

“The reports on Steve have been great, describing him as a power arm capable of a setup or closing role,” McCauley said. “We can see him being similar in style to Danny Hrbek from last season.”

The righty concluded his collegiate career in 2018 at William Jessup University, an NAIA school in Rocklin, California. He’s been a position player his whole life, including at the college level.

Pastora said after a couple injuries to his non-throwing shoulder due to sliding and diving, he was faced with a decision to change positions in the field or become a pitcher.

“After a short stint as a closer at the beginning of the college season because of a misdiagnosis, I went back to hitting when I transferred to William Jessup,” Pastora said.

Then after his senior season, Pastora said he realized pitching was his best option moving forward with his baseball career and going into his second full year as a pitcher.

“I’ve always been super athletic my whole life, so I figured why not give it a chance on the mound since I love this game so much, and here I am today,” Pastora said.

“I’m excited to have an organization that believes in me and wants to help me be the best I can be.”

Evansville will host Opening Night from Bosse Field against the Gateway Grizzlies May 15 at 6:35 p.m. Preseason exhibitions will begin May 2 for the Otters. The annual Education Day games will be May 6 and May 13 at 10 a.m.

You won’t want to miss what’s new in 2020 at Bosse Field with the Evansville Otters, featuring some new Frontier League competition as part of the largest, independent professional league in North America!

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.

For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call (812) 435-8686.

Wilds Things Bring WPIAL Star Home

WASHINGTON, Pa. (Jan. 31)-The Wild Things continue with their roster construction as they announced today the acquisition of LHP Tommy Shirley from the New York Boulders.

The Pittsburgh native graduated from Norwin High School as one of the most prolific WPIAL players of recent memory. As a senior for the Knights in 2007 he was 7-1 with a 0.97 ERA and awarded the WPIAL MVP. After committing to play his college ball at Xavier University, Shirley was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 9th round following his junior campaign where he made 15 starts and struck out 98 batters in 96 innings.

With the Astros Shirley quickly climbed the system ladder, gaining prospect notoriety. In 2014 he was selected as both a Mid and Post Season Double-A All Star for Corpus Christi. While in the Texas League for the Hooks, he shined with a 1.88 ERA starting 13 games. Shirley went on to make 21 starts between Triple-A Oklahoma City and Fresno before being claimed by the Detroit Tigers. In 2019 he made 10 starts for the New York Boulders, throwing 57 innings and retiring 43 via strikes.

“We are excited to give Tommy the opportunity to come home. Being a Pittsburgh kid, playing in Washington was a priority for him,” said General Manager Tony Buccilli. “He is eager to show that he can still be that front-line starter he was profiled as. We greatly value his mound experience and the resume of high-level starts he accumulated over the years. To add one of Western Pennsylvania’s most successful professionals to our roster should create a buzz within the community but also strengthen the depth of our rotation,” Buccilli stated.

The Wild Things take to the field as they open the season Friday, May 15 vs. the New York Boulders, with the home opener slated for Tuesday, May 19 to take on the Quebec Capitales at Wild Things Park.

MINERS RE-SIGN RIDINGS FOR 2020

Marion, IL (January 30, 2020) – The Southern Illinois Miners announce that starting pitcher Steven Ridings has re-signed with the team, adding to their pitching staff for the 2020 campaign

Though he was limited due to an arm injury in 2019, when the Harwood, Maryland native took the mound for the Miners, he dominated the competition. In six starts, Ridings posted a 1.86 ERA in 29 innings, striking out 24 and walking just six while also allowing only 17 total hits last season, his first full year with Southern Illinois.

The right-hander was originally acquired in a trade from the Schaumburg Boomers in 2018, and between the Boomers and Miners, he went 9-7 with a 3.92 ERA in 21 games (20 starts), striking out 115 and walking only 36 in 124 innings. He was the Boomers’ opening day starter that season, and his 115 strikeouts ranked second in the Frontier League behind only Windy City’s Zac Westcott, who coincidentally has also signed with Southern Illinois for the upcoming campaign. His nine total victories also placed him inside the league’s top-five that year.

“I am grateful to be coming back to Southern Illinois again for another season, and I appreciate all the effort Mike (Pinto) has put in to make me want to be here,” Ridings said. “I hope that we can take that next step to win a championship.”

Prior to his time in the Frontier League, the 25-year old was a 29th-round draft selection by the Seattle Mariners in 2016, pitching two years in their system after a successful collegiate career at Division-III Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

“We are very happy to have Steven back,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “He has worked hard to recover from his injury this offseason, and we have certainly seen that he has the capability to be among the best starting pitchers in the league. His return could make a big impact for us this year.”

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.

 

Nine Members of Former Rascals Joining the Grizzlies in 2020

SAUGET, IL – The River City Rascals announced on August 12th, 2019 that they were going to cease operations, ending their run that began in 1999. The Rascals responded by winning the Frontier League Championship in 2019, a fitting end to what was a sad story for the community of O’Fallon, Missouri. While the Rascals are no more their legacy in the Frontier League is still present in the St. Louis area. The Gateway Grizzlies spring training roster will include former Rascals manager Steve Brook as well as eight members of the 2019 Frontier League Championship team.  What was once a cross town rivalry has become a partnership to build a new legacy within the Frontier League.

 

Former Rascals turned Grizzlies:


Steve Brook – Grizzlies Pitching Coach

During his tenure, Brook lead River City to a record of 542-415 (.566).  The Rascals brought home the Frontier League title twice over the course of Brook’s regime (2010, 2019).  Under Brook, the Rascals finished with a record under .500 only once. River City appeared in the Frontier League championship six times during that span.

 


 

Pitchers- (2019 Statistics)


Taylor Purus – 1-2, 2.70 ERA, 29 games

Purus, a left-handed pitcher from Hudson, North Carolina spent his first professional summer pitching out of the bullpen for River City.  Before entering the Frontier, League Purus pitched two years at Western Carolina University where in his short time there amassed 186 strikeouts over two seasons.

 


Jason Zgardowski – 2-1, 2.38 ERA, 30 games

Zgardowski, a right-handed pitcher from San Antonio, Texas spent his college career at Angelo State University.  Signed as a free agent in 2014 by the Philadelphia Phillies, Zgardowski spent two years in the Phillies system before being released.  The River City Rascals signed Zgardowski who impressed in his first Frontier League stint leading to another major league opportunity with the St. Louis Cardinals, making it Double-A Springfield.

Zgardowski returned to the River City Rascals in 2018 and become a key piece of the Rascals bullpen in 2019.


Austin Dubsky – 1-1, 3.00 ERA, 8 starts

Dubsky, a right-handed pitcher from Omaha Nebraska spent his college career at Murray State University. Dubsky made his debut in the Frontier League in 2017 with the Southern Illinois Miners pitching 27 games mostly out of the bullpen.  In 2018 and 2019 Dubsky won a total of 11 games before being moved midseason to the River City Rascals. Dubsky started 8 games for the Rascals going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA.


 

Position Players- (2019 Statistics)


INF Trevor Achenbach – .259 BA, 14 HR, 45 RBI

Achenbach, a NAIA start Oklahoma Wesleyan University where he compiled a .476 batting average that included 21 home runs, 86 RBI, 10 doubles, and six triples his senior season.

Achenbach made his Frontier League debut with the Lake Erie Crushers in 2017 where he appeared in 12 games. Moving on to the River City Rascals, Achenbach thrived in 2018 and 2019 as a key contributor for the 2019 Frontier League Championship team.


INF Andrew Penner – .285 BA, 4 HR, 45 RBI

Penner, a utility player from Frazier Park California, played his college ball at California State University of Bakersfield before making his professional debut with the River City Rascals in 2019.

Penner was a versatile player playing both the outfield and catcher for CS Bakersfield.  In Penner’s senior season he led his team in multiple offensive categories including batting average, runs, hits and slugging percentage.  Penner’s versatility has continued at the professional level playing both the outfield and shortstop for the Frontier League Champions in 2019.


OF Nick Anderson – .242 BA, 10 RBI, (2 HR in playoffs)

Anderson, a Sugarland, Texas native played his college ball in state at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. 2019 was Anderson’s first professional season playing 50 games for the River City Rascals.

Anderson’s biggest impact came in game 3 of the Frontier League Championship Series where he hit a walk off homerun against the Florence Freedom.


OF Kameron Esthay – .267 BA, 8 HR, 45 RBI

Esthay, a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 26th round of the 2017 MLB Draft.  Before entering the minor leagues Esthay spent three years at Baylor University where he had a career .303 batting average.

Esthay spent two years in the Nationals minor league system before joining the River City Rascals in 2019 where he appeared in 92 games.


Catcher Tanner Murphy – .221 BA, 6 HR, 25 RBI

Murphy, a native of Poplar Bluffs, Missouri was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 4th round of the 2013 MLB Draft.  Murphy spent seven seasons in the Braves system moving all the way up to AAA Sacramento before being released by the organization in 2018.

Murphy signed with the River City Rascals in 2019 where he played in 66 games, providing stability behind the plate. Murphy’s affiliated experience will be an asset to the young staff of the Grizzlies heading into 2020.


The Gateway Grizzlies have found themselves at the bottom of the Frontier League for the past five seasons.  The addition of the Rascals players will likely be a new beginning for the organization, with the leadership of Steve Brook along with current 500-win manager Phil Warren the Grizzlies should be in for an exciting 2020 season.

 

Photo Credit: Gateway Grizzlies

JOLIET SLAMMERS RE-SIGN PITCHER RYAN KOZIOL AND INFIELDER RILEY KRANE

JOLIET, IL — The Joliet Slammers have re-signed infielder Riley Krane. During the 2019 Riley had a 1.00 fielding percentage at 1st base, .881% at 3rd base and .991% in right field. He also held a .280 batting average and .399 slugging percentage with 22 walks and 6 stolen bases. Riley is excited to see new and returning fans during the 2020 season. We look forward to having him on the team again!

The Joliet Slammers have also re-signed right-handed pitcher Ryan Koziol. During the 2019 season Ryan only gave up 5 walks in 44 innings and had more strikeouts than innings pitched. He also had a low era of 1.21 and led the league in saves with 23. As a past member of the team, Ryan is also happy to claim the title of best video game player on the team. Prior to joining the Slammers, Ryan played for the San Francisco Giants minor league team from 2015-2018.

About the Joliet Slammers: The Joliet Slammers play at DuPage Medical Group Field in downtown Joliet, Illinois, and are members of the professional, independent Frontier League.  The Frontier League is entering its 28th season of play in 2020. It is the largest independent professional league with 14 teams spanning from the Mississippi River to the East Coast.

BOOMERS PITCHING COACH JOINING TIGERS ORGANIZATION

SCHAUMBURG, IL – The Schaumburg Boomers presented by Wintrust Community Banks, are pleased to announce Tony Smith has been hired by the Detroit Tigers organization. Smith will head to the Double A Erie SeaWolves as a player development coach.

Smith has been part of the coaching staff since 2016. He started out as a bullpen coach and then took over as pitching coach at the beginning of the 2017 season. Additionally, he pitched for the 2014 Boomers team that won the Frontier League Championship.

His 2014 season as a player saw him pitch in 24 games mostly out of the bullpen. He posted a 6-2 record with a 3.27 ERA over 57.2 innings pitched and 37 strikeouts.

Under the guidance of Smith the Boomers pitching staff has been outstanding. The 2017 season saw the pitching staff help lead the Boomers to 66 wins (franchise record) and a third Frontier League Championship. The 2019 pitching staff posted the lowest ERA in franchise history and finished the year with six shutout victories. Additionally, three different pitchers won Frontier League Pitcher of the Week honors.

“While we don’t like to lose a talented coach like Tony, we are excited to see him continue his career in the MLB affiliated system”, said General Manager, Michael Larson. “Tony is a great leader on and off the field and we greatly appreciate everything he has done as a player and a coach with Schaumburg Boomers. We wish him the best of luck.”

The Boomers 2020 season, presented by Wintrust Community Banks, begins May 14. The Home Opener is Friday, May 22 vs. Trois-Rivieres Aigles.

Season ticket packages and group and hospitality offerings for the 2020 season can be reserved by calling (847)-461-3695 or emailing info@boomerbaseball.com.

Otters to Have 2020 Preseason Tryouts

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters will host a Frontier League preseason tryout Saturday March 21 at Bosse Field.

This workout serves as an open tryout for players who are seeking an opportunity to sign a professional contract for the 2020 season. Only the first 100 players to sign up will be accepted.

Registration can be done online at http://www.ondeckbaseballlafayette.com/.

The event gives each player a chance to showcase their talents in front of Frontier League managers and coaches. The Joliet Slammers and Evansville Otters will be represented at the Evansville tryout.

“Joliet and Evansville both put great emphasis on these tryout camps,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said.

Registration fee for each player is $75 and players can register online at ondeckbaseballlafayette.com.

Tryouts start at 9 a.m. Position players can check in from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and pitchers can check in from 11:30 a.m. to noon (all times CT).

Players from outside the area can find discounted lodging at Comfort Inn and Suites on the corner of Lynch Road and Highway 41 by calling and mentioning “otterstryout.” For more details about the hotel discount and to make reservations, call (812) 423-5818.

The rain date will be March 22 and if there is inclement weather both days, the tryout will be moved to an indoor facility.

The Otters will also have a tryout in Allentown, Pa. Saturday April 4 starting at 9 a.m. from ECTB Stadium at Bicentennial Park. Position players can check in from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and pitchers can check in from 11:30 a.m. to noon (all times ET).

“These tryout camps have been successful in previous years as evidenced by the signing of 13 players from these two preseason camps the last three years,” McCauley said.

The Joliet Slammers and Evansville Otters will be represented at the Allentown tryout.

That tryout is $100 per player and you can also register for that event at ondeckbaseballlafayette.com.

The rain date for that tryout will be April 5 and if there is inclement weather both days, the tryout will be moved to an indoor facility.

The Frontier League is a professional, independent baseball organization located in the Midwestern and Northeastern United States. It operates mostly in cities that are not served by Major or Minor League Baseball teams and is not affiliated with either. The league formed in 1993 and is the oldest active independent league.

To be eligible to play in the Frontier League, you must be at least 18 years old.

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.

For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call (812) 435-8686.

Frontier League Awards 2020 All Star Game to Washington Pennsylvania

Washington, PA  – The Frontier League announced today that Washington, PA has been awarded the Frontier League’s 2020 All Star Game.  The All Star week celebration begins July 13 with the game being contested on Wednesday July 15.

“The Frontier League is extremely pleased to have our 2020 All Star Game in Washington, Pennsylvania,” said Frontier League Commissioner, Bill Lee. “Given the addition of the new teams, it becomes imperative that the premier event of the league be first class.  We selected Washington, PA and the Washington Wild Things because we know, from experience, they will create an extraordinary event.”

The Frontier League and the Can-Am League announced a merger in the fall of 2019, making the Frontier League the largest independent baseball league in the country.  Washington, PA was chosen as the site of that announcement. The league includes teams from Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ontario and Quebec.

“We are honored to be selected for the first-ever All Star Game of the newly expanded league,” said team owner Francine Williams.  “For years, the Wild Things have been the team furthest East in the Frontier League, but with the expansion, we have become the geographic center of the league.  This will be the third time that Washington has hosted the All Star Celebration.”

Jeff Kotula, President of The Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency added, “We are delighted that Washington, Pennsylvania has been selected to host such a prestigious event.  We are very proud of our community and excited to provide a world-class experience for visitors in Washington County.” 

More information about the All Star festivities will be issued in coming weeks.  “As soon as the details are finalized, we will share them with our fans, our sponsors, and our media partners,” added Williams.  “I’m confident that this event will surpass everyone’s expectations and will showcase Washington County as the special community it is.”

 

Former ThunderBolt Assistant Changes Sox

SAUGET, IL – The Chicago White Sox announced a plethora of organizational hires this offseason. Among them included former Windy City ThunderBolts assistant, Devin DeYoung. 

Article courtesy of Mike Rankin

DeYoung spent his 2019 as an assistant hitting coach and primary catching coach for the Boston Red Sox minor league system. He spent time with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, among other affiliates within the organization. 

As a member of the White Sox, DeYoung was assigned to the Double-A Birmingham Barons as an assistant. The Saint John, Indiana product will join a local organization for the second time in his coaching career. 

“I’m very excited to be entering the White Sox Organization,” DeYoung said. “It’s a dream come true to join my hometown club. The Organization is moving in a positive direction and I’m honored to be a part of it.” 

Before his affiliated experience started, DeYoung earned a playing contract with what was then the Rockland Boulders of the CanAm League. He transitioned as an assistant coach soon thereafter. Following time in the Northwoods League as a hitting coach, DeYoung joined the Windy City ThunderBolts in 2017, where he spent two seasons with the club. 

“The Frontier League was a crucial stepping stone in my career,” DeYoung said. “I enjoyed my time at Windy City. I’m forever indebted to the organization for giving me an opportunity to coach. It’s exciting to see the merger happen as my first job was with the Rockland Boulders. I’m looking forward to watching the league continue to develop.” 

The Frontier League is a prime destination for athletes who are committed to taking the next step in their professional careers. Above all, the Frontier League provides opportunity and keeps competitive dreams alive. 

“There is definitely a need for Independent Baseball,” he went on to say. “I’m proud to come from Indy ball. It has allowed so many guys an opportunity to create a career. It’s a first and last chance destination. It creates successful people who are willing to do whatever it takes to make their dream happen.” 

The Frontier League kicks off its 29th season on May 14, 2020. The 14-team league is the largest in the independent baseball landscape. 

 

BOULDERS ADD FORMER LSU TIGER BROUSSARD TO FOLD

Rockland County, NY – The New York Boulders of the Frontier League announced today the signing of former Louisiana State University second baseman Brandt Broussard. Broussard is expected to compete for a starting job either in the outfield or third base for the Boulders.

“From a very young age it was always a dream of mine to play professional baseball,” Broussard said. “I’m incredibly excited to get that opportunity with the New York Boulders.”

He continued, “I’ve heard nothing but good things about the organization and am excited to pursue a championship with them.”

Broussard, 24, played two seasons at LSU (2018-2019) and appeared in 106 games over the two years with the Tigers, starting 97, mostly at second base. In 2019, he graduated with a BA in General Business.

During his two seasons at LSU, Broussard was named to the 2019 SEC All-Tournament Team, 2019 SEC Academic Honor Roll and made the 2018 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll.

In Broussard’s two years at LSU, the Tigers went 79-53 and qualified for the NCAA tournament in each season. In 2018, the Tigers were eliminated in the double-elimination Corvallis, OR, regional by host Oregon State, who handed LSU both losses; while, in 2019, after winning the regional, the Tigers lost twice to Florida State in the super regional in Baton Rouge and were eliminated.

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. More information and the complete 2020 schedule can be found at www.frontierleague.com.

The Boulders open the 2020 season on Thursday, May 14, traveling to face the Sussex County Miners before hosting the Washington Wild Things to start a nine-game homestand at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 15. Season tickets and packages for the 2020 season are now available – for more information call 845-364-0009 or slide to NYBoulders.com

MINERS WELCOME BACK NOLAN EARLEY

Marion, IL  – The Southern Illinois Miners announce that Nolan Earley will return to the club for the 2020 season, further solidifying a veteran hitting corps for the upcoming year.

Earley will enter his fourth season with the Miners, having previously been their every-day right fielder from 2016-18. In those three seasons, the Anderson, Indiana native batted .278 in 286 games (missing only two contests total), and amassed 283 hits, 64 doubles, 33 home runs, 158 RBIs, and 146 runs scored, along with nearly as many walks (153) as strikeouts (163). In his debut season with the club, he set career-highs in batting average (.291), runs scored (53), hits (103), and RBIs (70) while helping the Miners to their most-recent division championship and playoff berth. Two years later, he set career benchmarks in doubles (a Miners team-record 28), walks (57), and home runs (13) as he continued to be an every-game fixture in the lineup.

The 28-year old spent last season with the Milwaukee Milkmen in the American Association, clubbing 12 doubles and seven homers with 27 RBIs in 75 games.

“I’m excited to come back and play for the Southern Illinois Miners,” Earley said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of a great team and an even greater community this season. My goal is to help contribute as much as I can to try and bring a championship back to Southern Illinois.”

Earley, who is one half of the only sibling tandem in Miners history along with his older brother Michael (2015), will also enter 2020 as the Miners’ all-time leader in career walks. In addition, he ranks second in franchise history in games played, tied for second in doubles, third in home runs, fourth in hits and RBIs, and fifth in runs scored.

“Nolan is as reliable a player to have worn the Miners uniform,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “He starts the season ready to play, and is consistent with his daily performance both offensively and defensively. Nolan had played an excellent right field for us for three seasons while delivering quality at-bats with some power thrown in. We are so glad to gave him back with us this season.”

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.

 

BOULDERS TO HOST TEAM ISRAEL OLYMPIC BASEBALL TEAM

Rockland County, NY (Jan. 23, 2020) – The New York Boulders announced today the Team Israel Olympic Baseball team will play two exhibition games at Palisades Credit Union Park this July as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics.

On July 13, the Israeli team will face off with the host Boulders at 7 p.m. The following morning at 11 a.m., the Israeli squad will face the NYPD’S Finest Baseball Team.

Because Team Israel finished in the top five in the 2019 European Baseball Championship, it earned the right to participate in the 2020 Olympics qualifiers. That round robin tournament took place in Italy, Sept. 18-22, 2019. As the winner of that tournament, it qualified to be one of the six national teams that will compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. As host country, Japan automatically qualified.

In addition, two teams qualified through the 2019 WBSC Premier12 tournament in November 2019. Mexico qualified as the best team from the Americas, and South Korea qualified as the best team from Asia or Oceania (other than already-qualified Japan).

Another team from the Americas will qualify through the Americas Qualifying Event March 22–26, 2020, in Arizona. The last spot will be awarded to the winner of the Final Qualifying Tournament April 1–5, 2020, in Taipei City.

Tickets for the exhibition games will go on sale on Monday, March 2. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Israel Baseball Association to help offset their Olympic expenses and help grow the sport of baseball in Israel.

“He added, “We hope that the neighboring Jewish community will come out in mass to proudly show that Am YisraelChai.” We thank Shawn Reilly and the New York Boulders for hosting Team Israel as we begin our preparations for the Tokyo Olympics,” Israeli Association of Baseball president and general manager Peter Kurz said. “In light of the recent anti-Semitic attacks in the United States and especially in Rockland County, we are proud to be there, wearing the blue and white uniforms with Israel across our chests and with the Magen David proudly displayed.”

Boulders’ team president Shawn Reilly said, “We are pleased to host Team Israel as the Olympics are one of the world’s great sporting events and Team Israel is sure to be one the great storylines of Tokyo. Sports are great way to unify communities and by hosting Team Israel we hope that we are can contribute to the healing of our community while enjoying some great baseball.”

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This year’s Team Israel team will possess a local flavor with Westchester County resident Eric Holtz as the teams’ manager. Additionally, Yorktown Heights native Jonathan deMarte, 26, is also expected to represent Israel.

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Team Israel also lists a trio of former MLB players on this year’s roster – catcher Ryan Lavarnway and infielders Ty Kelly and Danny Valencia.
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A catcher, Lavarnway, 32, played for six major league teams over a career that spanned 2011-19. Kelly, 31, saw time with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies between 2016-18, while Valencia, 35, logged time with six teams from 2010-18.

To be eligible to represent a country at the Olympic Games, a person must hold citizenship in that land.”It is very exciting to have the Israeli National Team playing in Palisades Credit Union Park,” said Town of Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht. “They are the surprise team of the Olympics and we are honored that this Miracle Team will play here in our beautiful world class facility, Palisades Credit Union Park, just two weeks before competing in the Olympic Games.”

The Boulders open the 2020 season on Thursday, May 14, traveling to face the Sussex County Miners before hosting the Washington Wild Things to start a nine-game homestand at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 15.

Season tickets and packages for the 2020 season are now available – for more information call 845-364-0009 or slide to NYBoulders.com

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After their games in Rockland, Team Israel will continue their pre-Olympic tour with expected stops in Pawtucket, RI, as well as Boston, Baltimore and Washington, DC.
California Winter League

 

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