UPMC to Sponsor the 2020 Frontier League All-Star Game and Festivities

Washington, PA (February 12, 2020) – The Washington Wild Things, host of the 2020 Frontier League All Star Game, is pleased to announce that UPMC will be the presenting sponsor for the annual classic. In the last year, UPMC contributed $1.2 billion in community benefits to the communities it serves, including $343 million in free and subsidized community health programs, events and contributions — supporting services that may otherwise not be available. UPMC goes far beyond the traditional definitions of health care in supporting healthy activities in many diverse communities in the region.

“The Frontier League All Star game not only provides a healthy atmosphere for families and friends to gather to enjoy the game of baseball, but also helps boost local businesses. UPMC shares the Washington Wild Things organization’s commitment to the community with partnerships like this event,” said Brian Hagen, Vice President Operations – UPMC Sports Medicine Services and UPMC Centers for Rehab Services.

“UPMC has, for years, been a great partner of the Washington Wild Things,” said Steven Zavacky, Executive Director of Sports Facility, LLC. “We appreciate UPMC’s involvement in the All Star Week festivities. We couldn’t have partnered with a better organization.”

Players, fans, friends, and family will visit Washington County for a week of baseball and celebration in July.  “We are working with area hotels, restaurants, and entertainment facilities to ensure that all of our guests enjoy everything that the region has to offer,” added Zavacky. 

Additional information about the All Star Game and many associated activities will be issued over the next few weeks.

Tickets for the 2020 UPMC All Star Game will go on sale in April.  For more information, log on to www.washingtonwildthings.com or call the office at 724.250.9555.

 

ANNUAL FRONTIER LEAGUE TRYOUT CAMP & DRAFT APRIL 27-28

SAUGET, IL – The 28th annual Frontier League Tryout Camp and Draft will be held on Monday, April 27 and Tuesday, April 28 at the Lake Erie Crushers’ stadium in Avon, Ohio.

All 14 Frontier League teams will be represented at the workouts, and scouts from multiple Major League Baseball teams also attend.  Representatives from other independent leagues participate as well. Advance registration is available at frontierleaguetryouts.eventbrite.com while walk-up registration will begin at 8:00 AM on Monday, April 27.

The workouts officially begin at 9:00 AM on April 27 and will feature a 60-yard dash, 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 April 28. At the conclusion of the games, action will break for 30 minutes as clubs and prepare for the draft.  

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 appeared in the Frontier League’s All-Star Game. Several draftees have gone on to be signed by Major League Baseball organizations, with four draftees 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 Bill Lee.  “Our clubs take this event very seriously as they look to complete their spring training rosters, and with five new teams joining for the 2020 season we will have more opportunities for players to be signed.”

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.

Crushers Stadium is located 20 miles west of downtown Cleveland at exit 151 off I-90.  Spring training for Frontier League teams begins on Thursday, April 30 with the regular season opening on May 14.

 

IMPORTANT: As per the manufacturer’s warranty for the artificial playing surface at Crushers 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 Crushers Stadium. Players attempting to enter Crushers 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 hopefuls, and fans watching, are not permitted to bring seeds into the facility.

 

BOULDERS MAKE BOULD FRONT OFFICE MOVES

Rockland County, NY (Feb. 10, 2020) – The New York Boulders announced today that Seth Cantor has been named Vice-President of Business Development, while Julianne Trainor has been promoted to Director of Brand Marketing.

A Rockland County native now living in nearby Congers, Trainor is in her third season with the organization and is a 2012 graduate of Clarkstown North High School, where she was a three-sport athlete – soccer, basketball and track. She is a 2016 graduate of Syracuse University and in 2018 she earned her Master’s Degree in Sports Communication and Media from Iona College in New Rochelle.

In her new position, Trainor will handle regional marketing for the Boulders, as well as fan engagement.

Meanwhile Cantor, who was an original member of the front office, expands his role in business development while also continuing to serve as the well-known broadcast voice of the Boulders.

“A business is only as good your people” said Boulders President Shawn Reilly “and we are very fortunate to have Julie and Seth, two of the very best in the industry!”

“With the teams new regional marketing initiative after the move to the Frontier League and name change to New York Boulders; Julie and Seth will both be playing a pivotal role in bringing the Boulders brands to new fans and corporations thru-out the metro New York area” said Boulders Assistant General Manager Megan Ciampo.

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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About the New York Boulders and Bottom 9 Baseball, LLC
The New York Boulders are entering their 10th season of Professional Baseball as part of the newly-formed Frontier League and are in pursuit of a post-season appearance for the seventh straight year. Founded as the Rockland Boulders in 2011, the franchise rebranded as the New York Boulders in advance of the 2020 season. In 2014, the Boulders won the Can-Am League Championship and hosted the Frontier vs. Can-Am All-Star Game in 2019. Proud to be part of the rich history of professional baseball in the New York City region, during the 2017 season the team welcomed its 1,000,000th fan to Palisades Credit Union Park located in Rockland County, NY. In 2012 and 2014, Rockland was named the Can-Am’s “Organization of the Year.” The Boulders are owned and operated by Bottom 9 Baseball, LLC (B9B), a sports and entertainment company comprised of former executives from all levels of major and minor league sports. B9B is committed to providing superior customer service and quality, affordable family entertainment experiences for the New York Metropolitan area, Lower Hudson Valley and northeast New Jersey. Slide to www.nyboulders.com for more information.

Miners Hire Eric Minshall As Pitching Coach

Marion, IL (February 7, 2020) – The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they have hired Eric Minshall to be their pitching coach for the 2020 season. He replaces Tyler Martin, who had been the pitching coach for the last two years, and who left the team due to scheduling conflicts with his college team.

Minshall spent last season as the pitching coach for the Bristol Pirates, a rookie-level affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Appalachian League. The Pirates’ pitching staff posted a 4.09 team ERA under his watch, which ranked fourth in the league and was just 0.04 runs behind the third-place team.

The Ohio native has over 20 years of coaching experience. Prior to his time with Bristol, he served for five seasons as the pitching coach at Miami University Hamilton in Hamilton, Ohio. While he was there, he helped lead the Harriers to 170 wins and three straight Ohio Regional Campus Conference titles from 2016-18. Minshall also owns the Cincinnati Throwing Club, an acclaimed pitching performance center designed for biomechanics and kinetic development of young athletes.

“First, I would like to thank COO and manager Mike Pinto, ownership, and the front office for giving me thisopportunity,” Minshall said. “The championship legacy that has been established here is second to none. My family and I are excited to join the Miners organization. I will work diligently to have a positive impact on our pitching staff, and I am eager to hit the ground running in pursuit of a championship in 2020.”

“Eric is going to have a big impact on our team and staff this season,” Pinto said. “We had almost 200 inquiries for the position, and looked at some very good candidates along the way. Eric kept jumping out as the leading candidate- the people I spoke with in the Pirates organization gave me very high marks on his work ethic, knowledge, and care for the players he works with. The extensive interview process we went through confirmed he was the perfect guy for us. We are excited to have him and his family joining our Miners Family, and to work together toward a Frontier League Championship 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.

Otters sign Phillips, Arias, Wetrich and Adams to extensions

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters have signed catcher Dakota Phillips, pitcher Anthony Arias, and infielders Tanner Wetrich and Jacob Adams to contract extensions for the 2020 season.

Phillips, a Nacogdoches, Texas native, joined the Otters after spending 2018 with the New York Bucks of the independent Empire Professional Baseball League. In 2019, Phillips batted .233 with 24 runs, 15 doubles, seven home runs, 32 RBIs and 21 walks in 64 games played.

“Last year was good for me, as it showed me what I needed to improve on this offseason to become the best hitter and player I can be,” Phillips said.

“At the plate, if Dakota can commit to a two-strike approach to cut down on the strikeouts, I think we’ll see more consistency from him offensively,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said.

Phillips split his playing time last season defensively at catcher and first base.

“Being able to play more than one position helps, but I look to stay healthy and be behind the plate more this season,” Phillips said.

“I think just getting a year under his belt will be big for Dakota, as he showed big improvements behind the plate and became very comfortable at first base,” McCauley said.

Phillips also said working with and catching big league players this offseason has helped him improve his approach to the game, going into this season with a better mental approach.

“I want to do whatever I can to help the team bring another championship back to Evansville,” Phillips said.

Phillips played collegiately at Tennessee Wesleyan for his senior season. With Tennessee Wesleyan, Phillips hit .353 with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs. Phillips also had 17 doubles, 38 runs, and 29 walks.

Arias is from Morro Bay, Calif. and joined the Otters in June 2019. In 2019, Arias went 2-2 with a 4.56 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 25.2 innings pitched and nine appearances.

“Last season, I really liked pitching with a solid defense behind me,” Arias said. “When you trust who is behind you, pitching is that much easier.”

Arias was a left-handed reliever out of the bullpen, while also making a few spot starts last season for the Otters.

“Anthony had some great appearances for us last season,” McCauley said. “His ability to start, bridge the gap, and face left-handed hitters is an asset to the staff.”

“I like starting or relieving each for different reasons, but I want to be an asset to the staff and team in any way that I can,” Arias said.

Arias played collegiately at Campbellsville University for his senior season. During his senior campaign, Arias was 6-3 with a 3.78 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 64.1 innings pitched and 12 starts.

Wetrich, from Lake St. Louis, Mo., signed with the Otters in July 2019. With the Otters, Wetrich batted .227 with 11 runs, seven RBIs, and nine walks in 22 games.

“Tanner is a solid defender at second, shortstop and third, and he will be vying for a starting job in the infield,” McCauley said.

“Last season, I took away that it’s just important to stay focused every day,” Wetrich said. “Even on the days when you don’t feel great, you still have to be focused and get the job done.”

Before signing with the Otters, Wetrich also spent time in 2019 with the River City Rascals of the Frontier League. With the Rascals, Wetrich batted .357 with five hits, two runs, an RBI and had a .471 on-base percentage in six games.

“Tanner had some big hits for us last season but will look for more consistency at the plate this year,” McCauley said.“This season, I want to help put our team in a position to win every night and improve every day in whatever way that might be,” Wetrich said.

Wetrich played two seasons collegiately at the University of Iowa, where he batted .251 with 49 runs, 12 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 39 RBIs, 32 walks, and had a .359 on-base percentage in 87 games played.

Adams, a Conway, Ark. native, joined the Otters in June 2019. Adams saw limited time in 2019 with the Otters due to injury, appearing in four games.

“Jacob will be in the mix at the infield positions, and we look forward to seeing him healthy in Spring Training,” McCauley said.

“Watching the game last season after my injury made me want to enjoy every opportunity I get to play that much more,” Adams said.

Adams finished his senior season at the University of Mississippi before joining the Otters. During his senior season, Adams batted .222, 45 starts and 56 games played. He had 24 runs scored, 19 RBIs, a .365 on-base percentage, and 27 walks.

“Jacob is a tough, hard-nosed defender that has shown some pop at the plate,” McCauley said.

“I want to do whatever I can to help the team win games,” Adams said. “I’m looking forward to competing every day to 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.

NANUET’S KELLY TIRED OF WINTER AS HE ANXIOUSLY AWAITS BOULDERS’ DEBUT

Rockland County, NY (Jan. 26) – Like oil and water, baseball players and winter do not mix.

One of the newest members of the New York Boulders, Nanuet’s Colin Kelly is already sick of the cold weather, snow and everything else that is associated with the winter season. The 26-year-old righthanded pitcher, signed this past October by the Boulders, though, has not let that hamper his preparation for his initial campaign with the Frontier League team.

“I can’t wait for the weather to break, to be able to get outside and throw and get the season started – I am pumped,” said Kelly, who was the first post-merger signing by the Boulders after the team and four other former Can-Am League franchises merged into the Frontier League. “I don’t like the winter – don’t like anything about it.”He added, “I just wish it was warm and I could be outside and throwing and getting ready.”

A 2011 graduate of Nanuet High School, Kelly played collegiately at Catholic University in Washington, DC. After three solid seasons to kick off his career at Catholic, a freak injury sidelined him in 2016. “I got hit with a line drive and broke some ribs,” Kelly said. “I missed the whole year and it drove me crazy because I couldn’t do a thing – couldn’t pick up a ball, couldn’t touch a glove. That was the toughest part – just sitting around and watching.”

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He returned to the mound in 2017 to wrap up his career at Catholic with a 16-10 record along with one save, serving as a starter and reliever. Graduating with a degree in accounting, Kelly decided to forego the business world for the world of professional baseball. Over the last two-plus years, he has pitched for several independent league teams, including the Frontier League’s Gateway Grizzlies.

“I mean, I always wanted to play professional baseball,” said Kelly, who stands 6’4” and weighs in at around 200-pounds. “Accounting or baseball? I think I rather have a bit of fun and play baseball for a while. My sights were always set on professional baseball.” He continued, “When I was two years old, I picked up a glove and fell in love with baseball and knew that I wanted to someday play pro ball. Then, when I was in college at Catholic, one of my teammates – he was a senior when I was a freshman – signed on with the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization. So, from that time on, I knew that, even though I was playing D-3 college ball, I could still get the chance to play pro ball.”

Playing with the Boulders, though, is really a dream opportunity for Kelly, who was signed by the team shortly after excelling at a workout in Massachusetts that was witnessed by head scout Kevin Tuve, who is also charged with leading the player development department of the Boulders. “He (Tuve) came up to me after the throwing session and asked me if I wanted to play for the Boulders,” Kelly recalled. “I was like, yea, why not? Hometown team, why wouldn’t I want that.” He continued, “There were a bunch of other guys up there that teams spoke to and, since they weren’t giving out contracts right away, theywent on and talked to a bunch of different teams. I just shut it down after (Tuve) spoke to me – I knew where I wanted to go.”

Immediately after the talk with Tuve, Kelly had to tell his parents. He knew they would be excited, however he did not expect the reaction he got from his mother, Maria. “My mother was always upset when I would leave for baseball and have to travel,” Kelly said. “Even when I left for school, she would get upset, so, I figured she would be happy that I was signing with the Boulders and would be staying home.” He continued, “Well, at first, it didn’t go as expected. She really thought that I was messing with her. She didn’t believe it at first – it took some time for me to convince her that I was telling her the truth and thatI was staying home.” Kelly added, “Dad (Tom) was good right from the start. He could tell that I wasn’t messing with her. Now they both can’t wait for the games to start. My friends can’t wait either. I am going to have a lot of people at the games this year.”

Preparing for the upcoming season, Kelly has been working out in Stamford, CT. Included in his regimen are throwing sessions two to three times per week. “I just started throwing, the goal is to build up arm strength and be ready to go off a mound by mid-March,” said Kelly, who lists a fastball, curve, slider and change-up in his repertoire. “I am more of a sinker type pitcher,” Kelly said. “No four-seam fastball for me.”

After that, it will be training camp with the Boulders beginning May 4 at Palisades Credit Union Park.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet that I am a Boulder and that I will playing at home,” Kelly said. “I remember when the stadium was being built and it seems that was all everyone was talking about. I didn’t get the chance to play there when I was in high school, but I did get the opportunity when I was in my freshman year in college when we played in a tournament there.”

He continued, “I don’t know what it is going to be like the first time I put on that uniform and get out on the field for real. I know it is probably going to be amazing – who doesn’t want the chance to play for their hometown team.”
Kelly does not know what role Boulders’ manager Kevin Baez has in mind for him.

“I will do either – start or relieve – whatever they decide for me,” Kelly said. “I do like relieving, though, better. I like not knowing when I am going to work, but, being down I the bullpen, I am always involved in the game. I watch the hitters during the game and pick up what they like to hit, what they struggle with.”

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

GETTING TO KNOW THE REAL COLIN KELLY

Favorite professional baseball team (besides the Boulders): New York Yankees (of course.)
Favorite baseball players: I liked James Shields, Mike Mussina. I stole my fastball grip from Chien-Ming Wang. I took my delivery from Shields and my curveball from Mussina.
Favorite sport besides baseball: Football. I am a huge Jets’ fan. We have tickets to the Jets.
Favorite non-baseball athlete: New Orleans Pelicans and former Duke basketball standout J.J. Reddick. Favorite dinner: Steak, I guess.
Go-to late night snack: Peanut butter sandwiches.
Future vacation spot: I’d like to go to Italy – really, I would like to go all around Europe.
If you had one superpower it would be: Teleportation. Why not? I hate driving, so I could get wherever I want easier.

Trois-Rivières Renew Stanton, Gladu, among moves

The Trois-Rivières Eagles have renewed the contract of a first player for the 2020 season. The manager, TJ Stanton, agreed with the local product and outfielder, Raphaël Gladu. The 24-year-old will return for a second season with the Birds. When he started in the independent network, he maintained a batting average of 0.302 and slammed 21 doubles. He also dominated the team’s RBI column with 64 in just 69 games.   “I am very happy to start building a winning team with a talented and character player like Raphaël. He is also a very involved person in the community, which is very important to the organization, “said Stanton.   Gladu is a 16th round pick from the New York Mets at the 2017 draft. In 486 batting appearances in affiliate baseball, mostly at level A, he has maintained a batting average of 0.251.

The Trois-Rivières Eagles have confirmed the return of first baseman Juan Kelly for a second season. It will be the first time in history that the Birds will bet on a certain stability on the first cushion. Kelly, 25, maintained the Eagles’ best batting average last summer with 0.321. In 221 batting appearances, he slammed 13 doubles and 10 homers in addition to maintaining an interesting ratio of walks and strikeouts, 34 against 37 respectively “Juan is possibly the most exciting player in this league and I expect him to be among the finalists for the title of player of the year. You will understand that he will be a key member of our team, “said the manager of the Eagles, TJ Stanton. The 2019 season was Kelly’s first in the independent network after seven years in the Toronto Jays’s organization between rookie and AA.

The Trois-Rivières Eagles hired the Dominican Yeison Santos. The 19-year-old reliever has played the past two seasons at the rookie level in the Pittsburgh Pirates network. In 87 innings and a third in affiliate baseball, he maintained a 2.58 earned average. There is a ratio of a little less than a strikeout per pitch, but most of all very few walks and granted circuits.   “Santos was recently released. He’s a player with huge potential. It’s also great to be able to bet on a rookie player with affiliate baseball experience. His agent, whom I know very well, has confirmed to me that the young man is very excited about playing with the Eagles this summer, “said manager TJ Stanton.   It will be Santos’s first time with a Canadian background.

The Trois-Rivières Eagles announce the departure of Alexandre Béland from the position of head coach at the Junior Elite level. This decision was made by Alexandre for professional reasons. Last summer, in his only season at the helm of the Junior Eagles, Béland maintained a record of 19 wins against 25 losses. In the playoffs, his squad lost in the first round in five games against Charlesbourg.   The Eagles organization thanks Alexandre for his involvement as a player and coach in recent years.


	

Grant Black’s Contract Purchased by St. Louis Cardinals

Sauget, IL– Grizzlies relief pitcher Grant Black, who spent the last two seasons with the club has had his contract purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals

Black is the second former Grizzlies reliever to sign with an MLB organization during the offseason, making him the 48th player to sign an affiliated contract in Gateway’s 20 year history.

In 51 appearances out of the bullpen last year, Black posted a 1-6 record with a 2.40 ERA. Black struck out 65 while only walking 16 last year.  He also added 9 saves which was second on the team.

The Newport, Arkansas native debuted with the Grizzlies in 2018 where he emerged as the team’s primary closer.  He became a workhorse and fixture of the Grizzlies’ bullpen in 2019.

Phil Warren, Gateway Grizzlies’ Field Manager, said of Black, “He’s always been a hard worker and is very deserving of this.”

Black joins fellow 2019 Grizzlie reliever Geoff Bramblett in the affiliated ranks.  Bramblett signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier in the offseason.

 

ABOUT THE GATEWAY GRIZZLIES: The Gateway Grizzlies are a professional baseball team, located a mere 100-yards from I-255 (10 minutes from downtown St. Louis). The Grizzlies offer baseball fans entertainment, the likes of which are difficult to find – affordable, family, fun in the comfortable GCS Credit Union Ballpark with a great view of the St. Louis skyline. For tickets or general information please visit gatewaygrizzlies.com or call 618.337.3000.

ABOUT THE FRONTIER LEAGUE: The Frontier League is a professional, independent baseball organization. Since its inception, the Frontier League has provided millions of fans to a fun and exciting baseball experience within the American Midwest. Consisting of 14 teams in two divisions and 96 game schedules, the league is recognized for the amount of talented athletes that are picked up by various MLB teams every year.

BENNETT BRINGS BACK KEY OUTFIELDER AND ALL-STAR CATCHER

SCHAUMBURG, IL – The Schaumburg Boomers presented by Wintrust Community Banks, have re-signed Clint Hardy and Nick Oddo.

Outfielder Clint Hardy returns for his third season with the Boomers. Hardy was a regular in right field appearing in 82 games last season. He had 78 hits in 299 at-bats, good for an average of .261 with a career high eight home runs. In addition, the Evans, GA native flashes the leather in right field having only three errors in his first two seasons.

“Clint is entering his third season of pro ball and has shown glimpses of what he is capable of. He is a very strong and athletic player that we think is on the verge of a breakout season,” said Manager Jamie Bennett.

Nick Oddo returns for his fourth season with the Boomers. Oddo was selected as a both a 2019 Frontier League All-Star and Post-Season All-Star at the catcher position. He played in 83 games in 2019 and hit .274. His defense was on display all season with 548 putouts good for second in the Frontier League at the catcher position.

“We are happy to have Oddo back with us for a fourth season in Schaumburg,” said Manager Jamie Bennett. “He brings so much to this club. Nick puts in a lot of time with the pitching coach and pitching staff to help this club. We think his bat is really starting to come around and know he will provide some valuable experience for us this season.”

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.

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.