THUNDERBOLTS HOME STADIUM RENAMED OZINGA FIELD

The Windy City ThunderBolts, Village of Crestwood, and Ozinga are proud to announce that Standard Bank Stadium will officially be renamed Ozinga Field.

The Village of Crestwood and Ozinga agreed to a five-year naming rights deal, which will change the name of the South Side entertainment facility for the first time since 2007.  The ThunderBolts are included in the deal and will incorporate Ozinga into the team’s baseball operations.

“We are excited to partner with Ozinga and are looking forward to hosting our first event of the 2019 season as Ozinga Field on March 2nd” said ThunderBolts General Manager Mike Lucas.  “We are proud to showcase the Ozinga family name to everyone that visits the ballpark for years to come.”

Hundreds of thousands of guests have visited Ozinga Field since it opened in 1999.  In addition to hosting professional baseball, the facility is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer. Throughout that time, it has hosted concerts, community fireworks displays, celebrity events, and more.  The stadium has been improved in recent years with the addition of a video scoreboard, expanded playground, artificial turf, and new protective netting system.

“When we set out to find a new naming rights partner for our ballpark, we wanted a company that shared the community values of Crestwood and the South Suburbs.  With this agreement, I am pleased to say that we have found the ideal partner in Ozinga Brothers” said Village of Crestwood Mayor, Lou Presta.

“We are honored to partner with the Village of Crestwood and the Thunderbolts family,” said Aaron Ozinga, president of Ozinga’s materials and logistics operations. “Our family-owned business is thrilled to be a part in making a fan-friendly atmosphere at the ballpark.”

The ballpark opened as Hawkinson Ford Field and held that name for seven years (1999-2006).  A temporary name change, to Hawk Ford Field, was made to start the 2007 season. This lasted until August of that season, when the park was ultimately renamed to Standard Bank Stadium.  That deal expired after the 2017 season.  Financial terms of the Ozinga Field agreement were not released.

The Ozinga Field name change is effective immediately.  The ballpark signage switchover is in process and is expected to be completed by April.

Ozinga is a fourth-generation family-owned American business in the construction materials and logistics industry. The company has been awarded a Top Workplaces honor by the Chicago Tribune for the past five years.

The Windy City ThunderBolts will open their 20th anniversary season with Brian Smith at the helm on May 9th in Joliet, where they take on the defending league champion Slammers. Smith will manage his first home game on Tuesday, May 14, when the Bolts host the Evansville Otters.  Group tickets of all kinds including suites, picnics, and our famous Glenmark #WinCity Party Patio are on-sale now! Individual tickets for the 2019 season go on-sale Monday, April 1st at 10 am.  Call us at 708-489-2255 for more information or to make your reservation.  The ThunderBolts play at Ozinga Field in Crestwood, Illinois at 14011 South Kenton Avenue.

FORMER RASCAL AUSTIN WARNER ASSIGNED TO CARDINALS STEP CAMP

Former River City Rascals pitcher and current St. Louis Cardinals farmhand Austin Warner has been assigned to the club’s STEP (Spring Training Early Program) camp in Jupiter, FL. The program is designed to give select minor leaguers time with the big league coaching staff, with the possibility of appearing in Major League Spring Training games.

The left-hander pitched for the Rascals in 2016 and part of the 2017 season, before being signed by the Cardinals in June of that year. He quickly worked his way through the Cards’ system, finishing out the 2018 campaign with the (AAA) Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League. In seven starts with Memphis, he went 1-2 with a 4.33 ERA, racking up 35 1/3 innings pitched while striking out 23 and walking 11.

Depending on his performance this spring, the Louisville, KY native will likely begin his season with either the (AA) Springfield Cardinals, or back with the Redbirds. He ultimately looks to become the fifth former Rascal to play in the Major Leagues, joining pitchers Josh Kinney, Joe Thatcher and Brandon Cunniff, along with outfielder Justin Christian.

MINERS SIGN FORMER 2nd ROUND PICK ALEX SANTANA

The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they have signed outfielder/infielder Alex Santana for the upcoming 2019 season.

Originally from La Romana in the Dominican Republic, Santana was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school, and played five seasons in their system. He batted .251 with 14 doubles, nine homers and 48 RBIs in 90 games between Single-A Great Lakes and Rookie-level Ogden in 2015, his last season with the Dodgers, and hit .241 the previous year at Great Lakes with 20 doubles, 13 stolen bases in 18 attempts, three home runs and 27 RBIs across 111 games.

Santana also played in 14 games with the Eastside Diamond Hoppers in the United Shore Professional Baseball League in 2016, his most-recent stateside action before returning to play in the Dominican Republic. The 6’4” Santana, who has played both the outfield and infield as a professional, is the son of former major league shortstop Rafael Santana, who played all or parts of seven years in the big leagues from 1983-90 for the Cardinals, Mets, Yankees and Indians, and won a World Series title in 1986 as the Mets everyday shortstop.

“Alex is coming in with some experience in the Dodger organization and with a big league pedigree,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “His early-round draft selection came from a lot of tools he possesses in playing the game. He brings some pop in his bat, as well as strong flexibility in his ability any of the corner infield or outfield positions.”

Be sure to follow the Miners online at southernillinoisminers.com and on social media as they prepare for the 2019 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.

SWITCHING-HITTING POWER BAT SIGNS WITH WASHINGTON

The Washington Wild Things announced today the signing of OF JJ Fernandez for the 2019 season.

The Puerto Rico native enters the Frontier League after a long road throughout professional baseball. Fernandez was drafted in the 7th round back in 2012 out of the International Baseball Academy by the Minnesota Twins. As a free agent in 2017 he signed with the Sussex County Miners and last year played for the Road Warriors of the Atlantic League.

Since 2016 Fernandez has annually hit 10+ homeruns, driving in 35+ runs. Standing 6’3 and weighing 230 pounds, the switch hitter has shown positive trends in his production. Last season with the Road Warriors he hit 16 doubles, 11 homeruns and plated 37 runs. His homerun and RBI totals ranked second on the club.

JJ has also shown the be a versatile defender professionally. He has made 271 appearances in the outfield, 104 behind the plate and 79 at first base. His flexibility in the field paired with natural power quickly drew the eye of Wild Things’ management.

“Players who can leave the yard 10+ times in a 96 game season are always in demand. Anytime we can add a deep threat, we are going to be aggressive.”, said Assistant GM Tony Buccilli. “JJ was directed to play in older leagues and he performed well. His development might have been stinted slightly because of the learning curve versus ex-Major Leaguers and AAA lifers. He was looking to play in an age appropriate league this season and Washington was a recommended landing spot. JJ will provide us a lot of options defensively but we all agree his bat will be his calling card”, Buccilli stated.

The East Division Champions return to the field as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. In 2018, the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. Season ticket packages, with new-and-improved benefits are now available by calling the box office at 724-250-9555.

COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL COMING TO SPRENGER STADIUM

614 Events, Inc., is proud to bring the first of its kind Country Music Festival to Sprenger Stadium, Avon, OH over July 4th weekend.  Avon Hot Summer Nights Country Music Festival features some of today’s best country music artists!  This all-day music festival will feature award-winning artists Old Dominion, Lee Brice, Colt Ford and Walker Hayes along with up and coming superstars Paulina Jayne and Brandon Lay. Country music is as all-American as baseball, which is why we chose to bring Avon Hot Summer Nights Country Music Festival to Cleveland’s west-side preeminent baseball stadium, Sprenger Stadium, home of the Crushers.  The day will be filled with non-stop country music, great food & drinks and more!  We promise to give country music fans a day they will not soon forget!

Old Dominion released their first full-length album Meat and Candy, which was certified GOLD by the RIAA and hailed a “stellar debut “by Entertainment Weekly and declared “one of the hottest breaking bands in county music” by Vice. The group already has several top selling singles under their belts, including the two-week No.1 “Break Up With Him” (PLATINUM), “Snapback” (GOLD) and “Song For Another Time,” which hit No. 1 the on Billboard Country Airplay and MediaBase charts.  Old Dominion was notably named ACM New Group of the Year, ACCA Breakthrough Group of the Year, AIMP Songwriter Artist of the Year and Music Row Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Old Dominion is currently on their headlining “Make it Sweet” tour, playing to sold out venues around the country.

Lee Brice is a two time CMA/ACM/Grammy Song of the Year nominee who penned the first song to debut at #1 on Billboard’s Country Singles chart (Garth Brooks’ “More Than a Memory”), broken Eddy Arnold’s longest charting single record (56 weeks with his #3 “Love You Like Crazy”) and helped the Eli Young Band onto their first nomination streak, while winning Song of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards (“Crazy Girl”).  According to USA Today, Lee Brice is “One of the finest singer-songwriters country music has to offer today.”

Colt Ford uses his groundbreaking hybrid of country, blues, rock and rap rhythms to entertain crowds of fans across the country.  He has penned #1 smash hits for Jason Aldean (“Dirt Road Anthem”) and Brantley Gilbert’s (“Country Must be Country Wide”).  His latest album, “Love Hope Faith” features such special guests as Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Tyler Farr, Charles and Josh Kelley, Granger Smith and others.

Walker Hayes debut album boom features the RIAA certified Platinum hit, “You Broke Up with Me”, as well as fan favorites “Halloween” and “Beautiful”. Tracks from the album were nominated for Radio Disney Country Favorite Song (“You Broke Up with Me”), CMT Breakthrough Music Video of the Year (You Broke Up with Me”) and AIMP Song of the Year (“Craig”).

Paulina Jayne won the Music Row Magazine Discovery Award for “Love’s Gonna Always Win”. Well know industry professionals have nothing but great things to say about Paulina. Uncle Kracker’s tour manager, Scott McDonald says, “I have seen hundreds of young artists starting out over the years. They either have the drive with limited talent or talent with now real direction. Paulina is one of those rare young musicians that has a hold on both.”

Brandon Lay now signed to EMI Records Nashville, has released his autobiographical debut single “Speakers, Bleachers and Preachers”, which is inspired directly from Brandon’s life. The song spells out right in its title the three chief influences that shaped him. There was always country music on the radio, he played basketball, foot ball and baseball, and his dad spread the gospel on Sundays as a minister.

Friday, July 5th  2:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sprenger Stadium, 2009 Baseball Blvd., Avon, OH 44011.

Tickets sales available beginning February 22nd – 10:00 a.m. at etix.com only. Please note there will be NO ticket sales available at Sprenger Stadium or Crushers Baseball. Ticket prices range from $69 – $150. Additional event information can be found at:
https://www.facebook.com/avonhotsummernightscountrymusicfestival/

FREEDOM STILL WITHOUT PEANUTS MORE THAN 5 YEARS LATER

Five years in, and the Freedom are still proud to lay claim as the first professional baseball team with a ballpark that became allergy friendly on an annual basis, specifically when it comes peanuts.

Peanuts and their place at ballparks recently came back into the news when the Hartford Yard Goats decided to ban them for the upcoming 2019 season, marking the first affiliated club to make such a move. It’s a decision that at face value comes with both push back, but also praise from families that can finally take their baseball loving kids to a game.

“There’s something to being able to take your baseball loving kid to a baseball game,” Kristina King, mother of a child with a severe peanut allergy said during a 2014 interview at UC Health Stadium, the season in which the Freedom’s policy was changed. “This decision by the Freedom opens up a whole new world to my son.”

Countless other personal conversations at the ballpark with similar families to Kristina King, social media messages and emails confirm the gratitude these families now have. Still, the challenge of educating  fans without a family member or friend that suffers from peanut related allergies exist.  “The biggest misunderstanding is the nature of peanut allergies and how they can trigger a reaction,” Freedom VP/General Manager said. “With an intimate venue like ours, purely the cracking of peanuts and the dust going into the air, onto the seats, etc can put fans at danger. Simply having a “section” at the ballpark without peanuts wouldn’t do anything to help most families that face this allergy.”

So a comprehensive, ballpark wide decision had to be made if UC Health Stadium was truly going to be welcoming to families with peanut allergies.

“When we decided to make our ballpark a more inclusive place for fans with serious allergies, we absolutely faced push back because we took something away they perceived as just as integral to the game as bats, balls and bases,” Anderson said. “But that was mostly a knee jerk reaction. The fans that took the time to hear our reasoning, read the stories of joy and thankfulness from families that now could bring their son/daughter to a game for the first time ever, the list goes on, the mindset usually changed or at least came to a place of understanding. It also helps we serve baseball’s best hot soft pretzel.”

While peanuts and Cracker Jack sales have long been associated with the game, the Freedom found them not as important to their fans as the legendary “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” song suggests. Before peanut sales were halted at the Freedom, the team annually sold less than 1,000 bags per season. This represented far less than 1% of sales inside the concession stands. This data made the decision of getting rid of peanut sales even easier.

“I think one of the reasons we didn’t sell many peanuts is they require a great amount of attention to consume. Peanuts generally require sitting, paying attention intently, etc. Here fans rarely sit in their seats long enough to continuously crack them open,” Anderson continued. “Minor league baseball games present so many more things that take your attention away from just the game itself. Minor League games are a complete fan experience all over the park. From the Kids Zone, to talking on the concourse and having a beer with friends, to getting pictures with characters on theme nights, to live music, the list goes on and on of activities that would be prohibitive to the typical peanut eating experience.”

The Freedom will once again be an allergy friendly ballpark in 2019. Peanuts, as well as products containing peanuts, will not be sold at the concession stands. Outside food and beverage is also not permitted to be brought into the stadium.

“It’s virtually impossible to guarantee being a 100% peanut free facility. Ultimately there could be fans that sneak them into any ballpark. But what we have done is to best set up our ballpark so any fan could enjoy America’s pastime without the fear of what could happen,” Anderson continued.

The Freedom open the regular season on May 9 at UC Health Stadium in Florence. The Freedom are members of the professional independent Frontier League, and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY. The Freedom can be contacted at 859-594-HITS (4487) or online at www.florencefreedom.com

KIDS EAT FREE SUNDAYS RETURNING TO WASHINGTON

The Washington Wild Things are proud to announce the return of Kids Eat Free Sundays for the 2019 season. All children ages 12 and under are welcome to register for this free program, offering a free ticket and a free Kids Meal for all 9 Sunday games courtesy of our new partner, The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

For the 2019 season The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School will team up with the Wild Things as the presenting sponsor of the Kids Eat Free program. PA Cyber is one of the largest, most experienced and most successful online public schools in the nation. The tuition-free school is charted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, offering a deeply personalized learning experience through their curriculum guided by accredited educators.

“We couldn’t be happier to have such an engaging partner to present our Sunday program. PA Cyber is so deeply committed to our youth and the families in the Commonwealth, and their core values lined up so perfectly with this initiative. We fully expect this program to grow even larger this season and enrich the lives of those in our community”, stated Assistant GM Tony Buccilli.

In 2018 the Wild Things introduced this program and it quickly became a fan favorite, bringing in thousands of families from around the Tri-State. Final numbers of the program approached the 10,000 mark, with over 1,000 children registering in the first 72 hours.

“This program was in place to strengthen the family bond through quality time together and to grow the game of baseball among the youth. Like it or not, baseball fans are statistically the oldest of all the major sports. It is vital that we do our part to introduce the game casually and create great memories at the ballpark to the next generation”, Buccilli continued. “We do not want finances to ever be a determining factor to children being exposed to sporting events and the lessons sports generally teach. Thanks to our partners at PA Cyber, a family of four can enjoy an all-inclusive day at the ballpark and are not asked to dig deep into their pockets. We aim to remove the financial burden on families for the betterment of the children”, said Buccilli.

Beyond the partnership with PA Cyber, every Kids Eat Free Sunday will be highlighted by kids themed activity or a kids specific giveaway.

“We greatly appreciate all our partners putting their hand in the pile to make each one of these Sundays special. From the characters, to the giveaways, to the level of detail with our entertainment, these days create memories for families that last a lifetime! Pairing our exciting, winning product on the field with this special program will offer an experience kids and families cannot get elsewhere”, Buccilli concluded.

*Kids Membership tickets must be redeemed via phone or by visiting the Box Office/Ticket Window. Tickets cannot be redeemed via online purchase.

**Kids ages 12 and under will once again receive $8 tickets on every non-Sunday home game. This offer will allow children to sit anywhere in the ballpark.

REGISTRATION OPEN FOR FRONTIER LEAGUE TRYOUT CAMP & DRAFT

The 27th annual Frontier League Tryout Camp and Draft will be held on Tuesday, April 23 and Wednesday, April 24 at Joliet Route 66 Stadium, home of the defending champion Joliet Slammers

All 10 Frontier League teams will be represented at the workouts, and scouts from multiple Major League Baseball teams also attend.  Representatives from other independent league participate as well.  Advance registration is available at frontierleaguetryouts.eventbrite.com while walk-up registration will begin at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, April 23.

The workouts officially begin at 9:00 AM on April 23 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 24.  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).

13 tryout attendees have been signed by MLB clubs during the season over the past six years.

“We are excited to bring our Tryout Camp to the Chicagoland area for the first time in 13 years,” commented Frontier League commissioner Bill Lee.  “The recent upgrades to Joliet Route 66 Stadium, highlighted by the new turf playing surface, make Joliet a great facility for our workouts.”

The Frontier League is entering its 27th season in 2019 and features ten teams stretching from Pennsylvania to Missouri and from Kentucky to the Great Lakes.  The Frontier League annually advances the most players to MLB organizations of any of the independent leagues. Over 100 players have signed with MLB clubs since the start of the 2015 season, and 36 former Frontier League players have played in the Major Leagues, 10 seeing MLB action in 2018.

Joliet Route 66 Stadium is located in downtown Joliet, hear the intersection of I-80 and I-55.  For more information, please visit www.frontierleague.com or contact the Frontier League offices at 618.215.4134 or office@frontierleague.com.

IMPORTANT: As per the manufacturer’s warranty for the artificial playing surface at Joliet Route 66 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 Joliet Route 66 Stadium. Players attempting to enter Joliet Route 66 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.

OTTERS BRING BACK CABLE, BEARDSLEY, CULLEN, & GOULD

The Evansville Otters have signed pitchers Tanner Cable and Tyler Beardsley, outfielder Hunter Cullen, and infielder J.J. Gould to contract extensions for the 2019 season.

Cable signed with the Otters in the last week of the 2018 regular season. The Hernando, Miss. native made two appearances, surrendering one run, and striking out four. In Evansville’s FLDS appearance, Cable pitched a combined 5.2 innings, allowing one run, and striking out 10 Washington batters.

“Tanner was able to go right after hitters and put them away,” said Otters manager Andy McCauley. “He showed a lot of moxie down the stretch for us and we felt comfortable using him in the postseason.”

“I’m extremely grateful and excited to be coming back to Evansville,” said Cable. “With a chance at a full season with the Otters, I think I will be able to show a lot on how I can progress, be tough, and come out every single day ready to work.”

Cable played collegiately at Northwest Mississippi Community College and Delta State University. Before joining the Otters, the right-hander spent 2017 with the Gateway Grizzlies, going 4-4 in 32 appearances with a 3.91 ERA and 46 strikeouts.

“He is a plus arm that should figure in a prominent role in our bullpen,” said McCauley.

“I felt better on the mound with Evansville than I have in a long time, and I’m looking forward to making another push toward a postseason appearance,” said Cable.

Beardsley, the Tehachapi, Calif. native, evolved into a solid arm in the Otters starting rotation in the second half of the 2018 season. The right-hander began the 2018 season in the Otters bullpen, making 22 relief appearances. He moved into the starting rotation on July 28, finishing with seven total starts.

“Tyler showed great versatility by throwing in a number of roles for us last season,” said McCauley.

“I’m very excited about coming back for another season and looking forward to competing everyday with the guys this year,” said Beardsley.

Beardsley was 5-8 with a 4.35 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 72.1 innings pitched in 2018.

Beardsley was drafted by the Minnesota Twins organization in the 16th round of the 2016 MLB June Amateur draft out of California State University Sacramento. He spent two years in the Twins organization.

“I’m hoping to have another healthy, strong season on the mound,” said Beardsley. “I learned a lot last year and been working on a few things this offseason so I’m anxious to put them into play this year.”

“We are looking forward to having him back to solidify our pitching staff,” said McCauley.

Cullen, from Newport Beach, Calif., returns to the Otters in 2019 after seeing action in 75 games in 2018, showing a strong defensive prowess in centerfield and swift feet on the base paths.

“Hunter is a plus defender in centerfield and made some outstanding defensive plays for us,” said McCauley. “He also made a lot of progress last year offensively.”

“I’m beyond excited to get another opportunity to continue playing, especially with an organization that helps develop and get athletes to the next level,” said Cullen.

Cullen batted .240 with 11 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs, scoring 38 runs, and swiped 12 bases in 2018. Defensively, Cullen had four outfield assists.

“Hunter is a very capable player and can contribute great things for us this year, and with continued improvement, we could see him position himself higher in the lineup,” said McCauley.

“I am going to come ready to compete every game,” said Cullen. “I got a taste of the competition and what is expected, and I’m ready to perform and not give much away.”

Before joining the Otters, Cullen played for Cal State Fullerton from 2015-17, making three trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Gould was a mid-season addition in the final month of the 2018 regular season for the Otters, settling in at shortstop. Before coming to Evansville, the Sarasota, Fla. native played with St. Paul and Winnipeg of the American Association.

“I’m happy to be back in Evansville and see my teammates, coaches and ballpark staff,” said Gould.

“J.J. showed great defense at shortstop last year, and with the right adjustments offensively, he could be a really big part of 2019,” said McCauley.

In 38 games played, Gould batted .254 with nine doubles, 16 runs and 12 RBIs. Defensively, Gould helped turn 11 double plays.

“I think we did a lot of good things last season, and I think we are all excited to build on that when we kick it off this season,” said Gould.

Gould played collegiately at Jacksonville University before being drafted by the Miami Marlins organization in the 24th round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. He spent parts of two seasons with the Marlins organization.

The Otters will open the 25th season celebration against the Southern Illinois Miners on May 10 at Bosse Field.

To purchase a season ticket or group outing package, call (812) 435-8686 or visit the Bosse Field front office at 23 Don Mattingly Way, Evansville, Ind. The front office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

LEFTY SLUGGER JOINS EAST DIVISION CHAMPS

The Washington Wild Things announced today the signing of OF Alexis Rivera for the 2019 season.

Rivera is no stranger to the Frontier League after playing the past two seasons with the Traverse City Beach Bums. After seeing the Wild Things as an opponent, he was eager to join Washington to chase another East Division title.

In two seasons as a Beach Bum, Rivera drove in 92 RBI and posted a .247 batting average. His best season came in 2017 when he hit .287 with 10 long balls and a team leading 59 runs batted in.

Before his time in Traverse City, Rivera played five seasons between the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Angels. The career .273 hitter hit 24 homeruns and totaled an impressive 159 RBI. Alexis was a heavily sought after free agent in 2017 after hitting .290 for the Angels’ affiliate in Burlington the summer prior. His extensive professional experience is something that Washington valued, expecting it to positively impact the team on and off the field.

“Rivera showed he can be a formidable hitter in this league when healthy. His 2017 campaign is a reflection of the type of player he is naturally”, said Assistant GM Tony Buccilli. “Last season Alexis played through two debilitating injuries. He never was able to fully recover on the DL and his numbers suffered. With his health in order, we expect Rivera to return to an All-Star caliber hitter and a meaningful run producer”, Buccilli stated.

The East Division Champions return to the field as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. In 2018, the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. Season ticket packages, with new-and-improved benefits are now available by calling the box office at 724-250-9555.

LANCE BERKMAN, ISAAC BRUCE STL LEGENDS GAME HEADLINERS

The River City Rascals have announced their third annual St. Louis Legends Game for Saturday, August 3, 2019 at CarShield field featuring former Cardinal Lance Berkman and St. Louis Ram Isaac Bruce. Additional participants will be announced throughout the summer leading up to the event.

Tickets for the STL Legends Game will go on sale Thursday, February 14 at 10:00 a.m. online and at the Rascals Box Office. Reserved seats are $20 and VIP Autograph Experience tickets that include a two-hour autograph session with a reserved seat are $50. Autographs are only available to the first 600 fans that purchase the VIP ticket package and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Gates for the third annual STL Legends Game will open for the VIP Autograph Experience at 3:45 p.m. with reserved ticket entrance beginning at 6:00 p.m. Players will sign autographs from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Fans are encouraged to bring their own items to be autographed with a limit of one autograph per person, per player (no photos or inscriptions allowed). Only fans with a VIP autograph pass ticket will be allowed on the field for the signing session.

The seven-inning celebrity softball game will begin at 7:00. Game worn and autographed items will be available for auction during the game.

Sponsorship Opportunities are also available for the Legends Game. Packages include an exclusive offer to play on the field with the Legends players or coach a base. For information on the STL Legends Game sponsorship packages, contact David Schmoll at 636-240-2287 x242 or dschmoll@rivercityrascals.com.

2019 STL Legends Players

Lance Berkman – Berkman played 15 seasons in Major League Baseball with the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. Berkman won a World Series championship with the Cardinals in 2011. He is a six-time MLB All-Star and also won the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2011.

Isaac Bruce – Bruce played 16 seasons in the NFL beginning with 14 years with the Rams before joining the San Francisco 49ers for two seasons beginning in 2008. Bruce won a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams in 2000 and earned numerous honors throughout his career including four Pro Bowl Selections, one All-Pro selection and his 15,208 receiving yards in his career is fifth all-time.

Please note the following: Only 600 autograph tickets will be available. Limited to one (1) autograph ticket per person, per player. Limited to one (1) autographed item per person. Fans who purchase autograph tickets are not guaranteed to receive any/all autographs with this ticket. Fans are welcome to bring their own items – restrictions to items are subject to players’ discretion.

OTTERS ADD TO FRONT OFFICE STAFF

Heading into the franchise’s 25th anniversary season, the Evansville Otters have announced additions to the team’s front office staff for the 2019 season at Bosse Field.

The Otters announced the hiring of Dana Archer and Kyle Gogo for the 2019 season.

Archer will be an Account Executive for the Otters. Archer is a Bloomington, Ind. Native and graduated from the University of Southern Indiana in 2017. She will be assisting the sales staff this season with a focus in group sales.

Archer loves the community, traditions, and events of Evansville. “I’m most excited to see the fans enjoying the games and to help them have fun,” said Archer.

Gogo will serve as the Director of Operations and oversee the food and beverage departments at Bosse Field. Gogo is from Grand Rapids, Mich. and attended Central Michigan University.

Gogo has spent time with the West Michigan Whitecaps, Richmond Flying Squirrels and the Modesto Nuts. He is excited to return to the Midwest after living in California the past year while working with Modesto.

“I’m ready to hit the ground running, and excited to help make the upcoming season and the Otters’ 25th season a special one,” said Gogo.

The Otters will open the 25th season celebration against the Southern Illinois Miners on May 10 at Bosse Field.

To purchase a season ticket or group outing package, call (812) 435-8686 or visit the Bosse Field front office at 23 Don Mattingly Way, Evansville, Ind. The front office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

BOOMERS SIGN FORMER TORONTO PROSPECT

The Schaumburg Boomers, presented by Wintrust Community Banks, have added to their roster for 2019 by signing right handed pitcher Connor Eller.

Connor Eller will be entering his first season with the Boomers after spending the past three years in the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system. Eller was selected by the Blue Jays in the 22nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Ouachita Baptist University, which is located near his hometown Little Rock, Arkansas.

After being drafted in 2016, Eller was assigned to the Blue Jays advanced-rookie ball club in Bluefield, West Virginia. During his time with the Bluefield Blue Jays he appeared in 17 games and posted a 4-2 overall record and a 2.60 ERA in 34.2 innings pitched. In those 34.2 innings pitched he struck out 33 batters and held opposing hitters to a .186 batting average in his rookie campaign. In 2017 and 2018 Eller split time between the Class A affiliate Dunedin Blue Jays and the Class A-Advanced Lansing Lugnuts, while also starting one game for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. The right hander’s minor league career stats with the Blue Jays include a 13-14 overall record with a 4.19 ERA.

Eller was not only an active player on the baseball field, but was also an active player in the community as he was awarded the 2018 Dunedin Blue Jays Community Service Award. This award is given to the Blue Jays player who best represents the team’s commitment to enriching the Dunedin community through a variety of outreach program that promote education, healthy lifestyles, and charity. Eller represented the Blue Jays in the community through numerous appearances away from the ballpark encouraging local children and showing support for local families.

The Boomers 2019 season, presented by Wintrust Community Banks , begins May 10. The Home Opener is Tuesday, May 14 vs. the Washington Wild Things.

Season ticket packages and group and hospitality offerings for the 2019 season can be reserved by calling (847) 461-3695 or emailing info@boomersbaseball.com. Single game tickets will go on sale Monday, April 1 at 10:00 AM.

CLEVELAND COMETS TO PLAY 12 GAMES IN SPRENGER STADIUM THIS SUMMER

The Cleveland Comets Women’s Professional Fast-Pitch Softball Team will play 12 of their 24 home games at Sprenger Health Care Stadium in Avon next Summer. The agreement with the Stadium’s primary tenants, the Lake Erie Crushers, will provide for Comets games in June and July.

“We are extremely proud to announce our continued partnership with the Lake Erie Crushers and Sprenger Stadium”, stated Comets GM Steve Dunn.  “Our mission is to provide an exceptional fan experience, in combination with the world’s most elite talent in the game of fastpitch to the Northeast Ohio community. We strongly believe that Sprenger Stadium gives us the ability to deliver that to our fans, and hopefully for years to come!”

Two separate homestands are scheduled for 2019. The Comets will play six games starting Wednesday June 12th through Sunday June 16th. They will return for another six-game stand in July, starting Tuesday July 9th through Sunday July 14th.   For a complete schedule of Cleveland Comets games and game times you can visit their website at https://clevelandcomets.us/

Comets Co-Owner Bernie Kosar added, “Sprenger Stadium is an incredible venue! After seeing the success that the Comets had in Avon last season, I feel confident that this community will show up to support our amazing athletes each and every night.”

“We are so excited to have the Cleveland Comets playing 12 games at our ballpark in 2019”, stated Crushers Co-Owner Jacqueline Kramig. “The west-side has been home to some great high school and youth softball teams over the past couple of years, and we think fans will really enjoy seeing the Comets play this summer in Avon.”

Individual tickets for Cleveland Comets games will go on sale in April, however group outings are now being booked through the Lake Erie Crushers Ticket office. To book your Group Outing just contact the Crushers at 440-934-3636 or email the Team at info@lakeeriecrushers.com

The Lake Erie Crushers are located in Avon, Ohio and play in the Frontier League of independent professional baseball (www.frontierleague.com). For more information, you can contact the Crushers at 440-934-3636, visit our website at www.lakeeriecrushers.com, or email info@lakeeriecrushers.com

DODGERS’ FARMHAND FROM STATE COLLEGE INKS WITH WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things announced today the signing of OF Saige Jenco for the 2019 season.

Jenco was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2015 in the 27th round, then by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 24th round the following year. He spent three seasons with the Dodgers before signing with Washington as a free agent.

The outfielder played his college ball in the ACC as a member of the Virginia Tech Hokies. He hit over .300 in all of his years in Blacksburg totaling 26 doubles, 66 RBI and stealing 42 bases.

Professionally Jenco split time between Ogden, Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga for the Dodgers. In his 205 games played he collected 178 hits, 37 doubles, 56 RBI and snagged 47 bases. Defensively, Jenco has played all 3 outfield spots but he is likely to make centerfield his home in Washington.

“We have been very fortunate to have the caliber of outfield play we have had recently. Just within the past two years; 4 starters in the All-Star Game, 2 Post Season All-Stars, a Fran Riordan Citizenship Award winner and a Frontier League MVP.” said Assistant GM Tony Buccilli. “Saige knows he was brought in here to be a part of that standard. He has been very eager to take on that responsibility and we believe it will reflect in his play. We will look for his energy, speed to be a constant factor offensively and defensively”, Buccilli stated.

The East Division Champions return to the field as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. In 2018, the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. Season ticket packages, with new-and-improved benefits are now available by calling the box office at 724-250-9555.