GRIZZLIES ADD FOUR NEW PLAYERS TO THEIR 2017 ROSTER

Pitchers Javier Reynoso and Jake Guilianelli, Catcher Louis Ianotti and Infielder Robert Garza will all be making their way to the Gateway Grizzlies’ spring training beginning on Thursday, April 27th at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.

Reynoso, a left-handed pitcher from Tampa, Florida, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 23rd round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Before heading into the minor leagues, Reynoso played two years of college baseball at Coastal Carolina University and Middle Georgia State University. During his time at these schools, he posted an 8-4 record with a 3.21 ERA.

Garza also brings in some professional baseball experience after spending one year with the Ottawa Champions out of the Can-Am League. Garza played college ball at Texas Southern University where he hit .243 and drove in 25 runs in 46 games during his final collegiate season.

Guilianelli is entering his first season of professional baseball after spending two years with William Woods College in Fulton, MO. In his final season with the Owls, Guilianelli posted a 5-2 record with a 2.72 ERA. He also recorded 37 strikeouts during his 2016 campaign.

Ianotti, also a rookie in pro ball, graduated from Quinnipiac University where he was a consistent threat at the plate, holding a .288 batting average in 106 games played. He also excelled behind the plate with a career .983 fielding percentage.

The Grizzlies’ Opening Day will be on May 12 against Florence Freedom. First pitch will come at 7:05 pm. For tickets and more information, call the box office at 618-337-3000 or CLICK HERE! ­

ABOUT THE GATEWAY GRIZZLIES: The Gateway Grizzlies are a professional baseball team, located a mere 100-yards from I255 (10 minutes from downtown St. Louis). The Grizzlies offer baseball fans entertainment, the likes of which are difficult to find – affordable, family, fun in a comfortable 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 celebrating its 25th year as 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 12 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.

 

CORNBELTERS WELCOME DREW BALDRIDGE TO TOBY KEITH LINEUP

The Normal CornBelters, presented by Illinois Corn Farmers, announce the final artist to perform on Thursday, June 29th with Toby Keith and Colt Ford.

Drew Baldridge is an Illinois boy born and raised in Patoka. Drew enjoys visiting with fans after a show, and it’s that kind of down home charm combined with a powerful voice and constantly-honed songwriting skills that make Baldridge one of country music’s most promising new talents.

A Drew Baldridge show is high energy show.  He grew up soaking up a variety of musical influences – Southern gospel greats The Cathedrals, country superstars Alabama and even Earth, Wind & Fire. Though he loved performing,   Some of his songs are party anthems that will make you want to dance.  He has a hit called “Dance With Ya.”  It’s an interactive song with the audience.  His latest song is called “Rebound.”  It has charted in the Top 50 and you can catch the music video on CMT.

Baldridge was also an athlete and earned a college scholarship to play baseball. How fitting for Drew to sing at the Corn Crib.

Drew Baldridge has opened up for Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, Jerrod Niemann, Eric Paslay, Dustin Lynch and others.

Tickets are now on sale.  Go to www.normalbaseball.com or call 309-454-BALL!

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THE NIBLET:  Too many emails? Be sure to follow us on Facebook (Normal CornBelters) and on Twitter (normal_baseball) for all the latest updates and announcements regarding promotional nights and events all season long out at The Corn Crib.

JOIN WASHINGTON #CELEBRATE15 IN KIDS CLUB OR SILVER SLUGGERS

Fans can expect many changes at the Washington Wild Things’ ballpark this season, and today we outline the new-look Kids Club and Silver Sluggers. These two groups provide members with a unique ticket package, along with a wide range of giveaways and promotions.

The Washington Wild Things Kids Club is one of the largest programs in the organization. Last season, over 400 children registered to join this exclusive group. For 2017, the club is bigger and better! Kids Club members receive a ticket for all 9 of the Wild Things Sunday games, which includes Kids Run the Bases and an autograph session with the entire team. New this season, all Kids Club members will receive a Free Hotdog, Free Bag of Chips and Free Drink for EVERY Sunday game. Additionally, every member receives a Kids Club t-shirt and a Giveaway item provided by our sponsors. Members will also walk away with discount coupons to restaurants in the Washington area. Enroll in Kids Club for $15 and enjoy the nearly $200 worth of value!

Silver Sluggers returns for Wild Things fans over the age of 55. For $30, fans receive a ticket to all 7 Wednesday games to watch some mid-week baseball. Members will also walk away with discounts/coupons from local establishments and a Silver Slugger merchandise item. 

“We look forward to engaging fans of all ages this summer! The kid cannot wait until Sunday’s, Run the Bases and the autograph session, and  is a great way to wrap up a weekend of baseball for us. We encourage all of our fans over 55 to sign up for Silver Sluggers and enjoy America’s Pastime. Our sponsors have done a great job putting an overall package in place for both clubs!, noted Dir. of Team Operations Tony Buccilli.

Tickets for the #Celebrate15 season are currently on sale! Call us at 724-250-9555 or buy online at www.washingtonwildthings.com

GARDNER, RIOPEDRE SIGN EXTENSIONS WITH EVANSVILLE

The Evansville Otters have signed outfielder Jeff Gardner to a contract extension.

Gardner, a Louisville, Ky. native, joined the Otters midway through the 2016 season after spending time in the Washington Nationals’ organization.

“Jeff was a huge shot in the arm late in the season for us,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “Not just in the lineup but with his professionalism on and off the field.”

Gardner played collegiately at the University of Louisville and he was named to the 2014 Louisville Slugger and NCBWA All-America second teams after his senior season in which he hit .313 with nine home runs and 68 RBIs.

He was drafted in the eighth round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft by the Nationals and split time between Auburn and Hagerstown from 2014-16.

“I think having success with the Nationals and then being released certainly added to his motivation,” McCauley said. “He enjoys playing baseball as much as anyone I’ve had.

“We hope Jeff settles into the middle of our everyday lineup and he’ll see time in outfield, he’ll be a designated hitter and he might catch a few games.”

In 45 games with Evansville last season, Gardner hit .242 with six home runs and 24 RBIs.

Riopedre, a Miami, Fla. native, was acquired by the Otters before the 2016 season from Joliet. He had spent the previous two years in the Washington Nationals’ organization.

“Chris’ defense was invaluable,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “We weren’t looking for him to be a major contributor but when he got the opportunity, he never relinquished his playing time.

“Not only did he shine defensively, he was one of the top RBI guys—especially with runners in scoring position and two outs.”

In 84 games with Evansville last season, Riopedre batted .278 with 81 hits and 44 RBIs. He accounted for 10 doubles, a triple and five home runs. He also stole 27 bases while being caught only eight times.

“Without me getting in his way of playing time this year I hope to have Chris transition to everyday shortstop,” McCauley said. “He can hit anywhere in the lineup and he proved last year.”

Riopedre played collegiately at East Tennessee State University and was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft by the Nationals.

“I think the attribute most overlooked in Chris’ game is his youthful love of the game matched with his competitiveness,” McCauley added. “The game saving play at shortstop last year in Game 5 of the FLCS may be one of the best plays I’ve seen in the Frontier League.”

The Otters made an additional move, signing Rochester Hills, Mich. native Tom Constand.

Constand, a left-handed pitcher, played collegiately at Western Illinois University from 2012-15 and appeared in 16 games for the Leathernecks during his senior season.

Evansville will open the regular season in Marion, Ill. May 12 against the Southern Illinois Miners at 7:05 p.m. and will celebrate Bosse Field’s Opening Night May 19 against the Gateway Grizzlies at 6:35 p.m.

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions. Group packages and season tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.

Plus, don’t forget that 2017 single game tickets go on sale at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 8 in conjunction with Fan Fest presented by Action Equipment. Stop by to take advantage of special Championship Weekend specials.

VETERAN SCHULTZ INKS EXTENSION WITH OTTERS

The Evansville Otters have signed veteran John Schultz to a contract extension.

Schultz, an outfielder and West Lawn, Pa. native, has been one of the Otters’ most productive players since coming to Evansville in 2013.

“John has been invaluable to the success of the Otters,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “The stability he has brought on and off the field, as well as the commitment to returning to Evansville, has been a big part of our winning culture.”

After playing collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh, Schultz was drafted in the 34th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft by the Florida Marlins. He spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the Marlins before signing with Evansville.

In four seasons with the Otters, Schultz has batted .286 with 364 hits and 147 RBIs. He also has 71 doubles, 17 triples and 31 home runs.

“John’s hitting skills matched with his ability to score and drive in runs has made him a formidable player in the league,” McCauley said. “He’s been extremely successful in clutch situations.”

Schultz was a Frontier League All-Star in 2013 and 2015 and has also been instrumental in leading the Otters to the playoffs twice in the last three years—including a Frontier League title in 2016.

“John has been a cornerstone of the Otters’ organization,” McCauley added. “Not just what he does on the field but his involvement with the youth in Evansville too.”

In other transaction news, Evansville signed Xyruse Martinez after Bosse Field’s open tryout last weekend.

Martinez attended Central Arizona College, graduating in 2012.

Evansville will open the regular season in Marion, Ill. May 12 against the Southern Illinois Miners at 7:05 p.m. and will celebrate Bosse Field’s Opening Night May 19 against the Gateway Grizzlies at 6:35 p.m.

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions. Group packages and season tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.

COLT FORD JOINS TOBY KEITH CONCERT LINE-UP

The Normal CornBelters, presented by Illinois Corn Farmers, announce Country Star Colt Ford at the Corn Crib Thursday, June 29th opening for Toby Keith.

Ford has topped the Billboard Country Charts with several #1 albums. He will release his highly anticipated sixth studio album, “Love Hope Faith” May 5, 2017.

Ford has collaborated with the likes of Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert, Jake Owen, Eric Church and Duck Dynasty’s Boss Hog, Willie Robertson.  In addition, Ford wrote “Dirt Road Anthem” and “Country Must Be Country Wide”, number one hits for Jason Aldean and Brantley Gilbert, respectively.

Most recently, Ford focused his fundraising efforts on Marcus Luttrell’s “Lone Survivor Foundation.”  Proceeds from his hit song, “Workin’ On,” which deals with PTSD, benefit the Foundation.

Colt Ford has a very unique sound. His brand of country combines the style of hip-hop giants like Run-DMC with the spoken word greats like Tex Williams, Roger Miller, Johnny Cash and C.W. McCall who made Convoy famous.

Ford has an impressive social media following with 1.6 million Facebook fans, 330,000 Twitter followers and 100 million YouTube views.  He has sold over one million albums and has millions of downloads.

Catch Toby Keith and Colt Ford at the Corn Crib Thursday, June 29th.  The show starts at 7pm, gates open at 5:30.  Tickets on sale now.

For tickets go to normalbaseball.com or call 309-454-BALL.

There is certainly a lot of new and exciting things going on at The Corn Crib this summer. For a full list of the summer promotions visit www.normalbaseball.com, everything will be available for viewing next week.

OTTERS SIGN MVP JOSH ALLEN TO EXTENSION

The Evansville Otters have signed the reigning Frontier League Most Valuable Player Josh Allen to a contract extension.

Allen, a second baseman and Fort Meade, Fla. native, hit .354 during the regular season last year in helping Evansville clinch a playoff berth. He also broke the Otters’ single-season doubles record with 34 while finishing with 123 hits and 46 RBIs.

“Really excited to have Josh back, but I’m surprised he didn’t get an opportunity with affiliated baseball after his MVP season last year,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “Josh brings experience and leadership on and off the field.”

In the Otters’ postseason run that ended with the franchise’s second Frontier League title, Allen had six hits and scored nine runs. He also drew nine walks.

“It is tough to follow a season like Josh had last year,” McCauley said. “If anyone can do it, I believe he can.

“He sets high expectations and holds himself accountable.”

A Frontier League All-Star selection in 2014 and 2016, Allen joined the Otters in 2014 after playing collegiately at the University of West Florida.

In three seasons with Evansville, Allen has a .300 batting average with 274 hits and 128 RBIs.

“He doesn’t make excuses for failures,” McCauley said. “I am excited to see what he does this year and hopefully he gets a chance to move up.”

Evansville will open the regular season in Marion, Ill. May 12 against the Southern Illinois Miners at 7:05 p.m. and will celebrate Bosse Field’s Opening Night May 19 against the Gateway Grizzlies at 6:35 p.m.

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions. Group packages and season tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.

CRUSHERS ANNOUNCE NEW PROMOTIONS, SINGLE GAME TICKETS ON SALE

Single Game Tickets:

Single game seats for the 2017 Lake Erie Crushers season, presented by Mercy, are now on sale. The Crushers open their 2017 season on Friday, May 12th at 7:05 against the Joliet Slammers. The Crushers will play 48-home games at Sprenger Health Care Stadium this summer including 8 weekend series. The Crushers also host home games on Memorial Day and July 4th this year, both starting at 2:05pm. You can purchase you tickets at www.LakeErieCrushers.com and start gearing up for a GRAPE season!

New Group Areas:

Treat your friends, family, or clients to one of our excellent group areas at a Crushers game this season! Enjoy the new 2nd level seating area, the Kleinhenz Jewelers Diamond Deck for your outing. Another new seating area is our MVP Box Tickets, which includes $8 worth of concession credit on each ticket. Or sit back and relax in our Home Depot Concourse Box, featuring brand new outdoor patio furniture. Tickets start at $6 for General Admission seating, and are available through the Crushers Box Office or on the Crushers website at www.lakeeriecrushers.com

Upcoming Promotions:

With Crushers baseball comes fan-favorite, and some new, promotions in 2017! Fans will enjoy Firework Fridays, including an EXTRA show on Monday, July 3rd. Make us your first stop to a fun Saturday night with our Post-Game Saturday Night Concert Series. Following every Saturday home game, we’ll keep the ballpark open late so you enjoy local bands and a few drinks at our Brew Kettle Bar on the 3rd Base Picnic Plaza. Make Sunday a FUNday with our Family 4-Pack for only $45! This package includes 4 tickets, 4 food vouchers, and 2 Kids Zone Passes!

We’ve got our promotional lineup for the 2017 season in place. Some GRAPE promotions include:

  • Wednesday, June 7th Bark in the Park Night with a dog friendly giveaway presented by Camp Bow Wow
  • Sunday, June 11th Celebrate Stomper’s birthday with a Candy Drop presented by B.A. Sweeties Candy Co.
  • Friday, June 23rd Pack the Park Pink with a fundraiser benefiting the Fight Like a Girl Foundation
  • Sunday, July 2nd What once roamed the earth millions of years ago, comes to Sprenger Stadium with Jurassic Day! You’ll even get to take pictures with a dinosaur!
  • Wednesday, July 5th We turn it down for Sensory Friendly Night so you can enjoy a quiet evening at the ballpark
  • Sunday, July 9th Meet the Paw Patrol characters up close for Paw Patrol Day!
  • Friday, July 14th Christmas in July with a special appearance by the big man himself, Santa!
  • Sunday, July 16th Be Our Guest for Princess Night. Meet some of your favorite princesses for a royal afternoon
  • Friday, July 28th Fight for Fire Night to help support the local Fire Departments in Lorain and Cuyahoga County
  • Saturday, July 29th Stand Up for Blue Night with a fundraiser benefiting the Lorain and Cuyahoga County Police Departments
  • Sunday, July 30th Grab your mask and cape for Superhero Day! Meet some of your favorite Superheroes at the game
  • Saturday, August 12th Taste test local craft beers and wines at AUGtoberfest
  • Sunday, August 13th Just before the sunflowers bloom, Prayers From Maria hosts a fundraiser at the ballpark

 You heard it through the grapevine! Don’t miss out on what’s in store with the Lake Erie Crushers for 2017! Check out our Promotional Schedule at www.LakeErieCrushers.com. We’ll see you at the ballpark! Tickets start at $ 6 for General Admission seating, and are available through the Crushers Box Office or on the Crushers website by clicking HERE .

BOSSE FIELD’S HIGH SCHOOL SEASON STARTS MARCH 28

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Bosse Field will host over 40 IHSAA high school baseball games this spring, beginning March 28 when Mater Dei hosts Union County (Ky.) in a doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Mater Dei will make at least 12 regular season appearances at Bosse Field while Reitz will play on 14 different dates. The Panthers’ first game will be against Martinsville March 31 at 4 p.m.

All games and start times are subject to change and fans should contact the designated home team for information on potential changes caused by inclement weather or field conditions.

SIAC schools Harrison, Central, Memorial, North, Bosse and Castle will also play at Bosse Field during the spring.

The ballpark will host the Bosse Invitational April 15 in addition to hosting the IHSAA Class 4A sectional and regional baseball tourneys. The sectional will take place May 24, 26 and 29. The regional will be held on June 3.

Bosse Field is the home of the Frontier League’s Evansville Otters, the 2006 and 2016 league champions. Group packages and season tickets are now on sale for the upcoming 2017 season. For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.

RASCALS RELEASE PROMO SCHEDULE, TICKETS ON SALE NOW

The River City Rascals are excited to announce individual game tickets are now available to be purchased. Tickets can be purchased either by going online, calling the Rascals, or coming to CarShield Field. Our promotional schedule is also now available for fans to choose the game that is the best fit for them and their family.

The season will begin with an exhibition game on May 5th with our annual Education Day. Several educational organizations including Junior Achievement, Challenger Learning Center, and Saint Louis Science Center will display S.T.E.M. activities for all students in attendance to participate in.

The regular season begins with Opening Day, presented by Mercy, on May 12th at CarShield Field. Celebrate the return of baseball with us with fun activities for fans of all ages! Fan favorites returning this year include Military Appreciation presented by Bommarito Automotive Group on May 13th, Pirates & Mermaids on June 8th, MEGA-Candy Drop on June 11th, Faith & Family presented by Thrivent Financial on June 24th, and Star Wars Night on July 1st! The Rascals will also be featuring two Superheroes and Princesses Nights on May 27th and August 5th with superhero training and characters for everyone to meet. After popular demand, the Rascals are happy to announce that there will be not one but two Bark in the Park dates that are sure to be “pup”ular! With the addition of synthetic turf in 2017, the annual “Diamond Dig” on Girl’s Night Out presented by Great Clips will be changed to a “Diamond Dash” presented by Miller’s Fine Jewelry with boxes laid out across the outfield on July 7th.

The Rascals are also introducing several new theme nights this year! Do you consider yourself a beer connoisseur? Then our Grand Slam Beerfest presented by Krey Distributing on June 10th is a go-to night for you! This night will feature 12 local breweries with 24 to 30 different beers for fans to taste.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles presented by SuperCuts on July 9th will feature many favorite car characters and one lucky fan will win a free trip!

On July 21st, the Rascals with Planet Fitness are bringing a brand-new Fitness Day which will feature a pre-game on-field fitness workout as well as many other exercises throughout the game.

Scooby Doo Mystery Day will make you feel like a child again as you solve whodunit with the Mystery Team! This night will be held in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness presented by McCallum Place.

Rascals’ fans will find many great giveaways again this year! On May 18th, Great Southern Bank is back with their annual “Mug Giveaway” for the first 500 fans in attendance. The Rascals will also feature two guaranteed bobblehead giveaways this year – Rick Ankiel Bobblehead on June 30th and Skip Schumaker September 2nd. Be on the lookout for more giveaways coming later this season!

The Rascals will also be featuring Community Nights this year including City of Creve Coeur on June 20th, City of Wentzville on July 22nd, City of O’Fallon on August 3rd, and more to come! Residents of these cities will receive discounted tickets on their select night and businesses within the city will also receive discounts on marketing on those select evenings.

Senior Sluggers, presented by Right at Home, will have seven Tuesday home games to play Baseball BINGO this season! Raising Cane’s Ruffy’s Rascals’ Kids’ Club with feature eight Sunday games that will include a complimentary ticket, crafts and activities for members, and more! Membership for both of these programs is made complimentary by Right at Home and Raising Cane’s.

To purchase individual game tickets to any of the Rascals’ 47 home games, visit us online at www.rivercityrascals.com.

The River City Rascals are a professional baseball team located in O’Fallon, Missouri. The organization is a part of the Frontier League, which is an independent baseball league. The Rascals strive to provide affordable fun, family entertainment in a safe and clean environment. Follow us on Twitter @rcrascals and on Facebook and Instagram at “RascalsBaseball”.

SLAMMERS TO HOLD ANNUAL EASTER CANDY RUN APRIL 8

The Joliet Slammers presented by ATI Physical Therapy will hold an Easter Candy Run on Saturday, April 8 at the Slammers Stadium downtown Joliet. Candy will be distributed on the Slammers field for three age groups to participate in the candy hunt. The event is sponsored by Sport Clips – It’s Good To Be a Guy.

Gates will open at 8:30 am and the run is open to three age groups. Ages four and under will take the field at 9 am, ages five through eight at 9:15 am, and ages nine to 12 at 9:30 am.

The event is weather permitting. Fans can check jolietslammers.com for any updates to the event or call the Slammers Box Office at (815) 722-2287.

About the Joliet Slammers: The Joliet Slammers presented by ATI Physical Therapy play at the Slammers Stadium downtown Joliet, Illinois, and are members of the professional, independent Frontier League.  The Frontier League is a 12-team league entering its 25th season of play in 2017.  Visit the Slammers online at www.jolietslammers.com or call the ticket office at 815-722-2287 for more information! Don’t forget to “Like” the Slammers on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jolietslammers or follow them on Twitter at @jolietslammers!

OTTERS FAN FEST SET FOR SATURDAY, APRIL 8

The Evansville Otters will kick off the 2017 season at Bosse Field with Fan Fest presented by Action Equipment on April 8 at 9 a.m.

This free event for the entire family is open to the public and will feature plenty of activities to help get fans excited about the upcoming season.

Attendees will receive pointers from pitching coach Max Peterson in addition to taking batting practice with hitting coach Bobby Segal.

Giant inflatables will also be set up and fans will have the opportunity to meet players, get autographs and see the Frontier Cup. Plus, fans can explore Bosse Field and select season ticket seats.

Concessions and merchandise will be on sale and Fan Fest will be the first opportunity for fans to purchase single game tickets for 2017 home games—including Opening Night.

There will also be a free raffle for Otters’ tickets and gear and fans will also have the chance to audition to sing the National Anthem at a future home game.

Plus, fans that attend will receive a special Championship Weekend offer. Championship Weekend is set for May 19-21 as the Otters will celebrate the 2016 title season.

Evansville will open the regular season in Marion, Ill. May 12 against the Southern Illinois Miners at 7:05 p.m. and will celebrate Bosse Field’s Opening Night May 19 against the Gateway Grizzlies at 6:35 p.m.

The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions. Group packages and season tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.

MINERS GATES, LOPEZ, & DE LEON RETIRE FROM BASEBALL

The Southern Illinois Miners announce that outfielder Aaron Gates, pitcher Adam Lopez and infielder Alex De Leon have all decided to retire from professional baseball following all-star careers with the club.

Originally from Villa Park, California, Gates joined the Miners in 2014 after spending time in the New York Yankees organization, and would become a force in the Frontier League over the next three seasons. After hitting .284 with 10 home runs and 59 RBIs in his first year, Gates transitioned to the top of the order and became the team’s starting center fielder in 2015, batting .317 with seven home runs and 41 RBIs while ranking third in the league with 73 runs scored and eighth with 115 total hits. He made history in 2016, batting .288 with eight homers, 54 RBIs and a league-best 78 runs scored along with 111 total hits to set a new Miners franchise all-time hit record, breaking Joey Metropoulos’ mark that had stood for nearly six years on August 21st at Normal.

A two-time all-star, Gates also became the first Miner ever to hit three home runs in a single game on June 7th of that season at Gateway. He retires as the Miners’ all-time leader in hits (317), ranking second in runs scored (202), walks (145) and at-bats (1,069), third in games played (281) and fourth in triples (11) while also placing inside the franchise’s top-10 in career doubles, home runs, extra-base hits, RBIs and batting average.

“What an incredible three-year run Aaron had with us,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “Aaron had the unique ability to put the barrel on the baseball and produce results. A multiple-year all-star who ended up the all-time Miners hits leader, a record that will be awfully difficult to challenge. Aaron plans to go into law enforcement, joining a list of former Miners who have followed that path. We wish him safety and great success in his new profession.”

Lopez joined the Miners in 2015 from the Chicago White Sox organization and would go on to have one of the most-dominant careers on the mound in Miners history. As a starter in his first season, Lopez went 10-0 with a 1.86 ERA, 103 strikeouts and only 35 walks and 65 hits allowed in 96 2/3 innings, ranking fifth in the league in strikeouts, tying for second in wins and leading all active qualifying pitchers in ERA to become the second-straight Miner and third overall to be named Frontier League Pitcher of the Year. The Miners won all 16 games he started that season, with his ERA ranking as the best single-season mark among starters in team history.

After recovering from a shoulder impingement the following off-season, Lopez returned in 2016 as the Miners’ closer, going 3-0 with 13 saves, a miniscule 0.71 ERA, 29 strikeouts and just 10 hits allowed in 25 1/3 innings over 25 games while also going a perfect 13-for-13 in save opportunities. His 13 saves are the third-most in a single season in team history. For his career, Lopez’s 1.62 ERA is the best in team history among qualifying pitchers, while his 9.7 strikeouts-per-nine innings rate is the best among all Miners starters. He is the only Southern Illinois pitcher ever who ranks in the team’s top-10 in both wins and saves, with the Miners only losing one regular season game he appeared in across his two seasons.

“Adam was one of the great competitors to wear our uniform,” Pinto said. “His daily desire to win for the team was evident in everything he did. The leadership he showed and his work ethic will be greatly missed. We have had some exceptional players of character over the years, and Adam certainly goes right there in the team photo among the best of them. He will do great things in life beyond baseball, and I can’t wait to see whose lives he impacts next.

De Leon joined the Miners in 2016 from the St. Louis Cardinals organization, and in his lone season with the club was one of the top run-producing players in the Frontier League last year. A powerful right-handed hitter from Woodland Hills, California, he hit .256 with 21 doubles and 14 home runs while ranking fifth in the circuit with 72 RBIs, earning mid-season all-star honors while becoming one of only 10 players in Miners history to drive in 70 or more runs in a single season.

“Alex had a great all-star season for us last year and his power and production will be missed,” Pinto said. “I will miss his funny, outgoing personality which our fans saw on the field and we lived with off the field. He had a unique way to make me laugh every day. We wish Alex the best in life ahead.”

“We have had the great fortune to have wonderfully talented players and people wear the Miners uniform. As with all of them, playing for the Miners isn’t a one-time thing- they are always part of our Miners Family.”

Be sure to follow the Miners on Facebook, Twitter (@SIMiners) and Instagram as well as Snapchat this off-season as they prepare for 2017!

The Southern Illinois Miners are the 2016 Frontier League West Division Champions, the 2014 and 2015 Frontier League East Division Champions and the 2012 Frontier League Champions. 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 2007, their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the Rent One Park box office at (618) 998-8499. For any additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.

EMBRACE THE GRAPE – CRUSHERS ANNOUNCE NEW LOGO

The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, unveiled a new logo, new uniforms and several new menu items today that will all debut during the 2017 Frontier League season. The new team colors will be purple and white to accompany the team’s new logo that features a bat wielding, fierce-looking grape, as tribute to the Crushers name.

When the team debuted in 2009, the Crushers were originally named after the numerous vineyards and wineries that populate northern Ohio. The name was selected through fan voting, however previous Ownership selected colors and logos that did not reflect the origins of the name. New Owners Tom & Jacqueline Kramig, who purchased the team in February of 2016, have embraced the Crushers name with the new logo, new purple and white team uniforms, as well as a pledge to serve Ohio wines at Sprenger Health Care Stadium this coming season.

“Ohio is the 11th largest producer of wines in America, and there are dozens of wineries in the northern Ohio region, where the team calls home” stated Co-Owner Jacqueline Kramig. “For this team to truly represent and reflect the local community, we felt the name and logo should have some connection to local history and businesses.”

The Crushers are also unveiling several new menu items for 2017. Among the new offerings at Sprenger Health Care Stadium, an herb crusted chicken sandwich, a seasoned steak sandwich, a chicken sausage sandwich, and for our vegetarian fans, a fried green tomato sandwich.

The Lake Erie Crushers hope fans will “Embrace the Grape” on Friday, May 12th at 7:05pm for the Home Opener. There will be a magnet schedule giveaway for the first 1,000 fans at the ballpark, and the fan favorite Post Game Fireworks Show to kick off another great season of Crushers Baseball. Individual Game Tickets go on sale on Monday, March 20th at 10am.

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.

SOUTHPAW GREAT TUDOR CONFIRMED FOR RASCALS LEGENDS GAME

The River City Rascals are excited to announce former Cardinals pitcher John Tudor as the latest addition to the STL Legends Game. Tudor will join former Cardinals’ Rick Ankiel, Skip Schumaker, Jim Edmonds, Jason Isringhausen, and Fernando Tatis as well as several local celebrities for the event.

The Saint Louis Legends game is taking place on August 19th at CarShield Field. The gates will open at 10:45 AM for lucky fans who have secured their spot in the sold-out pre-game autograph session. The gates will reopen at noon for the 1 PM seven-inning game.

Tickets to the game are still available for only $20. Game tickets are selling fast so secure your spot today for this must-see event! You can purchase your ticket by calling (636) 240-2287 or by visiting the Rascals online at www.rivercityrascals.com.

John Tudor spent most of his twelve years in the show with the Saint Louis Cardinals. Tudor was drafted in the third round by the Boston Red Sox and made his MLB debut in 1979 for the club. He played the next five years with Boston having decent success before joining the Cardinals in 1985 where he became a phenomenal pitcher. In his inaugural Cardinals season, Tudor finished second in the CY Young race, with a league leading ten complete game shutouts during the 1985 season. During his time with the Cardinals, Tudor had a winning percentage of .705 and an ERA of 2.52. In 1988, Tudor added World Series Champion to his already impressive resume with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Upon retiring, Tudor tallied 117 wins and 988 strikeouts in almost 1,800 innings pitched. His performance with the Cardinals in 1985 is still remembered by many as one of the best pitching years in Saint Louis history.

Sponsorship of the STL Legends Game for St. Louis companies are still available, including opportunities to participate in the game and meet the Legends in a private setting. Information about these partnerships can be attained by contacting Rascals Assistant GM Lisa Ferreira at lferreira@rivercityrascals.com.

For more information or to order your tickets click here, call (636) 240-2287, or visit www.rivercityrascals.com. Stay up to date with everything happening with the Rascals by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat.

The River City Rascals are a professional baseball team located in O’Fallon, Missouri. The organization is a part of the Frontier League, which is an independent baseball league. The Rascals strive to provide affordable fun, family entertainment in a safe and clean environment. Follow us on Twitter @rcrascals and on Facebook and Instagram at “RascalsBaseball”.