Frontier Tryouts, Land Of Opportunity

SAUGET, Ill.- Benjamin Arnold is a young man who is looking to make his dream come true.

He is a baseball player from St. Louis, Missouri. On April 24th, he stepped onto the field at GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget, IL to show his skills at the 2017 Frontier League tryouts. Players from all around the nation make their way to these tryouts every year, including former minor league players.

Ben is autistic and has been told by people his whole life that he would never be able to play baseball.

Ben regularly plays for the St. Louis Challengers baseball league. This league welcomes adults and kids with disabilities to come out and play baseball.

“There is no kid left behind. Everybody gets to bat. There are no outs, strikes, or balls. Just there to have fun,” Ben said.

Ben’s father, James Arnold, who has been a part of the St. Louis Fire Department for many years, talked about the joy he feels seeing his son playing for a chance to be in the Frontier League.

“It makes me feel good just seeing that he’s out here giving it his best and trying. I know he’s nervous, but just to see him out there and actually participating is awesome,” James said. “When they gave the opening speech today I was telling people, ‘Wow we’re here. We’re really doing this’”.

This being his first year at the Frontier League tryouts, Ben was filled up with a lot of emotions during the day. “It’s probably going to hit me later that it actually happened. The tears want to come out but at the same time I want to toughen it up.”

Ben enjoys playing baseball, but his appearance at this year’s tryouts means more to him than just continuing to follow his dream.

“He wants to show that people with autism can do anything anybody else does,” said Ben’s father. “He’s been told all of his life by doctors and others that you can’t do this, and he’s out to prove them wrong. He lettered in high school baseball and they said you’ll never do it, but he did.”

If Ben does not get drafted this year, it will not affect his determination.

“I’ll find out what I did wrong, work on it, and come back again.”

Miners To Play Otters In Paducah, Black Sox At Rent One Park

MARION, Ill. – The Southern Illinois Miners announce that as part of their 2017 preseason schedule, they will play two games in prime time, hosting the Torre Baseball Training Black Sox on Friday, May 5th at 7:05 p.m. and the Evansville Otters on Saturday, May 6th at 7:05 p.m. at historic Brooks Stadium in Paducah, Kentucky, presented by WPSD Local 6.

All tickets for the game in Paducah will be $5 and will only be available at the gate. The meeting will mark the tenth year in a row the Miners and Otters will face each other at Brooks Stadium, which has been home to the original Kitty League, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Missouri-Ohio Valley League and the American Legion as well as games played by the Miners, Murray State University, the University of Kentucky, Southern Illinois University, John A. Logan College and more. All proceeds from the game will go to Brooks Stadium.

For the game against the Black Sox in Marion, all tickets for the game will also be $5. The Black Sox Baseball League, run by Torre Baseball Training, LLC and in its 16th year of existence, was created as a competitive league for players who have or are looking to obtain contracts to play professional baseball. The purpose of the league is to guide professional grade players to the destination that will allow them to advance their professional career. They will visit the Miners as part of a spring training tour featuring games against independent teams in the Frontier League, Atlantic League, Can-Am League, American Association and Pacific Association.

In addition to the popular Paducah contest and the additional home game against the Black Sox, the Miners will also play one home and one away contest against the Otters and the Gateway Grizzlies as in years past. Their first contest will take place on Tuesday, May 2nd at 10:00 a.m. at Rent One Park against the Grizzlies, with the Miners making a return trip to GCS Ballpark in Sauget the following day, Wednesday, May 3rd, at 11:35 a.m.

The Miners will conclude their exhibition schedule against Evansville. Following the contest in Paducah, the two teams meet at Rent One Park on Tuesday, May 9th, at 10:00 a.m. in a game that will be broadcast exclusively on southernillinoisminers.com. Southern Illinois will conclude its preseason schedule by heading to Bosse Field the following day, Wednesday, May 10th, for a game against the Otters at 10:05 a.m. before the two teams open up the 2017 regular season against each other in Marion on Friday, May 12th at 7:05 p.m. For more information, contact the Miners’ box office at (618) 998-8499.

Be sure to follow the Miners on Facebook, Twitter (@SIMiners) and Instagram as well as Snapchat 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.

WUEV, Otters Digital Network To Provide Extensive Coverage All Season

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Fans of the Evansville Otters will notice a larger presence of game coverage as the team looks to defend the Frontier League title in 2017.

Once again, WUEV 91.5 FM will air at least 94 of the Otters’ 96 regular season games on radio and online at wuev.org and evansvilleotters.com. Games that conflict with University of Evansville baseball programming will still be broadcast online at evansvilleotters.com—insuring audio of every game is available.

Lucas Corley will provide play-by-play for all games and Bill McKeon returns to provide analysis for home games at Bosse Field. Preston Leinenbach will also handle some play-by-play duties and Zane Clodfelter will contribute on select road games.

“WUEV is proud to continue on as the broadcast partner of the Evansville Otters,” WUEV General Manager Carson Cornelius-Burke said. “After a strong 2016 that culminated in a Frontier League title, we know that fans will be excited to follow the Otters’ title defense on the air.

“Otters baseball is a summer staple in Evansville, and WUEV is thankful to be a part of that tradition.”

Evansville’s May 6 exhibition game against Southern Illinois in Paducah, Ky. will be the first WUEV broadcast of the season. Exhibition games on May 5 and 9-10 will be streamed exclusively on evansvilleotters.com.

The Otters’ regular season opener at Southern Illinois May 12 will air on evansvilleotters.com, as well as the May 18 game at River City due to conflicts with UE baseball.

New this year, every regular season home game at Bosse Field will be streamed live on the Otters Digital Network. ODN will utilize multiple camera angles and graphics so fans won’t miss any of the action if they can’t make it to the ballpark.

ODN will be subscription-based with single game access costing $4.95 and season access $39.95. Fans will able to view games on ODN for free during the month of May, which includes Championship Weekend May 19-21.

The network will be accessible through evansvilleotters.com and audio from WUEV will be simulcast on the Otters Digital Network.

Fans will also find expanded coverage online at evansvilleotters.com and on the team’s social media accounts, which includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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.

Single game tickets are on sale now–including Opening Night 2017 and Championship Weekend games. Visit evansvilleotters.com to purchase tickets.

Baez Signs Extension With Evansville

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters have signed right-handed pitcher Felix Baez to a contract extension.

A San Juan, P.R. native, Baez appeared in 10 games and made five starts for Evansville last season. He finished 1-0 with a 3.94 ERA in 32 innings on the mound and struck out 38 batters.

Baez played for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and later played for the Indios de Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

“Looking forward to having Felix back,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “He threw very well in the prestigious Puerto Rican winter league.”

The Otters also signed first baseman/outfielder Joe DeRoche-Duffin. DeRoche-Duffin was acquired by Evansville earlier this month from the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association for a player to be named later.

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.

Single game tickets are on sale now–including Opening Night 2017 and Championship Weekend games. Visit evansvilleotters.com to purchase tickets.
If you’re interested in being a member of our championship team, please call or text 812-760-8610 for part-time employment opportunities.

Slammers Sign Three To Roster After Frontier League Tryouts

JOLIET, Ill.- The Joliet Slammers presented by ATI Physical Therapy have signed three more additions to the 2017 roster following the Frontier League tryouts held April 24 and 25 at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois, home of the Gateway Grizzlies.

Steven Pollakov, Brian McKenna and Dane McFarland all join the Slammers for their first season. Pollakov is a Chicago-native and went to the University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu, HI). The catcher spent the 2016 season with the Great Falls Voyagers of the Pioneer League.

Brian McKenna joins the Slammers after spending his 2016 season with the Traverse City Beach Bums of the Frontier League. He also made stops at the Utica Unicorns and Water Town Bucks in 2016. The catcher played his final two collegiate seasons at Post University in Waterbury, Conn. The New York, N.Y. native also played a season at John Jay College, hitting .330 driving in 16 runs for the Bloodhounds. He began his collegiate career at Seton Hall in 2011.

Outfielder Dane McFarland was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 12th round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft from JSerra Catholic High School. (San Juan Capistrano, CA). McFarland was in the Diamondbacks system from 2013-2016, playing for the Missoula Osprey, Kane County Cougars and Hillsboro Hops.

Other recent signings include former Chicago Cubs prospect Rock Shoulders.Shoulders will be entering his first full season with the Slammers. Shoulders, a native of Tampa, Florida, played in nine games with the Slammers during the 2016 season and recorded 7 RBIs. He was drafted by Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein twice – first  in the 20th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft when Epstein was with the Boston Red Sox, and second in the 25th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft when Epstein was with the Cubs organization.

Another newly signed Slammer with an MLB pedigree includes Danny Concepcion. He is a pitcher who was originally drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 12th round of the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Virginia Commonwealth University. He spent his 2016 season with the Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League.

The Slammers also have two 2016 college graduates making their Frontier League debuts this season. Alex Rodriguez, graduated from Methodist University with a degree in justice studies, and finished his senior campaign with 3 home runs to go along with 31 RBIs and finished with an amazing .398 batting average. He will be adding depth to the Slammers’ outfield.

CJ Needham, graduated from Louisburg University with a degree in criminal justice as well. He finished his last collegiate season with 5 home runs, 12 RBIs, and a superb batting average of .315. Needham will be used as a utility player as he can play first base and all three outfield positions.

Returning from last year’s East Division championship team includes starting pitcher Shane Bryant. Bryant will be entering his second season with the Slammers. He finished 2016 with a record of 5-2 and an ERA of 3.85 in 72 innings.

The Slammers open the 2017 season with exhibition games on Saturday, May 6 against the Schaumburg Boomers and Sunday, May 7 against the Windy City Thunderbolts at Slammers Stadium. The Slammers will then open regular season play on Friday, May 12 at the Lake Erie Crushers before returning home for the home opener on Tuesday, May 16 against the Traverse City Beach Bums. Individual game tickets, group tickets, and season ticket plans are all on sale now.

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 Select Bynum, Cheek at Frontier League Draft

SAUGET, Ill. – The Evansville Otters drafted catcher Andrew Bynum and right-handed pitcher Ryan Cheek at the 2017 Frontier League Draft held at GCS Ballpark.

Bynum was drafted by the Otters in first round at pick 11 and he spent the 2016 season playing for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers of the United Shore League.

With the Hoppers, Bynum played in five games and pitched six innings, finishing with a 2-0 record and 3.00 ERA.

The Huntington, Calif. native began his collegiate career at the University of California-Irvine before transferring to Orange Coast College. He finished his college career at Valparaiso University (2013-14), where he finished with 15 RBIs as a senior.

Cheek, an Oblong, Ill. native, played for Vincennes University (2013-14) and Indiana State University (2015-16) and he finished with a 3.45 ERA over four seasons with the Trailblazers and Sycamores.

Cheek was selected at No. 23 in the second round.

Players who participate in the Frontier League tryout are eligible to be drafted and compete for an Opening Night roster spot at spring training.

Otters’ players reported to Bosse Field Wednesday to begin spring training.

Right-handed pitcher Austin Goss was the top overall pick by the Schaumburg Boomers.

The draft class had 26 players, 13 of which were pitchers.

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.

Single game tickets are on sale now–including Opening Night 2017 and Championship Weekend games. Visit evansvilleotters.com to purchase tickets.

If you’re interested in being a member of our championship team, please call or text 812-760-8610 for part-time employment opportunities.

Goss Taken As First Pick in 2017 Draft

SAUGET, Ill. – On Tuesday, April 25, the 2017 Frontier League Draft kicked off with Austin Goss (RHP) taken as the overall #1 pick by the Schaumburg Boomers. When asked about the pick, Boomers Manager Jamie Bennett said, “We are very excited to bring Austin to camp with us. He showed the talent and has the background to translate to a guy that can compete for a spot in our pitching staff.”

Austin heads the 26 member 2017 Draft class, 13 of which were pitchers.

Here are the official results of the 2017 Frontier League Draft:

Round 1:
Pick 1: Schaumburg Boomers, Austin Goss (RHP)
Pick 2: Windy City Thunderbolts, Cody Mincey (RHP)
Pick 3: Traverse City Beach Bums, James Simpson (C)
Pick 4: Gateway Grizzles, TBA
Pick 5: Normal CornBelters, Bob Wheatley (LHP)
Pick 6: Lake Erie Crushers, Nick Bozman (LHP)
Pick 7: Washington Wild Things, Aaron Burns (RHP)
Pick 8: Schaumburg Boomers, Cosimo Cannella (1B)
Pick 9: River City Rascals, Stephen Swagerty (RHP)
Pick 10: Joliet Slammers, Steven Pollakov (C)
Pick 11: Evansville Otters, Andrew Bynum (C)
Pick 12: Southern Illinois Miners, Ryan O’Malley (3B)

Round 2:
Pick 13: Schaumburg Boomers, Pass
Pick 14: Windy City Thunderbolts, Danny Britt (C)
Pick 15: Traverse City Beach Bums, Brook Clark (UTL)
Pick 16: Gateway Grizzlies, Chris Dula (RHP)
Pick 17: Normal CornBelters, Kyle Carter (LHP)
Pick 18: Florence Freedom, Mark Fowler (OF)
Pick 19: Washington Wild Things, Matt Sabel (LHP)
Pick 20: Lake Erie Crushers, Roman Gomez (RHP)
Pick 21: River City Rascals, Trevor Jaunich (RHP)
Pick 22: Joliet Slammers, Brian McKenna (C)
Pick 23: Evansville Otters, Ryan Cheek (RHP)
Pick 24: Southern Illinois Miners, Chris Amato (SS)

Round 3:
Picks 25-27: Schaumburg Boomers, Windy City Thunderbolts, Traverse City Beach Bums, Pass
Pick 28: Gateway Grizzlies, Colin Kelly (RHP)
Pick 29: Normal CornBelters, Pass
Pick 30: Florence Freedom, Lucas Owens (C)
Picks 31-32: Washington Wild Things, Lake Erie Crushers, Pass
Pick 33: River City Rascals, Dillon Clift, (C)
Picks 34-36: Joliet Slammers, Evansville Others, and Southern Illinois Miners, Pass\

Round 4:
Pick 37: River City Rascals, Matthew Haskins (OF)

2017 TRYOUT CAMP & DRAFT THIS MONDAY

The 24th annual Frontier League Tryout Camp and Draft will be held on Monday, April 24 and Tuesday, April 25 at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois, home of the Gateway Grizzlies.  Early check-in for those who pre-registered is from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the DoubleTree Hotel in Collinsville, Illinois.  Walk-up registration will begin at 8:00 AM on Monday, April 24 at GCS Ballpark.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE 2017 FRONTIER LEAGUE TRYOUT CAMP AND DRAFT

All 12 Frontier League teams will be represented at the workouts, and scouts from multiple Major League Baseball teams also attend.  Advance registration is available at www.frontierleague.com while walk-up registration will begin at 8:00 AM on Monday, April 24.

The workouts officially begin at 9:00 AM on April 24 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 25.  At the conclusion of the games, action will break for 30 minutes as clubs and prepare for the draft.

An average of 36 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 three draftees having ascended to the Major Leagues (Chris Jakubauskas, Seattle/Pittsburgh/Baltimore; Josh Smoker, New York Mets; and Chris Smith, Toronto).

Eleven tryout attendees have been signed by MLB clubs during the season over the past five years.

“Each season the talent at the Tryout Camp and Draft is more and more impressive, and this event is a key component in building each club’s roster,” commented Frontier League commissioner Bill Lee.  “The players who make an impact not just in the Frontier League but by advancing to MLB organizations plus the Major Leagues demonstrates the value of our workouts.”

The Frontier League is entering its 25th season in 2017 and features 12 teams stretching from Pennsylvania to Missouri and from Kentucky to northern Michigan.  The Frontier League annually advances the most players to MLB organizations of any of the independent leagues. 76 players have signed with MLB clubs since the start of the 2015 season, and 31 former Frontier League players have played in the Major Leagues.

GCS Ballpark is located at exit 15 off I-255 in Illinois and is just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis.  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 GCS Ballpark, 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 GCS Ballpark. Players attempting to enter GCS Ballpark with metal cleats will be immediately disqualified from the workouts.

Pella Windows and Doors To Present 2017 Saint Louis Legends Game

O’FALLON, Mo.– The River City Rascals are pleased to announce the partnership of Pella Windows and Doors with the 2017 Saint Louis Legends game. The game is scheduled for August 19that CarShield Field. The game will feature former Cardinals’ legends Jim Edmonds, Rick Ankiel, Skip Schumaker, Fernando Tatis, John Tudor, and Jason Isringhausen with more legends to come. Local radio celebrities Lux and Tim from 96.3 FM have also joined the line-up for the 7-inning game.

Accredited on the BBB since 1974, Pella Windows and Doors has been proudly serving the Saint Louis metro area for over eighty years. Mention the 2017 Legends Game for a special discount on your windows and doors needs. The only choice for windows and doors in St. Louis: Pella Windows, closing the door on our competition. Visit Pella at pellaofstlouis.com.

Tickets for the Saint Louis Legends Game are available now for $20. Gates will open at noon for the 1 PM game. Reserve your tickets now by calling the Rascals at (636) 240-2287 or buy them online at www.rivercityrascals.com.

There are still a few opportunities left for your company to be part of the Legends Game, but availability is limited. The remaining sponsorship packages are listed below.

Cornerstone Sponsor – $3,500

1 Representative to coach 1st or 3rd base of a STL Legends team on the field
20 Tickets with access to pre-game autograph session
3 PA announcements during the game
Logo on Legends Game signage
Marketing display table the day of the game
Inclusion on social media posts, website, press releases, etc.

Manager – $1,500

1 Representative to manage a STL Legends team on the field
10 regular reserved seat tickets to the game
1 PA announcement during the game
Marketing display table the day of the game
Inclusion on social media posts, website, press releases, etc.

These sponsorship opportunities are available on a first come first serve basis for the STL Legends Game.  Packages not only provide a great opportunity to market your business but also include an exclusive once in a lifetime opportunity to be on the field with the former St. Louis Cardinals Legends.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities contact Lisa Ferreira at (636)240-2287 x233 or via email at LFerreira@rivercityrascals.com. To order your tickets call (636)240-2287 or visit rivercityrascals.com/tickets/legendsgame. Stay up to date with everything happening with the Rascals by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat

Otters Add To Roster With More Signings

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters continue to add players to the spring training roster after the signings of four more players.

Right-handed pitcher Jimmie Davis, left-handed pitcher Jason Broussard, infielder Kevin Carr and outfielder Myles Babitt are the newest additions to the defending Frontier League champions.

Davis, an Elizabethtown N.C. native, played for the University of North Carolina Pembroke from 2013-15 after starting his college career at Barton College (2011-12). In 10.1 innings on the mound as a senior with the Braves in 2015, Davis finished with a 4.35 ERA. He played for the Watertown Bucks of the Empire League last summer, where he started six games.

Broussard, an Upland, Calif. native, comes to Evansville after spending the 2016 season in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization. In eight games of affiliated action, Broussard had a 3.24 ERA and finished with a 2-0 record and 11 strikeouts. He played college baseball at Orange Coast College.

Carr, a Chandler, Ariz. product, began his collegiate career at Mesa Community College (2012-13) before finishing at Southeastern Louisiana University (2014-15). As a senior with the Lions, Carr played in 58 games and he finished with a .336 batting average. He had 36 RBIs and 15 doubles and was also a 2015 All-Southland Conference first team selection.

Babitt, a Richmond, Calif. product, spent last year in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization after being drafted in the 25th round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. In affiliated baseball, Babitt hit .300 in 28 games. He played collegiately at Cal State East Bay (2015-16) after starting at the Academy of Arts (2011-14), where he played both basketball and baseball.

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.

Single game tickets are on sale now–including Opening Night 2017 and Championship Weekend games. Visit evansvilleotters.com to purchase tickets.

If you’re interested in being a member of our championship team, please call or text 812-760-8610 for part-time employment opportunities.

Crushers Announce Cleveland Sports Legends Softball Game

AVON, OH– The Lake Erie Crushers, presented by Mercy, announced today plans for a “Cleveland Sports Legends Softball game”, to be played at Sprenger Health Care Stadium on Saturday June 17th at 7:05pm.  Four former Cleveland Indians legends and at least one former Cleveland Brown will return to the field for the Cleveland Sports Legends Softball game which will be presented by Ray’s Auto and Our Lady of the Wayside.

Among those playing in the game will be:

Former Indians 2nd Baseman Carlos Baerga.   The former All-Star played eight of his 14-year Major League career with the Indians. While in Cleveland he was a three-time American League All-Star and a two-time Silver Slugger Award Winner. Baerga was part of two American League Central Division Championship teams in 1995 and 1996.  He was instrumental in helping the team to the American League pennant and a trip to the World Series in 1995.

Former Indians Outfielder Ellis Burks. Burks compiled an 18-year Major League career, playing three years for Cleveland between 2001 – 2003.  The 2002 season was Burk’s most productive in a Tribe uniform when he had 32 Home Runs with 91 Runs Batted In and a .301 batting average. Ellis was also part of the 2001 American League Central Division Championship team.  Serving as the team’s Designated Hitter Burk’s had 28 Home Runs with 74 Runs Batted In and a .280 batting average.

Former Indians Outfielder Joe Charboneau. Joe was the 1980 AL Rookie of the Year Award Winner when he hit a team leading 23 Home Runs with 87 Runs Batted In and a .289 batting average.  Charboneu played parts of two more seasons in Cleveland before his playing career was cut short due to numerous injuries.

Former Indians Pitcher Len Barker. Barker pitched a perfect game for the Tribe at Cleveland Stadium on May 15, 1981. He is one of 23 pitchers that have thrown a perfect game in Major League Baseball. Barker spent 11 years in the Major Leagues playing for the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves Milwaukee Brewers, as well as the Indians.

Former Browns Defensive Lineman Bob Golic. The Cleveland Ohio native spent seven of his 14-year NFL career with the Browns from 1982 to 1988. He made three Pro Bowls during that time, before finishing his career with the Los Angeles Raiders.

Former Crushers 3rd Baseman Andrew Davis.  Davis joined the Crushers in 2009 and was part of the team’s inaugural season which ended in a Frontier League Championship. He spent 6 years with the Crushers posting a .282 career batting average with 57 home runs.  Davis was also a three time Frontier League All-Star.

The 7-inning Legends game will also feature local radio and TV celebrities.  The game will be immediately followed by an on-field autograph session and spectacular fireworks display.  Tickets will cost $ 20.00 per seat and will go on sale next Monday April 24th at 9:00 AM.

The event will also include a very special Friday night welcome reception where fans can chat with the former Indians and Browns Players, while enjoying an all-you-can-eat buffet. Tickets for the VIP event are also $ 20.00, or fans can purchase a ticket to both events for $ 35.00.

There will be a Silent Auction of sports memorabilia, a 50/50 raffle, and even a chance to play in the game, with all proceeds going to Our Lady of the Wayside.

The Lake Erie Crushers open the 2017 season at Sprenger Stadium on Friday, May 12th with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Joliet Slammers. Call (440)934-3636 or visit www.LakeErieCrushers.com for your tickets today!

Miners Name Garrett Bauer New Pitching Coach

Marion, Ill. – The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they have hired Garrett Bauer as their pitching coach for the 2017 season. He replaces Preston Vancil, who has resigned to spend more time with his family after three years as the Miners’ pitching coach.

Born in St. Louis, Bauer comes to the Miners with a wealth of experience. He has worked as the pitching coach at St. Louis Community College since 2013, and was the pitching coach for the Frontier Greys in 2014. He has also served as an instructor at Balls-n-Strikes Youth Softball & Baseball in Brentwood, Missouri.

After starting his professional playing career with two seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization following his selection in the 27th round of the 2004 MLB Draft from Missouri Baptist University, Bauer was an all-star starting pitcher in each of his three years in the Frontier League with the Rockford Riverhawks from 2006-08. The southpaw’s best season was his final year, as he went 10-6 with a 2.98 ERA in 21 starts with career-best totals in wins, strikeouts (151) and innings pitched (148). The 151 strikeouts he amassed that season were just one behind former Miners pitcher Ryan Bird’s league-leading total of 152, while his 148 innings pitched were the most in the league.

For his career in the Frontier League, Bauer went 23-16 with a 3.24 ERA, striking out 317 and allowing just 294 hits in 369 innings pitched.

“I am very blessed and excited to join the Southern Illinois Miners family,” Bauer said. “I look forward to this great opportunity and hope I can add to the Miners’ remarkable winning tradition.”

“I am very excited to be adding Garrett to our coaching and development staff,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “When we opened up the window for potential candidates, we were blown away by a number of great possibilities, including some former major league pitchers. In the end, Garrett jumped out as the right fit for us. He brings so many things to our organization. I watched him pitch against us for a number of years, and greatly admired his competitiveness and work ethic.He was a dominant force in our league, a leader on Rockford’s staff, and that followed into his career in coaching. Garrett has an understanding of mechanics and game prep. He comes to us with experience in affiliated baseball as a pitcher as well as successful experience in this league both as a pitcher and as a pitching coach.”

Bauer takes the place of Preston Vancil on the Miners’ coaching staff. After an all-star season on the mound for the Miners in 2013, Vancil transitioned into the dugout as the pitching coach and led the staff to great success, with the Miners posting their two best team ERAs in team history in 2014 (3.46) and 2015 (3.32) along with a league-best and team-record 808 strikeouts in 2015. In both of those seasons, Southern Illinois also produced the Frontier League Pitcher of the Year in Matt Bywater (2014) and Adam Lopez (2015).

“I would argue that Preston was the single-best pitching coach in this league during his time with the Miners,” Pinto added. Under his guidance we had two Pitchers of the Year in two seasons, and could have easily had a third.  Other pitchers had success as well- for many, the best seasons of their careers. We also had continued great success as a team while he was with us, and that is not a coincidence. Preston was organized and prepared, and his staff followed that lead. He will definitely be missed here. But he is also starting a new chapter in his life with a new baby girl on the way for he and his wife Lottie. ‘Vance’ will always be part of the Miners Family, and we wish him happiness in his life after professional baseball.”

Be sure to follow the Miners on Facebook, Twitter (@SIMiners) and Instagram as well as Snapchat this offeseason 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.

Slammers Continue To Add To 2017 Roster

Joliet, IL —The Joliet Slammers presented by ATI Physical Therapy are less than a month away from opening day and the 2017 roster continues to take shape. Juan Silva and Edwin Gomez, two prospects from Yabucoa, Puerto Rico headline the latest additions to the team.

Both outfielders Silva and Gomez went to the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy for high school. Notable alumni of the academy include Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. Silva was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 26th round of the 2014 MLB June Amateur Draft and Gomez was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 4th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft.

“Silva has eight years of experience in the minor leagues and has played up to Triple-A,” Manager Jeff Isom said. “He has hit for high average and can steal bases.  He is a very disciplined hitter who possesses a career .371 on base percentage.  He will be in the middle of our lineup.”

“Gomez can play all over the field.” Isom added. He possesses a lot of experience. This will be his ninth season of professional baseball. We feel like he is just coming into his own as a hitter.  Gomez gives us a lot of flexibly with the way he can play multiple positions.”

Newly-acquired catcher Spencer Navin is also entering his first season with the Slammers. He spent his 2016 campaign with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League. He was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft from Vanderbilt University. Navin helped lead the Commodores to the College World Series in 2012 and 2013.

“He is a very good defensive catcher that we will have catch the majority of our games.” Isom said.  “He has a strong arm and receives the ball well.”

Other additions include the return of outfield Jimmy Heck and infielder Melvin Rodriguez.Heck hit .313 in seven regular season games last year and he’s hoping his numbers from the end of last season can span the course of a full Frontier League season in 2017.

Rodriguez returns for his second season with the Slammers. In 2016, he hit 6 home runs and had 32 RBIs.

Returning pitchers include Kevin McNorton and Kevin Simmons.McNorton is returning for his fourth season with the Slammers. He finished his 2016 season with a 2-1 record and an ERA of 2.82 in 22.1 innings pitched.

Simmons is entering his second season with the Joliet Slammers. He finished 2016 with a 1-2 record and a 4.90 ERA.

The Slammers open the 2017 season on the road Friday, May 12 for their series against the Lake Erie Crushers. Opening day at Slammers Stadium is set for Tuesday, May 16. Opening day is a $2 Tuesday and tickets are $2. Indidivual game tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at the Slammers Box Office at 1 Mayor Art Schultz Drive, Joliet or by visiting jolietslammers.com/tickets.

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!

Thunderbolts to Host Bandits In Battle Of The Sexes Softball Game

CRESTWOOD, Ill.- It’s back!  The Windy City ThunderBolts and the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch are proud to announce their 4th annual “Battle of the Sexes” Fastpitch Softball game at Standard Bank Stadium on Monday, July 31st at 7:05 p.m.  This season the Bandits will host a two hour youth fastpitch clinic before the game for all softball players ages 7 to 14.  There will be an additional charge to the clinic and a ticket to the game is required.

The Chicago Bandits are entering their 13th season in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) and are the current two-time defending champions. The Bandits have entertained the area with the best softball players in the world since 2005.  Dozens of Olympians from around the world have played with the Bandits and in NPF, including Olympians Jennie Finch and Monica Abbott.

Here is what you need to know…

What:  4th annual “Battle of the Sexes” Fastpitch Softball Game

Who:  Frontier League’s Windy City ThunderBolts host National Pro Fastpitch’s Chicago Bandits

When:  Monday, July 31st at 7:05 pm, Gates will open at a special 3:30 pm time for the start of the pregame clinic at 4 pm

Where:  Standard Bank Stadium, Crestwood

Individual tickets go on sale on-line at wcthunderbolts.com, by phone at 708-489-2255, or at the Standard Bank Stadium box office on Monday, April 17th at 10 am. 

Group and fundraiser tickets are on-sale now!

Individual Advance Ticket Prices:  Lower Deck is $12 and Upper Deck is $10
Individual Day-of-Game Prices:  Lower Deck is $15 and Upper Deck is $12

Group Tickets:  Lower Deck only.  $10 per ticket.  20 tickets is the minimum.

Fundraiser Tickets:  Upper Deck only.  $8 per ticket.  100 is the minimum.