Aramis Ramírez Joins the Normal CornBelters Legends Lineup

Normal, IL. –  The CornBelters announced the addition of Aramis Ramírez to the 3rd Annual Legends Game lineup at The Corn Crib, presented by Illinois Corn Growers.

The 2018 edition of the Legends Game, presented by the Town of Normal, will be held on Saturday, August 4th. Gates and parking will open at 5:00 p.m. CT. with the first pitch at approximately 7:00 p.m.

Aramis Ramírez, originally from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, played in Major League Baseball from 1998-2015 as a third baseman.

Throughout his 18-year career, Ramírez played among organizations such as the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers, plus nine-straight seasons with the Chicago Cubs from 2003-2011.

One of Ramírez’s most productive seasons was in 2004 with the Cubs as he posted a career-best batting average of .318. He recorded 36 home runs and 103 RBIs which helped earn him a spot in the top-10 in MVP voting for that season.

He also helped the Cubs to two back-to-back division title wins in 2007 and 2008.  In 2007, he had 26 home runs, 101 RBIs, and a batting average of .310. Following that season, he hit 27 home runs, had 111 RBIs and batted .289.

Aramis appeared in three All-Star games throughout his career. He was awarded the National League Hank Aaron Award in 2008 and the Silver Slugger in 2011.  Ramírez ended his career in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, whom he originally started with in 1998.

Washington Wild Things Rename Field

WASHINGTON, Pa. (March 21) – The playing surface at Wild Things Park will have a new name in 2018, as the Wild Things and the It’s About the Warrior Foundation, a post-9/11 veterans foundation, have partnered to rename the field “It’s About the Warrior Field.”
It’s About the Warrior Foundation (IATWF) was created in 2012 by Founder and Executive Director Steve Monteleone, a seven-year veteran of the United States Air Force. The foundation assists and empowers all Tri-State area, post-9/11 veterans and their families with its various programs. To learn more about IATWF, please visit the website at
The partnership between the organization and IATWF is something both sides hope creates awareness for the organization and its benefits for all post-9/11 veterans, and awareness of the Foundation from the general public as well.
“The Washington Wild Things were established right around 9/11, and that’s a day that effected all of us. So it’s very appropriate that, in 2018, we’re going to start a relationship and a partnership with It’s About the Warrior,” said Christine Blaine, director of corporate sponsorships for the Wild Things. “We have so much to thank [United States veterans] for. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here playing baseball. It’s really exciting to us to be able to offer our facility to them and to know we’re going to be calling our field: It’s About the Warrior Field. I think what it’s going to do is help draw more attention to them and their mission and we’re thrilled to be a part of that.”
“We have great partnerships with the Steelers, Pirates, Penguins, the University of Pittsburgh and now the Washington Wild Things too,” said Monteleone. “As we go, the main goal is to get more guys to sign up, and I think this is a great opportunity here, with the Washington Wild Things, to promote our organization and what we do.”
In conjunction with this announcement, the team has also announced an $8 anywhere-in-the-park ticket that all veterans and active military can take advantage of during the 2018 season. Any veteran/active military member can sit anywhere they want to in the park by presenting a valid military ID at the box office.
“Introducing a discounted military ticket was a priority for us. With our field drawing awareness to the It’s About the Warrior Foundation, it is important that all veterans feel at home at Wild Things Park,” said General Manager and Vice President of the Wild Things Steven Zavacky. “We encourage veterans to take advantage of these $8 tickets and enjoy the best seats at the ballpark. We appreciate their sacrifices for America’s freedom and we dedicate our play of America’s Pastime to them.”
The Wild Things are also adding two segments to the in-game experience to honor veterans and active military in attendance. During all 2018 home games, one veteran will be chosen as the “Stoney’s Veteran of the Game,” and will receive a free Stoney’s draft, compliments of Stoney’s Beer. Also, the Wild Things, opposing team and fans will honor all veterans and active military in attendance at each game, by recognizing them as they stand during an inning break of the evening’s game.
The partnership between the Wild Things and IATWF is not exclusive to just the field’s dedication, but also involves charitable donations through two separate “Salute to Service” nights. The first is scheduled for Saturday, June 9. “Salute to Service” Night will feature a guest appearance by Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva and a “Big Al” bobblehead giveaway. The night also will see a jersey auction, with part of the proceeds going to IATWF. The second is “Dingers Only Night” with Pat McAfee, presented by Venture Energy Solutions. More information on that night, scheduled for June 21, is available at

Normal CornBelters Re-Signed Ty Morris

NORMAL, Illinois (March 19, 2018) – The CornBelters have re-signed three-year outfielder Ty Morris to 2018 Frontier League roster.

The 6-foot-1-inch 190-pound outfielder re-joins for his fourth professional season in Normal. Ty played his collegiate career for the Otters of California State University Monterey Bay for three seasons. During his career in Seaside, California, Morris had a stellar fielding percentage as well as a strong on-base percentage. As a sophomore, he led his team to the Pacific Coast Conference Championship and was named first-team all-conference.

Morris played in 66 games last season, third most amongst the CornBelter outfielders. The switch-hitter batted .188 last season in 154 appearances at the plate. In addition, the speedy ballplayer stole 16 bases last season and looks to use that element of surprise whenever he can.

Evansville Otters Sign Ryan Long to Extentsion

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters have signed infielder Ryan Long to a contract extension.

Long, a Crandall, Texas native, was signed by the Otters midway through last season after finishing a successful collegiate playing career at Texas Tech University.

“Ryan had a big year for us taking over the top spot in the lineup,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “He is a versatile player.”

In 49 games with Evansville last season, Long batted .286 with 53 hits and 11 RBIs. He accounted for six doubles, a triple and two home runs.

“He saw time all over the field defensively,” McCauley said. “We are looking for him to play primarily third base this year and hit in the top of the lineup.”

With the Red Raiders, Long appeared in 80 games and started 55. He posted seven multiple-hit games and had six multiple-RBI performances. Long finished with 32 RBIs and 12 doubles.

He was also a member of the 2016 Big 12 championship team at Texas Tech.

Evansville will celebrate Bosse Field’s Opening Night May 11 against the Washington Wild Things at 6:35 p.m.

Normal CornBelters Sign Billy Roth

NORMAL, Illinois (March 15, 2018) – Billy Roth has signed a contract with the CornBelters for the 2018 Frontier League season.

Roth was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of High School in 2013. He went on to spend four seasons in their organization where he held a 5.55 ERA (season-best of 3.26) with 131 strikeouts in 167 innings pitched and a 1.62 WHIP.

For the 2017 season, the 22-year-old split time between California City Whiptails of the Pecos League and the Sussex County Miners of the Canadian-American Association. Between the two teams, Roth combined for a 5-4 record with a 4.01 ERA and struck out 90 batters.

First-year Manager Billy Horn looks forward to having Roth make an impact in his rotation. “Billy Roth comes to Normal with five years in pro ball already. He has a lot of upside to MLB organizations with a good fastball and an arsenal of off-speed pitches. He will come into the rotation to start the season and will give us a chance to win every time he takes the ball.”

Normal CornBelters add Kirch for 2018 Season

NORMAL, Illinois (March 13, 2018) – The CornBelters have added pitcher Jensen Kirch to their 2018 Frontier League roster.

The Indianapolis, Indiana native joins the CornBelters after completing his collegiate career at Wabash College in Crawfordsville (IN).  At Wabash, Kirch held a career 4.06 ERA with a season-best 2.73 in 2016. He also had 13 complete games with two shutouts during his four years.

Kirch struck out a total of 154 batters with 230.1 innings pitched during his career with Wabash, and Manager Billy Horn knows Kirch’s college experience will benefit the team. “Jensen is a solid rookie arm who pitched a lot of innings and didn’t walk many batters in college. He showed well in the California Winter League and will have an opportunity to make the club in spring training.”

The 6-foot-3-inch Kirch was named team captain and received all-conference honors at Wabash while majoring in Financial Economics.He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 2017.

Southern Illinois Miners Ink Young Talent for 2018

Marion, IL (March 12, 2018) – The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they have continued to add to their roster for the 2018 campaign, signing outfielders Bryson Bowman, Chris Scura, Erik Williams and Corey Dempster, infielders Trevor Rucker, Austin Call and Julian Russell, and left-handed pitcher Billy Griffin.

Bryson Bowman comes to the Miners after a tremendous two-year career at Western Carolina University. As a senior in 2017, he was the Southern Conference Player of the Year and Third Team NCBWA All-American, batting .381 with 15 doubles, 11 home runs and 59 RBIs. The Baton, North Carolina native smacked 86 hits on the season and reached base safely in the team’s first 42 games en route to doing so in 55 of 56 contests. He also was a Second Team All-SoCon selection as a junior, hitting .326 with 19 homers and 60 RBIs in 61 games for the Catamounts after playing his first two collegiate seasons at Catawba Valley Community College. He is serving as a volunteer assistant coach with WCU this season.

Chris Scura hails from Selden, New York on Long Island, and comes to Marion with professional experience in the Pecos and Atlantic Leagues. He batted .415 with 17 doubles, 35 RBIs, 19 stolen bases, 64 runs scored and 95 hits in 57 games last year in the Pecos League with the Alpine Cowboys, ranking in the league’s top-10 in all the aforementioned statistical categories including tying for third in the circuit in hits. He also split 2016 with Topeka in the same league, batting .323 with 10 doubles and 28 stolen bases in 58 games, and also the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League, playing in 18 contests.

Erik Williams finished his collegiate career with a bang in 2017 as a senior at Bluefield College in Virginia, batting .396 with 21 home runs, 66 RBIs, 19 doubles and 86 hits in 63 games for the Rams while also posting a .484 on-base percentage and .783 slugging percentage. The Bakersfield, California native earned Honorable Mention NAIA All-American honors as well as First Team All-Appalachian Athletic Conference accolades for his efforts, coming one season after he hit .328 with 14 homers, 46 RBIs and a .639 slugging percentage as a junior at Bluefield. He also spent two years at Bakersfield Community College in his hometown.

Corey Dempster joins Southern Illinois’ roster after a four-year college career at the University of Southern California. A starter for the last two years at USC, he batted .273 as a senior with 15 doubles, four homers and 27 RBIs in 49 games. As a junior, he was named All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention, batting .290 with 11 doubles, six home runs, 24 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts in 49 contests. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 37th round of the MLB Draft following that season, but chose to return to the Trojans.

Trevor Rucker also comes to the Miners off of a stellar senior season and career at Southern Arkansas University. The infielder batted .393 with 20 doubles, 20 homers, 49 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 25 attempts over 53 games with the Muleriders in 2017, making him the only player in all of NCAA baseball to record 20 or more doubles, homers, and stolen bases. He was the unanimous Great American Conference Player of the Year, a First Team NCBWA and ABCA All-American, a Rawlings Second Team All-American, and one of 12 finalists for the Tino Martinez Division-II Player of the Year award. Originally from Prescott, Arkansas, Rucker, who was teammates with former Miner Billy Germaine as a sophomore and junior, earned all-conference honors each of his four years at SAU, becoming the first player in conference history to achieve the feat.

Austin Call joins the black and gold from Tarleton State University in Texas, a program that has also produced former Miners Pete Perez, Miguel Ramirez and Britt Robertshaw. He batted .342 with seven homers and 40 RBIs in 45 games as a senior to take home Second Team All-Lone Star Conference honors as a senior in 2017. The infielder from Roseville, California also played one season at Abilene Christian University, where he was teammates with current Miners pitcher Nick Palacios, and two seasons at American River College in California, where former Miners pitcher and coach Preston Vancil works as the pitching coach.

Julian Russell comes to Southern Illinois after five seasons at Chicago State University, where he was teammates with recent Miners signee Noe Arteaga. A shortstop from Chicago, Russell batted .258 with six homers and 20 RBIs while putting up a .951 fielding percentage in 268 chances on defense in 2017 as a redshirt senior.

Adding to their pitching staff, Billy Griffin comes to the Miners after playing four years at Washington College in Maryland. The southpaw went 4-3 with a 3.73 ERA over 10 starts for the Shoremen, striking out 81 while walking just 10 batters and permitting 56 hits in 60 1/3 innings as a senior, leading the Centennial Conference with 12.08 strikeouts per nine innings. The lefty, who hails from Middletown, Maryland, also posted a 2.52 ERA in seven games, striking out 30 and walking 11 in 39 1/3 innings as a junior to take home all-conference honorable mention honors.

“I am very excited about the crop of new rookies coming in this spring training,” Miners manager Mike Pinto said. “It will certainly be a spirited atmosphere in spring training as all these very talented players compete for spots on our roster, and for important roles with our team this season.”

Evansville Otters extend Kyano Cummings

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters have signed left-handed pitcher Kyano Cummings to a contract extension.

Cummings, a Cicero, N.Y. native, joined the Otters before last season after starting the year with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League.

“Kyano is coming off a great rookie year,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “We’re excited to have him back for this season.”

In 50 appearances on the mound with Evansville in 2017, Cummings struck out 58 batters and finished with a 1.22 ERA in 73.2 innings.

He also earned seven saves and was named the Jason Simontacchi Rookie of the Year in a league-wide process that included broadcasters, general managers, field managers, coaches and local media.

“We saw last year that he is a versatile reliever that can throw everyday,” McCauley said. “He will be a prominent figure in our bullpen during the late innings.”

Cummings graduated from Siena College in 2016 and he set the Saints’ single-season strikeout record with 91 during his senior year. Cummings finished his college career with 169 strikeouts in 195.1 innings.

Prior to Evansville, Cummings also played in the California Winter League, where he finished 4-1 with a 1.08 ERA in 19.1 innings.

The Otters made an additional move, signing left-handed pitcher Austin Nicely.

Nicely was drafted in the 10th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft from Spotswood High School in Penn Laird, Va. by the Houston Astros and split time between Greeneville, Tri-City and Quad Cities from 2013-16.

He pitched 131.2 innings in affiliated baseball, made 23 starts and won seven games in finishing with a 5.47 ERA in four seasons.

“Austin is an experienced starter that we’re hoping can fill in the rotation,” McCauley said. “He impressed (pitching coach) Max (Peterson) and I with his bullpen sessions and he was recommended to us by a trusted scout with Seattle Mariners.”

Evansville will celebrate Bosse Field’s Opening Night May 11 against the Washington Wild Things at 6:35 p.m. The Otters are hosting a job fair Saturday at Bosse Field from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Evansville Otters Extend Luc Rennie

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

Rennie, a San Diego, Calif. native, joined the Otters before the 2016 season after spending time in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization.

“I’m looking forward to having Luc back,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “He’s coming off a great season for us and hopefully he’ll continue to improve.”

Rennie made 13 appearances on the mound for Evansville last season with 12 starts. In 77.1 innings, he struck out 66 batters while finishing with a 2.91 ERA and 7-5 record.

“He was able to pound strikes last year with exceptional movement on his fastball,” McCauley said. “Luc will be in our starting rotation.”

In 32 career appearances with the Otters, Rennie has struck out 112 in 130.2 innings with a 4.75 ERA.

He was drafted in the 16th round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft from Torrey Pines High School in San Diego by the Orioles and split time between Frederick, Delmarva and Aberdeen from 2012-15.

He pitched 221.1 innings in affiliated baseball, winning 11 games and striking out 188 in four seasons.

Evansville will celebrate Bosse Field’s Opening Night May 11 against the Washington Wild Things at 6:35 p.m. The Otters are hosting a job fair Saturday at Bosse Field from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Evansville Otters Extend Hillson and Montano

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters have signed infielders Taylor Hillson and Lance Montano to contract extensions.

Hillson, a Mansfield Pa. native, joined the Otters last season after playing for Mansfield University.

As a senior in 2016, he started all 46 games at shortstop and led the team with a .372 batting average while scoring 33 runs. He finished that season with 13 doubles and 24 RBIs. Noted for his defense, Hillson had a .921 fielding percentage in his career at Mansfield.

With Evansville in 2017, Hillson appeared in 17 games and collected eight hits and two doubles. He also drew six walks.

“Taylor showed a lot of promise last year and I believe he learned a lot about the commitment required to play professionally,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said. “We’re looking forward to seeing him this spring competing for one of the infield positions.”

Montano came to Evansville last season after playing for the University of Rio Grande (Ohio).

In 2016, Montano hit .332 and finished with 52 RBIs, 11 doubles, one triple and five home runs. Montano played in the California Winter League in 2017, where he hit .306 in 17 games.

Montano appeared in 41 games last season for the Otters and finished with a .242 batting average. He collected 18 runs and finished with eight RBIs.

“Lance will be the only returning first baseman and hopefully he is ready to compete for an everyday job there,” McCauley said. “We saw glimpses of the power and defense needed, we just need to see it on a more consistent basis.”

The Otters made an additional move, signing right-handed pitcher Sam Thoele. An Effingham, Ill. native, Thoele played collegiately at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Thoele was drafted in the 14th round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft by the Colorado Rockies. He pitched in the Rockies’ organization from 2015-17, splitting time between Grand Junction, Asheville, Lancaster and Boise. In 80 games, he had a 4.52 ERA and finished with 17 saves in 81.2 innings.

“He had interesting numbers with the Rockies’ organization and it made us want to see him in spring training,” McCauley said. “Sam is going to be competing for a late bullpen role, possibly as our closer.”

Southern Illinois Miners Sign Four From California Winter League

Marion, IL (March 6, 2018) – The Southern Illinois Miners announce that they have signed four players from the California Winter League to their 2018 roster, welcoming infielders Jake Willsey and Cletis Avery along with pitchers Kyle Brown and Noe Arteaga to the club.

Willsey is coming off a four-year collegiate career at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he was an outstanding defender and reliable hitter at second base. He clubbed nine homers as a senior in 2017 and put up a .983 fielding percentage, making just five errors in over 300 chances in the field while also turning 53 double plays in just 58 games. As a junior, he made Second Team All-American Athletic Conference for the Green Wave, batting .265 with 10 homers and 31 RBIs in 2016 while committing just six errors in over 250 chances defensively. For his career, the Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts native batted .256 with 19 homers and 70 RBIs in 204 games, and turned 139 double plays to rank second in program history.

While playing for the Palm Springs Power in the CWL, Willsey batted .375 in 40 at-bats while leading the team with 15 runs scored and tying for the team-best with 11 RBIs in only 15 games.

Avery is coming off an outstanding senior year at Presbyterian College in NCAA Division-I, batting .265 with four homers, 34 RBIs, 19 doubles and 19 stolen bases in 26 attempts while starting all 61 games for the Blue Hose in 2017 along with a .942 fielding percentage in over 250 chances in the field. A middle infielder who played shortstop and second base at Presbyterian, Avery batted .269 with five home runs, 30 RBIs, 14 doubles and 15 stolen bases in 57 contests as a junior in 2016 after helping lead St. John’s River State College in Florida to back-to-back conference titles in 2014 and 2015.

Also playing for the Power this winter, Avery batted .341 with 10 runs scored (ranking second only to fellow Miners signee Jake Willsey), 11 RBIs (tying with Willsey for the team lead), three doubles and a pair of triples in 15 contests.

A tall left-handed pitcher from Arroyo Grande, California, Kyle Brown comes to the Miners after finishing his college career at Cal State – Monterey Bay, where over 17 appearances he struck out 25 while walking only nine in 25 1/3 innings. The 6’6” southpaw was outstanding at Long Beach State as a junior as well, posting a 1.50 ERA as a reliever over 17 appearances with 11 strikeouts and only four walks in 2016. He also played two seasons at the College of Southern Nevada.

With the Power in the CWL, Brown was outstanding on the hill, going 3-0 with a 0.70 ERA in seven games, six of which were starts. In 20 innings, he allowed just 14 hits and six walks with 22 strikeouts.

Arteaga, a Chicago native, comes downstate to start his pro career with the Miners after pitching two years at Chicago State University. In 20 games as a senior, Arteaga struck out 34 batters in 43 2/3 innings. The 6’2” right-hander also played two seasons at Danville Area Community College in Virginia after a high school career at Gordon Tech in his hometown.

Arteaga was a strikeout artist while pitching for Palm Springs this winter, fanning 20 batters in only 13 innings on the mound over seven games while also making four starts. He finished the CWL season with a record of 2-1.

“It was a pleasure managing and evaluating Noe Artega, Cletis Avery, Kyle Brown and Jake Willsey,” said Miners Scouting and Player Acquisition Coordinator Casey Dill, who managed all four with the Palm Springs Power in the CWL. “Mike (Pinto) and I began the scouting process on these players once the Frontier League season ended. They are all players that attended our tryout in Southern Illinois- they all stood out and showed very well, and we wanted to see them play more before making any decisions. The CWL provided a platform to see how these players compete on a daily basis, get to know them as men, and compare their ability with other players in the league.”

“I was able to provide Mike and the rest of the Miners’ coaching staff with in-depth scouting reports and even video to better help us make our decision as a group,” Dill added. “What we concluded was that these four players could all potentially have roles that would help the team win baseball games, as well as represent the organization to the standard that is required by all Miners players.”

Normal CornBelters add Marcus Guzman

NORMAL, Illinois (March 5, 2018) – The CornBelters have added outfielder Marcus Guzman to their 2018 Frontier League roster.

Guzman played for Southeastern University (Lakeland, FL) for the 2017 season where he had 65 hits in 60 games played leading to a .348 batting average. He finished his time at Southeastern with a career batting average of .365, 65 RBI’s, 102 runs scored, and 125 hits.

The 6-foot-1-inch outfielder also displayed stellar base running and defense during his time at Southeastern University as he finished with a .980 fielding percentage playing in 110 games. In 2017, Guzman did not commit one error which led him to win a Sun Conference Gold Glove award. Guzman also led the Sun Conference in stolen bases with 41 in 2017 adding to his total of 65 during his career at Southeastern.

Before his time at Southeastern, Guzman played two years at St. Petersburg College where he finished with .360 batting average with a .398 on-base percentage. On the defense side,he had a .985 fielding percentage with just one error in 67 chances.

Manager Billy Horn hopes Guzman’s skillset can generate a spark in the CornBelters lineup. “Marcus brings a different dynamic to the ball club. A combination of excellent speed, a solid bat in the lineup and great OF play was what he displayed in college and were excited to see him bring that to the club this season.”

The 23-year-old brings youth and agility to the Normal lineup. Guzman majored in Sports Management during his time at St. Petersburg and Southeastern.

Evansville Otters Bring Back Entire Coaching Staff

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters and manager Andy McCauley announced the team is bringing back the entire coaching staff from last season after advancing to the Frontier League playoffs for the second consecutive season in 2017.

McCauley is entering his ninth season as manager of the Otters. Since replacing Wayne Krenchicki in 2010, McCauley has set franchise records in games managed (718) and wins (366).

Familiar faces will accompany him in the dugout at Bosse Field.

Charles “Boots” Day returns for his seventh season with the Otters and he will again serve as the bench coach in 2018. Day was the franchise’s first manager in 1995, leading the team to a 31-38 record after a playing career that included stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Montreal Expos over a six-year period.

“Boots brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our staff,” McCauley said. “He continues to do a great job recruiting and scouting at the California Winter League along with instructing our outfielders.”

Bobby Segal will be in his third season with the team as hitting coach this summer. Segal, an Indiana University graduate, served as a collegiate hitting coach for nine seasons and a summer coach for five years before joining the Otters in 2016.

“His tireless work ethic and commitment to his hitters made an immediate impact for us,” McCauley said. “Bobby’s collegiate contacts have been very helpful in finding successful rookie players.”

Max Peterson returns to Evansville for his fifth season as pitching coach. Peterson, a San Diego native, was hired in 2014 after a five-year playing career that included time in the Oakland A’s and Chicago White Sox organizations.

“Max has done a fantastic job with the pitching staff since he came to Evansville,” McCauley said. “He’s a great communicator, well organized and is a major contributor on our staff.”

Rob Watson will continue in his role as an assistant coach specializing in player procurement and Phil Britton will serve as the catching instructor. Watson was on McCauley’s first staff in Evansville during the 2010 season while Britton played under McCauley with Evansville in 2011, finishing the season with two home runs and 15 RBIs.

Evansville will celebrate Bosse Field’s Opening Night May 11 against the Washington Wild Things at 6:35 p.m.

Normal CornBelters add Pascual Santiago to Coaching Staff

NORMAL, Illinois (March 2, 2018) – The CornBelters have added Pascual Santiago to their coaching staff for the 2018 season.

Santiago is no stranger to the Frontier League as he previously served as a pitching coach for the Joliet Slammers. In 2017, Santiago managed the Old Orchard Beach Surge of the Empire League located in Maine. There he led the team to the Empire League Championship series and was awarded Manager of the Year.

Starting his coaching career in 2002, Santiago served as an assistant coach with Lewis University Flyers. Santiago then moved to a pitching coach role with Moraine Valley Community College and Olive Harvey City College. Santiago accepted an associate head coach and hitting coach position for Robert Morris University, where he contributed to a conference championship. Santiago made the transition from college to the Independent leagues starting out as a pitching coach with the Windy City Thunderbolts.

After his stint with Windy City, Santiago moved to Gary SouthShore RailCats for three seasons winning the American Association Championship in 2013 serving as an assistant/first base coach. There he made a return to the Frontier League as a pitching coach for Joliet.

First-Year manager Billy Horn acknowledges that Santiago’s past experiences will be beneficial to the CornBelters organization, stating that “Pascual is the perfect fit for the organization. He is a seasoned veteran when it comes to independent baseball. He has coached third-base and worked with hitters for the past decade or so and I am looking forward to him taking on those same duties in Normal this season. He has the perfect temperament and personality that will fit into our philosophy.”

Washington Wild Things Add Catcher Thomas, Place Catcher Waln on Suspended List

WASHINGTON, Pa. (March 1) – Today the Washington Wild Things announced a roster move, as the team has signed 2017 Winthrop graduate and catcher Babe Thomas. In a corresponding move, the Wild Things have placed catcher Carson Waln on the suspended list.

Thomas played four NCAA seasons at Winthrop University prior to graduating from the school in 2017. Over the course of four years with the Eagles, Thomas, a catcher, slashed .267/.384/.385 with 20 career home runs and 131 career runs batted in. His best season came when he was a senior, when he hit .287 with a .386 on-base percentage and .488 slugging percentage in 58 games. His 21 extra-base hits were his highest total for a single season, and those included 10 home runs and a career-best 46 RBI.

“We have been following Babe’s journey since last summer. His family has strong ties to the Wheeling area and his father actually played collegiately at West Liberty in the late 80’s,” said assistant general manager Tony Buccilli. “Being the son of a successful coach, Babe carries strong baseball IQ and a great feel for the game. Babe was quite disruptive offensively in his senior season at Winthrop and we look forward to seeing how his style of play will translate professionally.”

It’s the first professional contract for the South Carolina native, and he is excited for the opportunity.

“[It’s] mind-blowing. It just shows if you put in hard work day in and day out that anything is possible,” said Thomas. “Winthrop helped me become a great ball player and [gain valuable] discipline. I’m excited to come and help an already-successful team.”

In terms of a description of himself on the field, Thomas said he plays hard and “with a chip on his shoulder.”

In a corresponding move, catcher Carson Waln has been placed on the suspended list. The team had signed Waln earlier this offseason.

““Carson made us aware of some changes to his situation, which ultimately makes him unavailable to play in 2018,” said Buccilli. “We wish him nothing but the best in his life path away from the game.”