BOOMERS RE-SIGN FOUR FOR 2019

The Schaumburg Boomers, presented by Wintrust Community Bankshave made strides recently in adding to their 2019 roster. The Boomers have signed four players from the 2018 roster to contracts with the team. Those players include: 2018 All-Stars pitcher Payton Lobdell and infielder Jack Parenty, left-handed pitcher James Mulry, and outfielder Clint Hardy.

Right-handed pitcher Payton Lobdell returns for his second season with the Boomers after being acquired via trade at the start of the 2018 season from the Lake Erie Crushers. Lobdell enters his third season in the Frontier League after splitting time in 2017 between the Southern Illinois Miners and Lake Erie. Last season, Lobdell was selected to the 2018 All-Star game after a tremendous first half of the season as he ranked amongst the best in the league with a 2.80 ERA and held opposing batters to just a .217 average.

“Payton was one of our most consistent starters last year. He’s a great competitor that I feel is really starting to come into his own. We look for him to be a solid guy in the rotation for us again this year,” said Manager Jamie Bennett.

Lobdell finished the season starting in 18 games with a 5-8 record along with a 4.24 ERA in 101.2 innings of work. The Huntington Beach, CA native when asked about what he loves about playing in Schaumburg he stated, “Honestly everything, from the fans, to the real surface field, to the organization itself. I believe hands down that it’s the best place to play in the Frontier League.”

Infielder Jack Parenty returns for his third season with Schaumburg. The New York native had an exceptional year being selected to the 2018 All-Star game mid-season and also a Postseason All-Star selection, which is given to the top players in the league at the conclusion of the season.

Bennett stated, “Jack has really started to grow as a professional. His improvement between ‘17 and ‘18 was very impressive and goes to show the kind of worker he is. We look for Jack to be a consistent bat at the top of the lineup for us again this year.”

Parenty finished the 2018 season second on the team and fourth in the league in batting average with a .324 average. He also led the team in hits with a 116 and as well as walks with 59. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there and competing for a championship, and once again playing in front of the best fans in the Frontier League”, said Parenty.

Left-handed pitcher James Mulry enters his second season with the Boomers. Coming out of relief for the Boomers in 2018, the left hander pitched 43 innings with a record of 4-0 and a solid 2.30 ERA.

After appearing in team high 40 games in 2018 Bennett stated, “He can pitch in practically any role and he’s someone we trust late in the ballgame.”

When asked what Mulry is looking to bring to the Boomers in 2019, he said “I hope to bring back some versatility out of the bullpen again. I’m preparing now to be able to pitch in any situation it may be, and put us in a good place to win whenever I get to take the mound.” The Boston, MA native had a short stint in 2017 with the Ottawa Champions of the Can-Am League, before signing with the Boomers for 2018. “Last summer was some of the most fun I’ve ever had on a baseball field, and I attribute that to the great group of guys we had. I look forward to getting back to Schaumburg and competing again with next year’s team,” said Mulry.

Outfielder Clint Hardy will also return for his second season with Schaumburg. Hardy appeared in 55 games for the Boomers as an outfielder and designated hitter. The Augusta, GA native hit a .241 average for the Boomers in 2018 as well as 41 hits in those games.

“Clint showed some promising things in his rookie season. He has some unique ability and we look forward to him improving on his consistency and becoming a productive part of our lineup,” said Bennett.

Hardy was signed late in the season with Traverse City in 2017 and wasn’t able to get a chance to showcase himself, as the year prior in 2016 he batted .364 for the Savannah Bananas of the Collegiate Coastal Plains League. Hardy attended Augusta University where he ranks fourth all-time in career batting average with .372 in 123 games. “I look forward to once again playing in front of the best fans, as well as competing to bring a Frontier League championship back to Schaumburg,” stated Hardy.

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

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

PAIR OF BEACH BUMS DEEPEN WILD THINGS’ STAFF

The Wild Things announced today the signing of two former Traverse City Beach Bums, LHP John Havird and RHP Tyler Barss.

Entering his third year of professional baseball Havird has made a collective 36 starts. Totaling over 209 innings, he has struck out 170 batters and posted a 3.73 ERA. Over 2 seasons he has a career record of 9-16 but those numbers are deceiving, as 12 of Havird’s 16 losses have come with his offense scoring 2 or fewer runs in the contest.

As an Ohio State Buckeye he made 16 starts and earned 10 wins. His best season came as a senior where he thew 94 innings and helped OSU to a 44-20-1 record.

“Reliable starters who routinely throw 100+ innings do not grow on trees. His development over two seasons was something we followed” said Assistant General Manager Tony Buccilli. “He works at quick pace, attacks and has been a challenge for hitters from both sides of the plate. John was very excited about the opportunity we outlined in Washington and we are lucky to have him. He has top of the rotation ability and a great feel for the game.”

Beach Bum teammate Tyler Barss also joins the East Division Champions after becoming a free agent for ’19. Making 23 appearances out of the bullpen the righty struck out 40 and ranked top 5 on staff with a 3.08 ERA. He was used in a late/setup role in Traverse, something he also succeed with during his collegiate times.

Barss finished his college career in 2018 at the University of Rhode Island, where he was teammates with recently signed Wild Thing RHP Taso Stathopolous. The New Hampshire native collected 29 saves over his tenure and struck out 88 batters in the final 86+ innings he threw. In 2017 he secured a sparkling 1.38 ERA, which was one of the best in the Atlantic 10.

“Tyler was a guy we had circled as a priority sign. He was dominant versus right-handed hitters in his first season professionally” said Assistant General Manager Tony Buccilli. “Manager Gregg Langbehn raved about the kid’s off-speed and pitchability, so it was a no-brainer for us. We expect to slot Tyler into a back-end role and believe we can iron out some wrinkles to make him dynamic versus lefties as well.”

The Wild Things look to keep their East Division crown as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

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

ARIZONA NATIVE CORY ERICKSON JOINS WASHINGTON CATCHING CORPS

The Washington Wild Things announced today the signing of former Normal CornBelter, Cody Erickson.

Listed as a catcher, Erickson also saw meaningful time both in the infield and outfield. In 64 games played he hit .236 with 14 doubles and 20 runs batted in. Behind the dish he threw out an impressive 33% of runners despite being new to the position.

Erickson played collegiately at NAIA powerhouse Tennessee Wesleyan. Over the years the Wild Things have hosted a handful of Bulldogs, including LHP Al Yevoli and RHP Zach Fleshman. As a senior in 2017 he slashed 13 doubles, 5 HRs, and finished the season hitting .333 for the club that went 41-20. Also impressive was the 21 walks and 19 hit by pitches he accumulated versus only striking out 26 times.

“We hosted Normal late last summer, after they lost their starting catcher, and I was impressed by what I saw the by the rookie they played. I thought he was pretty natural behind the plate and controlled the running game respectively. ” said Assistant General Manager Tony Buccilli. “When Cody became available I was very surprised when he told me that he only begun catching recently. He may be listed as a catcher on our roster, but we look to showcase Cody’s versatility in the field. We have had a lot of success adding players from other teams, exposing them to our culture and putting them in positions to succeed. We feel very comfortable with his ability to contribute to our club.”

The Wild Things look to start the return to the playoffs as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

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

RENT ONE PARK TO HOST SOFTBALL CANADA IN 2019

The Southern Illinois Miners are proud to announce that they have reached an agreement in principle with Softball Canada, the Canadian national softball team, to play an approximate 25-game National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) schedule at Rent One Park in 2019, with an option for the 2020 season.

The games, presented by visitSI, will help the team prepare for the upcoming 2019 Olympic qualifiers and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. The team will be officially known as the Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois, and be entirely made up of players from the Canadian national team.

Softball Canada recently finished third at the 2018 Women’s Softball World Championship in August, and is currently ranked third in the world by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC). They will play a 50-game schedule in National Pro Fastpitch overall, facing off with some of the best players in the world, including current and former Olympians. Approximately half of these games will take place at Rent One Park in June and July while the Miners are on the road. Game dates and times will be announced at a later date.

In addition, the Miners will partner with Southern Illinois University to provide the team with housing and training facilities in their time in Southern Illinois.

“With the growth and interest in girls’ and women’s softball over the last decade, this is an incredible opportunity for fans to see world-class, best-of-the-best talent right here at Rent One Park,” Miners COO Mike Pinto said. “These women, including former and future Olympians, could be incredible role models for young girls in our area to see what can be achieved with dreams and hard work.”

“This is an exciting partnership for our program,” added Mark Smith, head coach of Softball Canada. “The Miners organization has a tradition of excellence, and we intend to build on that legacy here in Southern Illinois.”

National Pro Fastpitch will be entering their 16th season in 2019. Teams currently hail from three continents, with players representing the national teams of six different countries in international competition. They include the best of the best softball players in the world, including Women’s College World Series Champions and MVP’s, NCAA record holders, various conference players of the year and many All-Americans.

“We are thrilled that Southern Illinois was chosen as the host region for Team Canada,” Shannon Johnson, CEO of visitSI, said. “visitSI is extremely honored to be the presenting sponsor of the Wild. This gives us an opportunity to showcase our region on an international front. We are also excited about the potential economic impact this could have, both during the season and in the future, as members of the various NPF teams experience beautiful Southern Illinois.”

Be sure to follow the Wild on Facebook at Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois, as well as on Twitter and Instagram at CanadianWildSI as they prepare for the 2019 season!

BOOMERS SIGN FOUR PLAYERS FOR 2019

The Schaumburg Boomers, presented by Wintrust Community Banks, are already filling the roster for 2019. Field Manager Jamie Bennett has already signed four players to join the Boomers in 2019: RHP David Palmer, RHP Jack Landwehr, RHP Matt Williams, and OF Connor Oliver.

RHP David Palmer, native of Islip Terrace, NY, is entering his first year as a professional baseball player with the Boomers. Palmer graduated from the University of New Haven in May 2018 and had a remarkable senior year campaign after having an 8-3 record with a 1.89 ERA in 90.1 IP. Palmer played a major role in helping the Chargers pitching staff to the lowest team ERA in all of Division I and Division II schools. The right hander held opposing batters to a .206 average, including pitching 35 consecutive innings before allowing a run to start his senior year.

When asked what Palmer can bring to the Boomers in 2019, Jamie Bennett said, “Palmer had an outstanding college career and has always been a strike thrower with some pitchability.” Palmer earned NE10 Co-Pitcher of the Year and All-American honors, as well as being named NE10 First Team, D2CCA All-Region First Team, NCBWA East Region First Team, and ABCA East Region Second Team. In his final two seasons as a Charger, Palmer accumulated a 16-4 record with a 1.72 ERA in 167.2 innings of work. “We think he is capable of coming in and competing for a spot in our rotation,” added Bennett.

RHP Jack Landwehr enters his second year in the Frontier League and first year with the Boomers after playing with the Normal Cornbelters during the 2018 season. Landwehr posted an 8-3 overall record with a 3.32 ERA for Normal in 2018. Landwehr was selected to the 2018 Frontier League All-Star game, as well a Runner-Up for Rookie of the Year last season. “Jack had a great rookie campaign last year in Normal,” said Bennett. Adding, “He was a consistent starter all year and we look for him to come in and hold a steady spot in our rotation.” Landwehr is a Mount Prospect, IL native where he graduated from Illinois State University in May of 2017. In his senior year campaign at ISU, Landwehr led the team in pitching appearances (24) and strikeouts (57), while also sharing the team lead in saves (2).

RHP Matt Williams enters his third season in the Frontier League and first with the Boomers after playing with the Traverse City Beach Bums the previous two seasons. With Traverse City, Williams posted a 7-4 overall record with a 3.38 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 96 innings pitched as a reliever. His best season came last season in 2018 when he posted a 5-2 overall record and a 2.73 ERA.

When asked about what Williams can bring to the Boomers, Bennett said, “Matt has proven to be a guy in this league that can get outs late in the game. Between college and pro ball he has pitched in several roles and we look for him to be a vital part of our pitching staff.” Williams, a Geneva, IL native graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2017 after transferring from Northern Illinois in 2014. His junior year Williams tied the NCAA Division II record with 20 saves in a single season, while also carrying a 0.84 ERA across 43.1 IP and 32 appearances, a GVSU single-season record. Williams finished his career with 103.1 IP and 146 strikeouts, while also setting the record for lowest career ERA (min. 100 IP) with the Lakers with a stellar 1.45 ERA. He became the All-Time NCAA Division II leader in saves (40) in 2017.

OF Connor Oliver enters his fourth season in the Frontier League and also his first with the Boomers after playing with the Lake Erie Crushers in 2016 and 2017, and splitting time in 2018 with the River City Rascals and Traverse City Beach Bums. Oliver was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 23rd round of the 2013 MLB Draft as a 19 year old from the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota in Bradenton, FL.

The then Churchton, MD native, who now resides in Stafford, VA, started his pro career with the Braves in the Gulf Coast League (Rk) in 2013, which in 2014 was moved up to Single-A with the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League. He split time in 2015 with Rome and the Carolina Mudcats, the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, before signing with the Lake Erie Crushers in 2016. Oliver played with Lake Erie the majority of the 2016 season before getting signed by the New York Yankees and assigned to the Advanced-A Tampa Yankees before returning to Lake Erie in 2017. After spending three years in the Frontier League, Bennett says that “his experience should serve us well on the field and in the clubhouse.” Oliver has a batting average of .239 with 31 HR’s in his three seasons in the Frontier League, and Bennett says that he has enjoyed watching Oliver play the past couple years in the league. “He is a special player with some unique athletic abilities and brings energy to the ballpark every day,” added Bennett.

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

Season ticket packages and group and hospitality offerings for the 2019 season can be reserved by calling (847) 461-3695 or emailing info@boomersbaseball.com.

ALL-AMERICAN OUTFIELDER JOINS WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things announced today the signing of Tarleton State All-American OF Blake Adams.

In 2018 Adams made his professional debut late with the Winnipeg Goldeyes hitting .245, seeing time in both LF and RF. He collected 12 hits in the 15 games he appeared in.

As a Texan, Adams posted video game like numbers. His senior campaign was regarded as the best season in program history, doing his damage from the leadoff spot. Adams drove in 69 runs, scored 74 runs himself, slugged 16 doubles and smashed 17 homeruns. The outfielder also led the Lone Star Conference in slugging percentage (.781) and hit by pitches (25). All of his success culminated towards a NCAA Regional appearance for the program and 3 All-American team selections for the senior.

“Blake has some very special attributes. We are talking about an athlete who is 6’2 215lbs, who got on base over 52% of the time, who hit 17 homeruns and stole 14 bases ” said Assistant General Manager Tony Buccilli. “This kid has the opportunity to be an impact addition for us. In conversations I can tell what kind of worker we are getting and I can guarantee that no player will come to camp better prepared than Blake. We emphasize speed, power combination players with our signings and Blake is a prototype example of that mold.”

Adams knows the style of game he wants to play and what he brings to the table.

“My bat is my best attribute and I use my speed to show my athleticism on the bases and in the outfield,” said Adams. “I’m very excited to be part of a team that’s hungry to make another deep playoff run. Pro baseball is much more precise, with less room for error than the college level. I look forward to the challenge of pitchers adjusting to hitters faster ”

The Wild Things look to start the return to the playoffs as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

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

UTRVG’S FRIDAY NIGHT FIREBALLER JOINS WASHINGTON

The Washington Wild Things announced today the signing of RHP Carter Johnson to their growing 2019 roster.

In 2018, Johnson made his professional debut with the Winnipeg Goldeyes and amassed 14 appearances. As a reliever, he totaled 21 innings of work and 13 strikeouts.

The 6’2 righty began his college career at San Jose State University before finding his path with UT Rio Grande Valley. Over his two seasons with the Vasqueros Carter grew into his role as a power pitcher. Making 22 starts and shouldering 133 innings, Johnson retired 147 batters via strikes. His best season was in 2017 where hitters could only collect 64 hits in 80 innings, but struck out 87 times.

“There was an instant comfort with Carter during conversations. Confidence is a big part of his game, but he certainly has personality and character you look for. Over a long season you need that balance of humor with competitiveness and a low heart rate ” said Assistant General Manager Tony Buccilli. “Carter is eager to shift to a reliever full time and I think he will add a little fire to our pen. He has pitched with the spotlight on him as a Friday night starter in college, so he should naturally feed off that energy and pressure.”

Johnson believes he is in a position to succeed with Washington and he looks forward to bringing his intensity to the mound.

“Winnipeg was a great start to my professional career. It was a blessing to be in that environment to start out. The intensity of the fans, big stadiums, and caliber of the teams that we played against really showed me what pro ball was all about,” said Johnson. “I am a very competitive person and I bring that presence to the mound. I love to compete and do whatever it takes in order to get the win, that’s all that I care about. Win games and everything else will work out. I’m excited to be a part of this winning culture, it’s always more fun to win, and we play to win the game. ”

The Wild Things look to continue that winning culture as they open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

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

LEAGUE MVP JAMES HARRIS TRADED TO WINNIPEG

The Wild Things announced today that 2019 Frontier League MVP James Harris has been moved to the Winnipeg Goldeyes for INF Jordan Ebert.

In 2018, Harris saw action in 94 games and was a driving force for the Thing’s East Division title. He was named a 2018 All Star, 2018 Postseason award winner and the second MVP in franchise history.

The former 1st round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays drove in 64 runs and stole 26 bases, while hitting .305. Doing all his work in the leadoff spot, the atypical Harris smashed 22 doubles, 8 triples and 16 homeruns.

“First and foremost I want to thank James for investing so much in our organization. He was a leader in our clubhouse and delivered on the field time and time again” said Assistant General Manager Tony Buccilli. “James and I had a conversation about his future and after doing much in this league it was in our best interest to help him open the next chapter of his career. James will go down as one of the most dominant players in Wild Things’ history despite only playing for Washington for a year and a half”.

Harris had nothing but fond memories and admiration when talking about his tenure.

“It’s been a lot of fun playing in Washington. From ownership, the front office and the fans, this has been the most fun I have had playing baseball in my career,” said Harris. “I wish the organization nothing but good luck in the future! Thank you all for the love and support at the ballpark and I look forward to what the next chapter of my career holds”

The Winnipeg Goldeyes send Washington INF Jordan Ebert, who spent affiliated time with both the Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies.

Over two seasons in the American Association Ebert has hit a combined .295 with 24 doubles and 33 runs batted in. The Alabama native has been touted for the consistency of his offensive game and using versatility to round out his defensive value. After completing his college career with Auburn University he made an impact with the Royals and hit at a near .300 clip. Ebert is not new to the Wild Things, and the team believes they have an instant All-Star with his addition.

“We heavily pursued Jordan back in ’17 and thought very highly of his offensive traits. He has been overly productive as a Goldeye in all three aspects of the game”, stated Buccilli. “Jordan should be a staple at the top of our lineup as a creator. Like Jordan, we have high expectations for the 2019 season and we are going to do our best to put him in position to be among the league’s best.”

The Wild Things open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

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

WILD THINGS ADD FORMER RHODE ISLAND STANDOUT

The Wild Things announced today that the team has come to terms with right-handed pitcher Taso Stathopoulos. Stathopoulous, in signing with Washington, will join his second Frontier League team, after starting his pro career in 2018 with the Gateway Grizzlies.

In 12 games, 11 of which were starts, with the Grizzlies, the Flushing, New York, native logged 61 innings and 48 strikeouts. His first pro contract came on the heels of a successful four-year career at the University of Rhode Island.

The former St. Francis Prep High School standout pitched his way to a 3.03 career ERA at Rhode Island, pitching in 39 games (15 starts) over the course of his career with the Rams. Stathopoulos pitched 103.1 innings and fanned 77 opposing batters while walking only 35. He allowed just two home runs, and had a 6-3 record in the four seasons.

“Though we never got to face Taso during his time with Gateway, we constantly saw notes about his outings. We were impressed by his string of quality starts despite the challenges of pitching in the West Division ballparks,” said assistant general manager of baseball operations Tony Buccilli. “Taso has a pitching mentality that aligns with our core values and we believe our catchers can refine his impact professionally. We see a ton of potential from his time at Rhode Island and with the Grizzlies, so hopefully we can tap into that upside and he can be a difference maker in 2019.”

Stathopoulos said the process of signing with the Wild Things was simple.

“Once I received interest and an offer from the Wild Things, it wasn’t hard for me to say yes. I am definitely looking forward to pitch for the Wild Things organization,” said Stathopoulos. “I could not be more excited for this opportunity. Since I signed in the middle of the season this past season, Washington is the only field I have yet to play at so I am very interested to see how that atmosphere will be like. I look forward to help continue the success this next season.”

The right-hander said the biggest difference between the college game and his first taste of pro ball had to do with the competition, citing better lineups and the speed of the game.

He said some of the goals he has for 2019 involve being an all-star caliber player and to get signed by an affiliated organization. As for what he is on the mound, he said he loves competing and attacking hitters.

“I enjoy competing on the mound every game and especially in big situations,” said Stathopoulos.

The Wild Things open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

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

WASHINGTON INKS 3-TIME ALL-MAAC INFIELDER

The Wild Things announced their second acquisition of the 2018-19 offseason, with the addition of former Monmouth standout Shaine Hughes. Hughes is an infielder that comes Washington’s way fresh off his first professional baseball experience with the Martinez Clippers of the Pacific Association.

Hughes had quite the career at Monmouth. His freshman season was cut short due to injury. He’d go on to be named All-MAAC three times, being awarded first-team honors in 2016 and 2018, and second-team laurels in 2017.

The Sewell, New Jersey, native finished his career at Monmouth in the top 10 of five different career-offensive categories. His 238 hits rank him 5th on the Hawks’ all-time charts. He’s sixth in doubles with 49, 7th in both RBI, with 148, and walks, with 92, and 10th in runs scored with 141. Hughes had a career slash line of .338/.434/.482 with 49 career doubles and 16 home runs. He struck out just 87 times in 839 plate appearances.

The successful collegiate career came on the heels of a stellar high school career at Washington Township High School, where Hughes won three varsity letters and his team won three conference titles. He was named All-Conference First Team twice and was named All-South Jersey as a senior.

He’d go on to sign his first professional contract and play for the Martinez Clippers of the Pacific Association, before agreeing to sign with Washington. The initial agreement hit a snag, but assistant general manager Tony Buccilli and Hughes weathered the storm, and now Hughes is the first position player to sign with the Wild Things this offseason.

“It is nice to finally sign Shaine after our prior efforts were met by a few roadblocks. We are very excited to bring in a rookie with such a touted offensive resume,” said Buccilli. “His career speaks for itself when it comes to extra-base hits, run creation, run production and on-base ability. He plays the brand of baseball we look for and his defensive versatility across the infield is added value.”

The infield versatility Buccilli talked about was shown in Hughes’ time at Monmouth and in the Pacific Association. At Monmouth, Hughes played third base, second base and first base, and played the first two of those while he was with Martinez.

Hughes hit .331 with the Clippers in 42 games and had on OPS of 1.006. He hit eight doubles and nine home runs, while driving in 31 runs.

Hughes said he had a great experience with the Clippers and is excited to get started with Washington.

“After I graduated and my name wasn’t called in the draft I knew I wanted to keep playing baseball. I played well with the Clippers, and that’s how I ended up with the Wild Things,” said Hughes. “I am very excited to be joining a good team who is hungry for a championship.”

Some of the differences Hughes said he experienced in the jump from the college game to the pro game centered around playing everyday and the pitching.

“The jump from college to pro ball really taught me a lot about the game and helped me grow as a player,” said Hughes. “Pitchers in pro ball are more comfortable with all of their pitches so you see a lot more 2-0 and 3-1 off speed. And playing everyday is different as well. There is a lot less time to dwell on a bad game or celebrate a good game. The next day everything starts all over and you have to do it again.”

The Wild Things open the season Thursday, May 9 at River City, with the home opener slated for Friday, May 17 at Wild Things Park.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

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

FORMER EVANSVILLE MANAGER WAYNE KRENCHICKI PASSES AWAY

The Frontier League is saddened to learn of the passing today of former Evansville Otters’ field manager Wayne Krenchicki.  Wayne passed away peacefully at his home in Pittsfield, Illinois.

Wayne managed the Otters for the 2009 season and the first half of 2010.  Wayne played Major League Baseball for eight seasons, from 1979 to 1986, for the Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, and Montreal Expos.  He was a 1st round draft pick in the January phase in 1976 out of the University of Miami.  Miami inducted him into their Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.

Prior to Evansville, Wayne managed for four seasons in the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization followed by independent league stings with the Tyler Wildcatters (Texas-Louisiana League), Madison Black Wolf (Northern League), Newark/Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds (Atlantic League), Camden Riversharks (Atlantic League), and Newark Bears (Atlantic League).

More information on Wayne and his passing can be found at The Haught Corner site.

BOOMERS FRONT OFFICE RECOGNIZED WITH AWARDS

The Schaumburg Boomers, presented by Wintrust Community Banks, have started the offseason with multiple awards and nominations including winning the Frontier League’s Clint Brown Excellence in Marketing Award as well as the Schaumburg Business Association’s Rookie of the Year Award for GM Michael Larson. In addition, the Boomers were nominated for the Schaumburg Business Association’s Brian H. Burke Business of the Year Award.

The Schaumburg Boomers are proud and honored to be named the Frontier League’s first ever “Clint Brown Excellence in Marketing Award” for their creative marketing and promotional materials in 2018. The award was named for the late Florence Freedom owner who was appointed Vice President of Marketing on the Frontier League’s Board of Directors in 2010. “Clint’s background in marketing and marketing research lead to the development of this award,” Frontier League Commissioner Bill Lee says. “He truly loved the Frontier League and wanted to make it better in every way he could help. He will be missed.”  The Boomers received the award at the annual Frontier League Meetings.

In addition to receiving the Clint Brown Award, the Boomers were also been nominated by their peers within the Schaumburg Business Association (SBA) for two major awards this season: the Brian H. Burke Business of the Year Award, and the Rookie of the Year Award. At the annual Toast of Schaumburg event the Boomers were honored to win the award for Rookie of the Year for first-year GM Michael Larson, who adds “The SBA is an amazing organization filled with great businesses and professionals. It is truly an honor to be recognized for our efforts as an organization here in the Schaumburg community and we look forward to what we can do in the future.”

Ticket packages for the 2019 season can be reserved by calling (847) 461-3695.

2019 SCHEDULE UNVEILED!

The Frontier League has released its schedule for its 27th season, which will feature ten clubs playing a 96-game, full-season format.  Opening day for the 2019 season will be on Thursday, May 9, with the regular season concluding on Sunday, September 1.

CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE FILE OF THE 2019 SCHEDULE

The regular season begins on Thursday, May 10, with three games, highlighted by the Joliet Slammers celebrating their championship against the Windy City ThunderBolts.  Opening Day also features a matchup of the 2018 division winners with the River City Rascals hosting the Washington Wild Things while the Florence Freedom welcome the Lake Erie Crushers to UC Health Stadium.

All teams are in action beginning on Friday, May 10, highlighted by a rivalry matchup when the Southern Illinois Miners travel to the Evansville Otters.  Other opening weekend games feature Lake Erie hosting the Windy City ThunderBolts, the Gateway Grizzlies hosting the Schaumburg Boomers, Joliet traveling to play Florence, and the continuation of the Washington-River City series.

Schaumburg and Windy City open their home schedules on Tuesday, May 14, while Southern Illinois and Washington open their 2019 home schedules on Friday, May 17.

“Frontier League fans will notice that the League will be at 10 teams in 2019,” commented Commissioner Bill Lee.  “While we would have liked that Traverse City and Normal remain in the League, their ownership groups decided to pursue other opportunities.”

The 2019 divisional alignment remains the same aside from the departures of Normal from the West and Traverse City from the East.  The West Division features Evansville, Florence, Gateway, River City, and Southern Illinois while Joliet, Lake Erie, Schaumburg, Washington, and Windy City compose the East Division.  Clubs play their divisional opponents 12 times each, along with 12 games against one rival from the other division.  The remaining four teams are played nine games each.  The two division winners plus two wild card teams, regardless of division, advance to the playoffs.

The 2019 playoffs will begin on Tuesday, September 3 with a potential game 5 of the Championship Series scheduled for Monday, September 16.

Debuting in 1993, the Frontier League is the longest-running of the modern independent leagues and features teams in six Midwestern states, stretching from Pennsylvania to Missouri and from Kentucky to the Great Lakes.  More information and the complete 2018 schedule can be found at www.frontierleague.com.

BOSSE FIELD TO HOST INDIANA-USI CHARITY EXHIBITION GAME

Historic Bosse Field will serve as the host venue for a charity exhibition baseball game between the University of Southern Indiana and Indiana University on Saturday, October 20.

First pitch between the two programs is at 4 p.m. as the exhibition game will benefit the fight against Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA).

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Friedreich’s Ataxia is a degenerative neuro-muscular disorder that affects one in 50,000 people in the United States.

Most individuals have onset of symptoms of FA between the ages of 5 and 18 years but can occur anytime during adulthood. The Friedreich’s’s Ataxia Research Alliance is supporting research that will improve the quality and length of life for those diagnosed with FA and will lead to treatments that eliminate its symptoms. More information about FA can be found at CureFA.org.

Tickets for the exhibition game from Bosse Field are available now and are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the following locations: the USI Athletics office, Indiana Baseball Office, Southern Indiana Athletic Conference (SIAC) Baseball Programs, all Banterra Bank Evansville/Newburgh locations, and German American Bank Jasper locations. Fans also can purchase tickets online at curefa.org/baseball.

Southern Indiana’s Nathan Kuester was a group sales intern during the 2018 season for the Evansville Otters. Kuester is a senior from Rockport, Indiana and assisted the Otters with group outing sales and organizing group picnics throughout the season.

Bosse Field concessions will be open for the exhibition game October 20.

Historic Bosse Field is located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. For more information, visit gousieagles.com or call (812) 465-7165.

FORMER CHARTIERS VALLEY GRAD SIGNS WITH WASHINGTON

The Wild Things have signed their first player of the 2018-19 off-season by adding a Pittsburgh native, Josh LaPiana, to the pitching staff for 2019. The left-hander is getting ready to pitch in Australia’s winter league, and graduated from Utah in 2018, where he played his final three collegiate seasons.

LaPiana was a three-sport star at Chartiers Valley High School in nearby Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, as he not only starred on the baseball field, helping the Colts win two section championships on and off the mound, but was a two-year starting quarterback on the gridiron and a member of CV’s basketball team before his senior year.

His senior year on the baseball field was arguably his best, as he hit .500 and was 7-1 on the hill with a sub-1.00 earned run average. LaPiana then went to the University of Akron, where he pitched one season in 2015. He was teammates with current Wild Things’ pitcher James Meeker at Akron, before the school folded its baseball program at the end of that season.

LaPiana transferred to the University of Utah where he helped lead the Utes to the school’s first ever Pac-12 Championship in 2016. The southpaw logged 224.2 innings in his three seasons at Utah, and punched out 148 opposing batters in that timeframe. He appeared in 48 games at Utah, and started all but 11 of those.

“We highly value Josh’s experience competing in a league like the Pac-12. He has a resume full of pitching meaningful games versus the elite college programs and facing some of the best hitters in the country,” said assistant general manager of baseball operations Tony Buccilli. “His senior campaign was disjointed somewhat due to Utah’s needs but we believe he can be a steady contributor in our environment.”

Buccilli added, “Josh is very excited to return to Western Pennsylvania to begin his professional baseball career for his hometown Minor League team. The Pittsburgh baseball community has already expressed reassurance that we are signing not only a pro-ready player, but also a pro-ready worker.”

LaPiana will be the fourth player on the roster that hails from a WPIAL (PIAA District 7) school, joining outfielder Mick Fennell (Butler), infielder Ryan Cox (Hopewell) and Meeker (North Allegheny). LaPiana said he is thrilled to pitch in Pittsburgh again.

“I haven’t pitched in Pittsburgh in a long time and I love my hometown,” said LaPiana. “I know some of the guys on the team from growing up and playing and I’ll be excited to spend time with those guys again and have Mom, Dad, family and friends come to the park and watch me the same way I came to the park when I was younger watching Wild Things’ games in the past.”

The process for LaPiana signing with the team dates back to the end of his collegiate career.

“Tony and I had discussions last year about maybe playing, however I had a few games late in my college career where I was going 140-150 pitches a start, so it was time to slow down and get my arm back to healthy,” said LaPiana. “I had talked to him about an opportunity I’m headed to now that is playing in Australia for winter ball, and he was on board to allow me to do that. I went to Utah without them ever seeing me touch a baseball, so it was something similar here where they just signed me off word of mouth and now it’s up to me to come back in good shape ready to play.”

LaPiana’s role isn’t determined yet, but he said he’d be comfortable with anything, saying he wants to be a dominant option in whatever that role is. Ultimately, he wants to stay healthy and be ready for the whole season, in an effort to help the Wild Things continue the team’s recent success.

“I know [the Wild Things] had a great year last year and were very close to winning the whole thing,” said LaPiana. “I’m excited to learn from the guys that were there and what they thought made them successful and try and emulate that as best I can.”

The team is expecting to announce two more signings next week, as the off-season kicks into full gear. Fans can stay updated on signings and all things Wild Things by following the team’s social media accounts and website, washingtonwildthings.com.

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON WILD THINGS

The Washington Wild Things are a professional baseball team in the Frontier League that plays in Washington, PA. The 2019 schedule has not been released, but the Wild Things enjoyed a ton of success in 2018, as the team won its first East Division Championship since 2007 and came within two runs of winning the first Frontier League title in franchise history. Fans and media can stay aware of all the happenings in the Wild Things’ organization by following the team’s social media and website, washingtonwildthings.com. The organization is expecting a release of the 2019 schedule next week.