SAUGET, Ill. – Shawn Blackwell and Aaron Dudley of the Normal CornBelters have been named the Week 4 Frontier League Pitcher and Player of the Week as chosen by Pointstreak, the official statistical provider of the Frontier League and the Independent Professional Baseball Federation.
Shawn Blackwell, a 6’5 righty earns his first Pitcher of the Week honors as a strong reliever for the CornBelters over the last week. Blackwell had his number called upon five out of the six times over the last week by Manager, Brooks Carey. Blackwell proved to be a worthy closer in the series against the Gateway Grizzlies when he secured all 3 saves in the series. Over the last week, Blackwell has managed 3 saves, 9 strikeouts, with 6 2/3 innings pitched, 0 runs allowed and only surrendering 4 hits and 1 walk.
Currently on the season, Blackwell looks to continue his hot streak as he is sitting on a 1.92 ERA with 11 appearances, 4 saves, 3 wins, 24 strikeouts, 18.2 innings pitched, with 5 walks and 16 hits.
Though this is Blackwell’s first Pitcher of the Week Honors, he is no stranger to the Frontier League and Independent ball. In 2013 and 2014, Blackwell played for the Washington Wild Things and was selected to the 2014 All-Star game where he pitched 1 inning and had 2 strikeouts. In addition to his Independent career, during 2015 and 2016 season, the Houston native played ball in American Association with the Sioux Falls Canaries and the Sioux City Explorers. Shawn spent the 2010 and 2011 portion of his career with the Texas Rangers organization in when he played Rookie-Ball with the Arizona-League Rangers.
Aaron Dudley continues to make his mark in the Frontier League. The powerful first-baseman now earns his 2nd player of the week honors. His first came on July 5, 2015.. His hot streak started when the CornBelters took on the Gateway Grizzlies. In the first game of the series he went 2 for 2 with a home run, 3 RBI, and drew 2 walks. Over the last 6 games he is batting .545, with 22 at-bats, 12 hits, 5 doubles, 3 homers, and 7 runs scored. His slugging percentage over the course of the week was .648.
On the season, the Toledo, Ohio native is sitting on a .366 average with 71 at-bats, 15 runs scored, 26 hits with 8 doubles, 4 homers, 18 RBI, 17 walks, and 2 stolen bases. Dudley has also been a solid defensive infielder. His Fielding Percentage sits at .98 with 17 assists and 178 put-outs with just 4 errors.
Dudley continues to be the cornerstone for the Normal CornBelters. Dudley has been with Normal since 2013. Though this is Dudley’s 2nd player of the week award, he has been named to the Frontier League All-Star game twice in his career, in 2014 and 2016. In 2016, Dudley led the Frontier League in RBI with 80 and was 2nd in total home-runs with 18, just 9 behind then and current teammate Nolan Meadows. Dudley spent some time bouncing around in A, A+, and AA for the Marlins between 2010 and 2013 before joining the CornBelters.
The CornBelters are currently sitting on an 11-10 record and was just recently swept by the 2016 West Division Champions, the Southern Illinois Miners. The CornBelters look to bounce back as they take on the Joliet Slammers for their next series. The CornBelters are currently 6-4 of their last 10. This is also the first time since August 15, 2014 that the CornBelters had Pitcher and Player of the Week honors named in the same week. The last duo to do this was Cullen Babin and Richard Lucas
The Frontier League is currently in its 25th season in 2017 and includes 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, and 32 former Frontier League players have played in the Major Leagues.