For the City Times
Four Rafter players selected by MLB Scouts to participate
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — The Northwoods League has announced the rosters for the 2017 Major League Dreams Showcase, which will be hosted by the Madison Mallards at Warner Park on Tuesday, August 8. Four Rafters have been selected to participate in the two-game event.
The annual Showcase will consist of a double-header featuring the top players from the Northwoods League who were selected by a panel of Major League Baseball Scouts. The players will participate in a day of workouts in front of scouts, which will be followed by the double-header.
The first game will start at 4:05 p.m. and will match two teams featuring a mix of North and South Division players. The players on the visiting team in this game will primarily come from St. Cloud, Battle Creek, Thunder Bay, and Duluth. The home team will be made up of players mainly from La Crosse, Mankato, Wisconsin Rapids, Eau Claire and Rochester. Augie Rodriguez of the St. Cloud Rox will skipper the visiting team while Dale Varsho of the Eau Claire Express will manage the home team.
The visiting team in this first game will be led by Northwoods League All-Stars Andy Weber (Virginia) of Thunder Bay along with Shane Selman (McNeese State) and Brent Killam (Georgetown) of the St. Cloud Rox. Killam currently has a 0.55 ERA over 14 games with 27 strikeouts in 16.1 innings.
All four Rafter players have been placed on the home team during the 4:05 p.m. game. Infielder Bryson Stott (UNLV) is joined by fellow position player and outfielder Jake Guenther (Sacramento City CC). Pitchers Isaiah Carranza (Oregon) and Layne Henderson (Azusa Pacific) are set to take the mound in the showcase.
Stott has started 51 games in the infield this year, playing in the most games out of any Rafter. The lefty has the second best average at .333 on the team, while swatting two home runs and driving in 33 runs. He also has a team-high 17 stolen bases. Guenther, an All-Star this year, is hitting .310 with six home runs and 38 runs batted in, good for second on the team.
Carranza has started in five games this season and appeared once out of the bullpen. The right-hander owns a 2.53 ERA in 32 innings. Carranza has 32 strikeouts with just eight walks on the season. Henderson, the teams closer, has converted on all 13 save chances this season. In 19 appearances out of the bullpen, the right-hander holds a 1.77 ERA, while opponents are hitting .088 against Henderson. He has given up five hits in 20 innings.
The home team in game one will feature 2017 All-Star Game Home Run Derby Champion Zach Zubia (Texas) of the Rochester Honkers. Zubia hit five home runs in the derby and currently has 17 on the season. Hunter Feduccia (LSU) of the Rockford Rivets will also play in this game. Feduccia currently leads the league in hitting with a .394 average to go along with seven home runs and 33 RBI.
The second game will start at 7:35 p.m. and will be played by two additional teams of North and South players. The visiting team for this game will be made up of players mostly from Kalamazoo, Rockford, Willmar, Wisconsin and Green Bay. The home team will have players from Madison, Lakeshore, Kenosha, Waterloo and Fond du Lac. Former MLB All-Star and World Series Champion Chris Sabo of the Green Bay Bullfrogs will be the Field Manager for the visiting team. Mallards Field Manager and former MLB catcher, Donnie Scott will be in the dugout for the home team.
In the night cap the visiting team will be led by the 2017 Northwoods League All-Star Game Star of Stars (MVP) winner Stevie Mangrum (Virginia Tech) of the Wisconsin Woodchucks. His teammates Hunter Coleman (Texas A & M), Logan Foster (Texas A & M), Orsen Josephina (Hillsborough CC) and Lenny Gwizadala (Northwood University) will join him on this roster. Josephina was a 2017 All-Star and closed out the North with two strikeouts to end the game. Other All-Stars on this team include Matthew Mika (Central Florida) of the Lakeshore Chinooks, Gus Varland (Concordia University) of the Willmar Stingers, Logan Wiley (Missouri State) of the Kenosha Kingfish and Connor Manous (Indiana) of the Kalamazoo Growlers. Pitcher Daniel Ritcheson, a high school senior from Alemany High School in California, has also been selected. Ritcheson is with the Kalamazoo Growlers and will be attending San Diego State in the fall.
Seven members of the hometown Madison Mallards will compete for the home team in the second game. This talented group of players will include 2017 Northwoods League All-Star Cole Daily (Notre Dame). Daily is currently hitting .348 with 14 stolen bases and 23 RBI in 51 games. Owen Miller (Illinois State) of the Lakeshore Chinooks will also bring his talents to Madison. Earlier this season Miller hit for the cycle twice in one week and currently has a .365 average with four doubles, two triples, two home runs and 10 RBI.
Proceeds from the Major League Dreams Showcase will benefit the Northwoods League Foundation. The Northwoods League Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that serves as a vehicle to transform a shared passion for baseball into positive change and support for communities. Of the many needs the foundation may address through grants, scholarships or donations, one ongoing focus will be to view its member communities and look upon the baseball programs they have in place with a harmonious goal of making them all finer places to live.
More information on the Foundation can be found at northwoodsleague.com/community/foundation/
Tickets for the event can still be purchased and are available at mallardsbaseball.com.