Express Sign Three to Bring Roster to 12
Eau Claire, Wis. – The Express roster continued to take shape today as the team announced three signings to the 2017 roster. Returning for a second season in Eau Claire is outfielder Zach Ashford. Joining him are pitcher/infielder Justin Evans and pitcher Victor Chavez. The three latest signings bring the Express roster to 12. The team will continue to announce player signings weekly until the beginning of the Northwoods League season.
Ashford was a standout in his first summer in Eau Claire last year offensively and defensively. The speedy outfielder from Fresno State ranked second on the team with a .327 batting average spanning 57 games of action. He added an impressive .434 on-base percentage and 17 stolen bases. Ashford seemed comfortable from day one in Eau Claire and that made his decision to return as a sophomore an easy one.
“I see Eau Claire as my second home,” Ashford said. “I love the fans and the community and am looking forward to coming back.”
Field Manager Dale Varsho also spoke highly of Ashford, not only because of his talent on the field but because of his approach to the game.
“Zach is always trying to absorb as much information as possible to become a better player,” stated Varsho. “It was an easy decision for us to welcome him back because of the example he sets and his work ethic.”
Two-way player Justin Evans from Columbus State is set to begin his first summer in the Northwoods League. He earned high accolades in a successful high school career. Evans earned All-Region honors as both a junior and a senior and holds career records in batting average (.395), stolen bases (45) and fielding percentage (.987). Coach Varsho has heard good reports on Evans and looks forward to seeing him play at this level.
“Talking with scouts in the Georgia area, Justin comes highly recommended as an infielder and pitcher,” Varsho said.
Chavez is a right-handed pitcher from Scottsdale Community College and joins Evans as a first-year Northwoods League player. He played in the outfield as a high schooler and helped Rio Rancho High School to a state championship and metro championship in 2013 and a District 1 5A title in 2014. The sophomore played his freshman season with the Trinidad State Trojans, helping them to a Region IX championship. For the season, he appeared in eight games with two starts and pitched 11.2 innings. He is signed to play at UNLV next season. Varsho hopes some familiarity to the Northwoods League will be a positive for Chavez.
“Victor’s brother Carlos played in Eau Claire in 2013 and had some great success,” stated Varsho. “We think that Victor will bring some of the same abilities and will be a tremendous pitcher for us.”
The Express roster now includes five pitchers, two catchers, two infielders and three outfielders.
The Express begin season number 13 in the Northwoods League on May 30 as they travel to Bismarck, N.D. for the inaugural series for the Bismarck Larks. They continue to Willmar to take on the Stingers for a two-game set before opening their home schedule at Carson Park on Saturday, June 3 versus the Mankato MoonDogs. First pitch of the home opener will be at 7:05 p.m. and the game will be followed by a fireworks show. Purchase your 5-Game Packs, including a reserved seat and unlimited food and beverage, online by clicking here or by contacting the Express office at 715-839-7788 or 102 E. Grand Ave. in downtown Eau Claire. Single-game tickets go on sale May 1.
The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, 160 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS),two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.eauclaireexpress.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Express as your favorite team.