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Rivets add UI-Springfield pitcher

LOVES PARK, Ill. – Jon Laird will stay in the state to play baseball this summer.

 

The Rivets announced on Wednesday that they have added the University of Illinois-Springfield righthander for the Northwoods League season, which starts next month.

 

Laird, a junior who has averaged more than a strikeout an inning in his college career, has been used primarily in relief this spring, but Rivets manager Brian Smith said Laird could contend for a starting role.

 

“Jon is really starting to grow into his own,” Smith said. “The past few years he has seen velocity gains and the coaching staff at UIS was very impressed with his increased pitchability this past fall. We expect Jon to come to Rockford and battle for a job in our starting rotation.”

 

Laird has no record and a 7.56 ERA in seven appearances, one of them as a starter, for the Prairie Stars. The resident of Amherst, Ohio has walked nine and struck out eight in 8 1/3 innings for the NCAA Division II school.

 

The Rivets’ season begins May 30 at Kalamazoo. The home opener is at 6:35 p.m. June 1 against the Wisconsin Woodchucks. The Rivets are offering a $50 four-game pack that includes a replica Rivets jersey, tickets to four select games and all-you-can-eat food (burgers, brats, hot dogs, grilled chicken, popcorn and fountain soda) for the following dates: Friday, June 2; Saturday, June 24; Friday, July 14; Friday, July 28. The four-pack can be purchased only by calling the Rivets at 815.240.4159 or in person at the Rivets Stadium box office. There are a limited number of jerseys available, so don’t wait to order this four-pack.

 

The Rockford Rivets are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 24th season of summer collegiate baseball in 2017. The Northwoods 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 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals), two-time World Champion Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets) and Lucas Duda (Mets). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website, NorthwoodsLeague.com.