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Published On: March 13th, 2015

Slide1Two Nittany Lions Sign with Bombers

Team Announces the Addition of Two Players from Penn St.

Battle Creek, Mich. – The Battle Creek Bombers have announced the signing of James Coates and Christian Helsel, two everyday players from Pennsylvania State University.

OF James Coates (5’8”, 185, Junior, Bats: L/Throws: L)

During the 2013 season, Coates started 49 and played in all 50 of Penn St.’s games en route to a unanimous selection to the All Big-Ten Freshman team. He led the Nittany Lions in runs (27), on-base percentage (.392), steals (10), and tied for the team lead with a .295 batting average. He also ranked inside the top-five in hits (51), RBIs (17), and walks (25). Coates recorded 15 multi-hit games and ended his freshman campaign on a seven-game hit streak. Last season, Coates started each of the 38 games he played for the Nittany Lions. He led the team in walks with 25 and ranked second among regular starters in batting average (.277) and on-base percentage (.393). He also earned Academic All-Big Ten Honors.

“James is a spark plug at Penn St. and I expect him to play a similar role for the Bombers this season,” Field Manager Robert Robinson said of the Penn St. outfielder. “His speed is top-notch and he is a great clubhouse leader. His qualities on and off the field will be huge for us in Battle Creek this season.”

INF Christian Helsel (6’0”, 195, Redshirt Sophomore, Bats: R/Throws: R)

Helsel began his career at the University of Mississippi before transferring to Penn St. prior to this season. With the Rebels in 2013, Helsel played in 39 games and started 23, primarily at second base. He recorded 15 hits, including three doubles, while receiving playing time in the SEC Tournament and NCAA regional. 2015 will be his first season in a Penn St. uniform where he is expected to start at third base.

This will be Helsel’s second summer in the Northwoods League. As a member of the St. Cloud Rox in 2013, he played in nine games accumulating four hits, driving in two runs, and scoring two more before an injury prematurely ended his summer.

“Christian’s skill set makes him an important addition to our team,” Robinson said. “At the plate, he has the ability to hit for average and power. Defensively, his versatility is a huge asset because he can play every position in the infield. He has the quick reactions to play third base and the smooth glove to be a great defender up the middle. Off the field, he has an unbelievable work ethic that will bring energy to our clubhouse.”

Catch the Penn St. duo and the rest of the Bombers this summer at C.O. Brown Stadium. Battle Creek opens their season on May 26th when they host the defending Northwoods League Champion Lakeshore Chinooks. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Tickets, Mini-Plan information, and Group Outings are now available by calling the front office at (269)-962-0735 or by emailing

The Battle Creek Bombers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, more than 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (BOS) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel.  For more information, visit