Bart Steponovich, AJ Beckley Added to 2011 Rapids Roster

The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters added two players from UC-Riverside today by announcing the signings of sophomore catcher Bart Steponovich and freshman outfielder AJ Beckley.  

Bart Steponovich has gotten off to a hot start at the plate to begin his sophomore season at UC-Riverside.  Steponovich has started all four games he has appeared in for the Highlanders, while posting a .308 batting average through the team’s first nine games.  UC-Riverside is preparing for a spring series in Surprise, Arizona this weekend as they will face Kansas, Air Force, Northern Illinois, and Arizona State from March 3rd-6th.

Last season, as redshirt freshman, Steponovich appeared in 13 games while posting a .250 batting average in the first collegiate action of his career. 

Steponovich was a 3 year letter winner during a decorated prep career at Hickman High School in Columbia, Missouri.  He led the Kewpies to district championships in 2006 and 2008, while also being named as a 2008 Coaches All-State Selection and Media All-State Selection.  The 3-time All-District and All-Area Selection was also selected to the 2007 Missouri Junior Sunbelt Team, the premier high school all-star baseball classic in the country.  Steponovich is majoring in pre-business at UC-Riverside.
A true-freshman outfielder from Redlands, California, AJ Beckley is getting his first taste of college baseball this spring.  He has appeared in 5 games, making 4 starts, and has gone 2-for-11 at the plate early on for the Highlanders.

Beckley came to UC-Riverside following an impressive senior season at Redlands East Valley High School.  Last spring, Beckley hit .519 (42-for-81) during his senior season and was named First-Team All-League, First-Team All-Country, and Third-Team All-State in 2010.  He carried an impressive .652 on-base percentage while driving in 25 RBI and scoring 42 runs.  He also demonstrated his speed on the base paths by stealing 24 bases, while being caught only once.