Former Battle Creek Bomber and current Cincinnati Reds outfielder Dave Sappelt made his Major League Debut on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field in Chicago against the Cubs. The 5-foot 9-inch, 24-year-old batted in the leadoff spot for the Reds and played left field. He singled and scored leading off the 5th inning and finished 1-for-5 in his debut, while playing great defense.
"Sappelt made some outstanding defensive plays," Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters. "Defense is big, you know I’m big on defense, and he saved some runs today."
Over the last two seasons Sappelt has been doing just about everything he could do to earn a call up to the big leagues and he finally got his break when Chris Heisey went on the disabled list on Sunday with an oblique injury. The diminutive right-handed hitter began to emerge in the minor leagues in 2010. While making stops in class A, AA, and AAA ball last year, Sappelt combined to hit .342 with 32 doubles, 11 triples, 10 home runs, 74 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases. He was batting .313 in 74 games this season before his call up. His most impressive numbers might have been this year in Spring Training when he hit .564 (22-for-39) with five doubles, three home runs and five RBIs.
Sappelt is the first Battle Creek Bombers player to reach the Major Leagues and the 80th former Northwoods League player to do so. Sappelt played 45 games for the Bombers in their inaugural season in 2007 where he finished 5th in the Northwoods League in batting with a .329 average. The Reds selected him in the 9th round of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft after he spent three years at Coastal Carolina University. He’s a native of Saxapahaw, North Carolina.
The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America.