Wisconsin Rapids, WI – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters added a pair of players from the University of Virginia baseball program when team officials announced the signings of versatile freshmen Brandon Downes and Kenny Towns. Downes is projected to see time at both catcher and in the outfield this spring and Towns is capable of playing multiple infield positions. Virginia is coming off its second College World Series appearance in the last three years and has won 156 games over that time frame—tops of any program in Division I baseball.
“We are excited to have both Downes and Towns on board for the 2012 season and look forward to a long partnership with the University of Virginia,” said general manager Liz Kern. “Both players have the athletic ability to play multiple positions which is a big plus for us.”
C/OF-Brandon Downes, 6’3”, 180 lbs (R/R) Freshman, Virginia [pictured left]
Brandon Downes will begin his freshman season at Virginia this spring after turning down an offer from the Boston Red Sox last June after they selected him in the 43rd Round of the MLB Draft. Downes will offer the Rafters flexibility in that he is capable of playing both catcher and the outfield.
Before being drafted last June, Downes put together an incredible high school career that saw him set seven school career records and three single-season records at South Plainfield High in New Jersey. He finished one home run shy of the state record after hitting 15 home runs his junior year. As a senior in 2011, Downes batted .389 with 5 home runs and 23 RBI, even though he was pitched around all season, evidenced by being walked 23 times, 11 times intentionally. As a junior he posted a .484 batting average with the 15 home runs and 49 RBI, while guiding his team to a 25-3 record.
Downes was named First Team All-State, Middlesex County Player of the Year, and All-Area First Team by Home News Tribune, Courier News, and Star-Ledger in 2010 and 2011. He was recognized in New Jersey by being awarded Best Athletic Performance by ESPN Rise Magazine, named 2011 Louisville Slugger Pre-Season High School All-American First Team by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, and was selected as the New Jersey representative for Baseball’s Best in all 50 States by Max Preps. In addition, Downes was also named to the Rawlings and Perfect Game USA Pre-Season All-Regional First Team in 2011, named Rawlings Pre-Season Senior High School All-American, and also to the Pre-Season National All-American Second Team. Downes is a native of South Plainfield, New Jersey.
IF-Kenny Towns, 5’11”, 180 lbs (R/R) Freshman, Virginia [pictured right]
Kenny Towns enters his freshman season at Virginia after an impressive high school playing career at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Virginia. During his prep tenure, the versatile infielder set Lake Braddock single season records in batting average, total bases, and doubles while also setting numerous career records including batting average, at bats, total bases, hits, runs, runs batted in, walks and doubles.
As a senior in 2011, Towns batted .550 with eight home runs, 35 RBI and carried a .666 on-base percentage during the season, on his way to earning numerous accolades. For his performance his senior year, he was named the 2011 Virginia State Player of the Year, Preps Player of the Year, All-Metro Player of the Year, as well as Player of the Year for Patriot District and the Northern Region. He was also named First Team All-State and All-Metro in 2011. As a junior in 2010, he earned First Team All-District and All-Region recognition as well as All-State and All-Metro Honorable Mention. Towns is a native of Burke, Virginia.