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Loggers Add Trio from North Florida

 

Ospreys send right-handed pitcher, catcher, utility player for 2015 campaign

La Crosse, Wis. – The La Crosse Loggers on Wednesday announced the signing of three players from the University of North Florida for the 2015 season.

Utility man Alex Merritt turned in a superb freshman season for the Ospreys in 2014. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound infielder/catcher/outfielder was named to the Atlantic Sun Conference All-Freshman team after playing in 44 games, including 39 starts, and batting .273 with 18 RBI. Merritt, who is from Ocala, Fla., will continue his utility role for North Florida this spring, with the ability to play all four infield positions, catch, and as a corner outfielder.

"Alex Merritt is a true utility guy who can play multiple positions and play all of them well,” Loggers General Manager Chris Goodell said. “He's the kind of guy that seems to always find his way into a lineup and will be a very valuable asset on our roster this summer."

Right-handed pitcher Matt Naylor is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound red-shirt sophomore who is coming off an outstanding junior college season at Daytona State (Fla.). Naylor, originally from Orlando, Fla., pitched in 24 games, earning six saves and a 2.35 ERA in 57 1/3 innings, and was named Mid-Florida Conference. A submarine-style pitcher, he is expected to be a key member of the Ospreys’ bullpen this spring.

"Matt Naylor follows the footsteps of former Logger bullpen greats like Jacob Dorris and Michael Schum and will provide us with a unique and versatile arm,” Goodell said. “He will be a key cog in our plans on the mound."

Skinner, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound catcher who bats left-handed, will bring plenty of experience to North Florida and the Loggers. Skinner played for Seminole State College (Fla.) a JUCO program, in 2014 and batted .402 with four homers and 41 RBI and made just one error in 32 games behind the plate. Skinner, a native of Berkeley Heights, N.J., also batted .384 with 23 RBI in 32 games for The Sanford River Rats of the Florida Collegiate League in the summer.

“Keith Skinner has hit everywhere he's been,” Goodell added. “On top of that he provides great leadership behind the plate and we're looking forward to him doing much of the same this summer in La Crosse."

The Loggers and North Florida have built a successful relationship since 2009. That summer, the Ospreys were represented by outfielder Justin Preckajlo and infielder Drew Hannon, who helped La Crosse to the South Division title. Hannon served as a Loggers assistant coach in 2011 and 2012, as the team went 87-52 and won the NWL championship in 2012. Hannon is now at North Florida as an assistant coach.