Eau Claire, Wis. – The Express roster grew to 15 today with the signing of three freshmen from the University of New Mexico. The newest additions are infielder Beau Capanna and pitchers Cody Dye and Drew Gillespie. New Mexico has been a consistent contributor to the Express roster in recent years, having sent 20 players to Eau Claire during the team’s existence. The Express will continue to announce player signings weekly until the beginning of the Northwoods League season.
Capanna enters his first year for New Mexico after a great career at Bishop Gorman High School. The speedy infielder was named First Team All-State in Nevada in his senior season after hitting .391 with 11 doubles, eight home runs and 33 RBIs. He was drafted in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Boston Red Sox but instead chose to attend school and play baseball for the Lobos. Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Buddy Gouldsmith had this to say about Capanna.
“The word I use to describe Beau is ‘dynamic’,” Gouldsmith said. “He’s a truly exciting offensive player and brings an exceptional amount of speed to the lineup. We’re lucky to have him as he’ll bring an explosive component to our team.”
Dye played his high school ball at Walnut High School where in 2015 he was named All-CIF, Hacienda League MVP and First Team All-Area after posting ten wins and three saves. The right-hander held opponents to a .180 batting average that season as Walnut finished as the runner-up in Division 3 CIF. UNM Pitching Coach Ken Jacome sees Dye contributing to his staff as a freshman.
“Cody has command of all his pitches,” Jacome stated. “He’ll sit in the mid to upper 80’s and he can throw his breaking ball and changeup whenever he wants. He really competes and is a winner. He has the chance to pitch a lot as a freshman, but his ceiling is really high because he has a lot of room to grow and still fill out his frame more.”
Gillespie hails from Albuquerque, N.M. and attended Sandia High School. He led the Matadors to the 2015 Metro City Championship and went 4-1 with a 0.83 earned run average as a senior. While listed as a right-handed pitcher, Gillespie could also see some time in the infield for the Lobos. His versatility has their coaching staff excited about his potential.
“I feel like he’s the best arm in New Mexico,” Jacome said. “He’s going to be really good. He’s a great athlete that can pitch with a slider and change. He’s very competitive and has a high ceiling. He’s a great addition to our staff.”
Gouldsmith added, “He’s a special dude. He has really athletic tools and great instincts in the middle infield. You can put him anywhere on the diamond and he’ll perform.”
Former Lobos that have gone on to play professionally after their time in Eau Claire include Shane Dyer (played in Eau Claire 2007-2008), Rafael Neda (2009), Alex Albritton (2011), Alex Real (2012) and Sam Haggerty (2013).
The Express begin season number 13 in the Northwoods League on May 30 as they travel to Bismarck, N.D. for the inaugural series for the Bismarck Larks. They continue to Willmar to take on the Stingers for a two-game set before opening their home schedule at Carson Park on Saturday, June 3 versus the Mankato MoonDogs. First pitch of the home opener will be at 7:05 p.m. and the game will be followed by a fireworks show. Purchase your 5-Game Packs, including a reserved seat and unlimited food and beverage, online by clicking here or by contacting the Express office at 715-839-7788 or 102 E. Grand Ave. in downtown Eau Claire. Single-game tickets go on sale May 1.
The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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, 160 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS),two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.eauclaireexpress.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Express as your favorite team.