Eau Claire, Wis. – The Eau Claire Express haven’t had much of a void at shortstop the past few seasons, and college baseball agrees.
Wednesday, 16 players made the watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award, given annually to the top collegiate shortstop in the country. Four of those infielders have played or will play for the Eau Claire Express organization: Blake Schmit, Tyler Wampler, Sam Haggerty and Peter Van Gansen.
Schmit, a senior now at the University of Maryland, led the Express with 32 RBI in 2013. This spring for the Terrapins, Schmit batted .308 in 50 starts with a sizzling .975 fielding percentage.
Indiana State shortstop and 2012 Eau Claire Express player Wampler changed from a role player to a go-to guy for the Sycamores this spring. He hit .276 with a .970 fielding percentage.
Sam Haggerty, the University of New Mexico product who batted over .300 for Eau Claire last summer, is batting .338 for the co-Mountain West Conference champion Lobos. A year ago, he was named a Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-American.
Van Gansen will suit up for the Express and play at Carson Park for the first time later this summer. The sophomore from Cal Poly is hitting .287 for the No. 4-ranked Mustangs.
The Brooks Wallace Award is named after former Texas Tech shortstop Brook Wallace, who died of cancer in 1985 at the age of 27. The award has been around since 2004, but it has been given to the nation’s top shortstop since 2009.
The Express begin their 10th season of play in the Northwoods League on Tuesday against the Lakeshore Chinooks. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. with gates opening at 5:30. Season tickets, voucher packs and single-game tickets are on sale now. To subscribe to the Express schedule on your Internet and/or phone calendar and have it be updated with any changes in promotions and game times, click the link below.
Express Downloadable Calendar
The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live and free of charge via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.eauclaireexpress.com.