We continue our Top Ten Moments of the 2014 Express Season today with moment #8.
Top Ten Moment #8: Alumni Weekend
The Express have been fortunate to have had many of great players who have dawned the orange and black over the first ten years of the team’s existence. This past season, Nick Addison (2011-2012), Kraig Binick (2005-2006), Doug Coe (2006), Nolan Fadness (2008-2010), Will Fadness (2009-2010, 2012), Ryan Hines (2008), Mike LaLuna (2006-2007), TJ Larson (2013), Andy Leonard (2009-2010), and Steve McGuiggan (2010) were all welcomed back to Carson Park for Alumni Weekend July 25-27th.
Nick Addison (2011-2012) was a fan-favorite at Carson Park with his high-energy approach to the game. In two seasons for the Express, Addison hit a combined .273 with 18 HR and 72 RBI. He had 17 stolen bases in 2012 and in 53 games played in 2011 had only one error in the outfield.
Kraig Binick (2005-2006) was the definition of an all-around baseball player in the inaugural and sophomore seasons for the Express. Binick finished his Express career with a .289 average, 3 HR, 89 runs scored, and 43 RBI. In 2005, Binick led the league in at bats, was second in stolen bases, and was third in runs and hits making the 2005 NWL All-Star Team. Binick was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and played at numerous levels of minor league and independent league baseball through the summer of 2013.
Doug Coe (2006) did not play many games in the 2006 season, but even with a small sample size, he was able to show off his fundamentally sound technique and ability. He batted .263, scored ten runs, and had two homers and 14 RBI in fewer than 100 at bats that season.
Nolan Fadness (2008-2010) and Will Fadness (2009-2010, 2012) were fun to watch at Carson Park for many reasons, but maybe most impressive was their knowledge of the game and fundamentally sound approach when taking the field. Nolan had one of the longest and most productive NWL careers of any Express player to date. In three seasons with the Express, Nolan had a .306 combined average, 53 RBI and over 100 runs scored. Will came into his own in the 2012 season with a .254 average, 19 runs scored, 1 HR, and 13 RBI.
Ryan Hines (2008) showed off his command and control in his brief stint with the Express. In only seven games started, Hines struck out 44 batters in only 48 innings pitched while having a 4.46 ERA.
Mike LaLuna (2006-2007), college teammate of Kraig Binick, showed a particular focus and work ethic that has been difficult to match throughout the ten seasons of Express baseball. While LaLuna’s time with the Express in 2006 was brief, LaLuna’s 2007 campaign was successful with a 2-3 record, 3.00 ERA, and 31 strikeouts in just 36 innings pitched. After a year in independent league baseball, he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2009 playing for their single A affiliate that season.
TJ Larson (2013) used his time at the Express to put a nice resume together that helped him get a deal with the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League this past year. In 2013, Larson struck out 22 batters in just 25 innings pitched.
Andy Leonard (2009-2010) was as versatile as they come in the two seasons he played for the Express. For his career with the Express, Leonard hit .262 with 57 runs scored, 64 RBI, and 6 HR. He started at shortstop during the 2010 NWL Championship series and helped lead the Express to their first NWL title.
Steve McGuiggan (2010) was an absolute beast during the Express championship run in 2010. He hit .278, scored 34 runs, batted in 27, and hit seven home runs in his only season with the Express. His hustle and work ethic were second to none as he always gave 100% every time he stepped onto the field.
In addition to all the great players who made their way back to Carson Park, Julie and Scott Burkart, a host family since the inaugural 2005 season, were honored for their ten years of commitment and dedication to the Express. Many host families and team organizers helped in getting all of these great players back to Eau Claire for Alumni Weekend and it would not have been possible without all of their hard work and dedication.
The Express Alumni Weekend is our #8 moment of the 2014 season.
Stay tuned for moment #7 next week!