Eight Express players selected for Northwoods League Major League Dreams Showcase
Eau Claire, Wis.— Eight Express players were selected to participate in the Northwoods League Major League Dreams Showcase on Tuesday August 9th at Warner Park in Madison, Wisconsin. The participants will hope to prove to Major League Baseball scouts that they have what it takes to play baseball at the next level, testing their skills against the top players across the Northwoods League.
The annual Major League Showcase will consist of a double-header featuring players selected by a panel of MLB Scouts. The players will participate in a day of technical workouts and drills in front of these scouts, leading to the double-header game in the late-afternoon and evening.
The Express players will compete in the first game, which will start at 4:05 p.m. and will consist of two teams featuring a mix of North and South Division players competing at Warner Park. The visiting team in this game will come from St. Cloud, Mankato, Thunder Bay, Wisconsin and Duluth, whereas the Express will look to bring home a win for the home team including players from La Crosse, Waterloo, Wisconsin Rapids, and Rochester.
North Division All-Star Daulton Varsho (UW-Milwaukee) highlights the Express selections, the only player who will participate in both the All-Star Game in Kenosha and the Showcase for Eau Claire. Varsho is tied for first place in the NWL with 10 home runs, sixth in runs batted in (42), fourth in runs scored (39), tied for third for stolen bases (21), and is hitting .302 in 45 games this summer. Varsho has been a leader in one of the most high-powered offenses in the Northwoods League this season.
Three Express players will join Varsho in the infield at the Major League Showcase: first baseman Austin Guzzo (Iowa), infielder Kyle Marinconz (Cal poly), and shortstop Cody Bohanek (UI-Chicago). Guzzo has displayed solid power from the plate, tallying 13 RBI’s with a .264 batting average in less than half the team’s games this summer. Marinconz has built off of his success in the 2015 season, hitting .277 with 15 RBI’s on 33 hits in 30 games. The Cal Poly product’s best game came against the Duluth Huskies on July 8th, where he got five hits, including two doubles, in the blowout win. Marinconz has also been extremely strong in the field, with a .959 fielding percentage at second base.
Bohanek has been a nearly every day shortstop for Dale Varsho and the Express, appearing in 47 of the team’s 53 games. He has a .254 average with 44 hits, 25 runs scored, 28 RBI’s, and a .355 on base percentage. Bohanek caught fire in early July, surely turning heads with a .300 plus batting average and a five RBI performance on July 8th where he was named Northwoods League Player of the Night. Mickey McDonald (UI-Chicago) will pair up with his college teammate as the designated hitter for the home team at the Showcase. McDonald has showed his versatility in the field, appearing as a third baseman, first baseman, center fielder, and left fielder this summer. McDonald’s flexibility pairs well with his strength at the plate, where he is hitting .295 this season with 15 RBI’s and 33 runs scored.
Alex McKenna (Cal Poly) was the lone outfielder selected to the Showcase squad, for his dominant start at the plate this season. McKenna has recorded 24 RBI’s in 24 games, with a spectacular .563 slugging percentage. The primary center fielder is second on the team with six home runs and two triples, scoring 19 runs this summer. McKenna has reached base in all but two games he has appeared in, with a .292 batting average this summer.
Rounding out the Eau Claire picks for the Major League Showcase are two Express pitchers, Jake Sommers (UW-Milwaukee) and Brody Rodning (Minnesota State Mankato). Sommers has appeared in eight games, with two starts to compile a 3-2 overall record. The right-hander holds a 3.17 ERA in 22.2 innings pitched, fanning 13 opposing hitters. Rodning has exclusively been used as a starter for Dale Varsho’s squad, with nine starts as a key member of the Express rotation this summer. For much of the summer, Rodning was the lone left-handed pitcher on the team, tallying 46 innings pitched. Rodning holds a 3-1 record and a solid 3.91 ERA, and is third on the team with 33 strikeouts.
For the official Northwoods League Press Release, including ticket information, full rosters, and other key details about the game, visit the following link:
The Eau Claire Express have won the Northwoods League North Division and have earned a trip to the playoffs for the first time since winning the Northwoods League Championship in 2010. They will host a playoff game at Carson Park on Monday August 15th 6:35pm. Group and individual game tickets are on sale now! Season tickets and single-game tickets for the regular season are also on sale now for Express home games. All tickets can be purchased by calling the Express office at 715-839-7788 or by stopping at the downtown office at 102 E. Grand Ave.
The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd 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 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visitwww.eauclaireexpress.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Express as your favorite team.