Latest News

Published On: October 8th, 2019

2019 Top Defenders Rewarded for Best Fielding Percentages

Rochester, Minn. – The Northwoods League has announced the recipients of the 2019 Rawlings ‘Finest in the Field’ Award. The annual award recognizes the top fielders at each position. The winners are selected based on final fielding statistics compiled by league statistician Pointstreak.

2019 Express first baseman Sam Kohnle garnered the award after a terrific season in the field for Eau Claire. The Winona State product earned a .997 fielding percentage over the course of 57 games played in 2019. Kohnle accounted for 369 putouts, 18 assists, played the second-most innings on the team, 472.2, and was only dinged for one error over the course of the grueling Northwoods League season.

Additionally, Kohnle showed up at the plate all year long for the Express. Kohnle scored 30 runs, drove in 29 RBIs, legged out eight doubles, and hit for a .307 regular-season batting average and .417 post-season average. His 62 hits were, again, second-most on packed roster.

The Entire 2019 Rawlings ‘Finest in the Field’ Award recipients and their fielding percentages are below.

Position Player NWL Team College Fielding Percentage
C Jake Dunham Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Northern Illinois .997
1B Sam Kohnle Eau Claire Express Winona State .997
2B Jack Chernow Bismarck Larks Columbia .969
3B Jacob Buchberger Green Bay Booyah Davenport .965
SS Nick Novak Mankato MoonDogs Angelo State .983
OF Brandon Seltzer Wisconsin Woodchucks Palm Beach Atlantic 1.000
OF Peter Matt Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Pennsylvania 1.000
OF Richie Schiekofer Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Rutgers 1.000
P Garret Rukes Willmar Stingers Alabama 1.000

Rawlings has been rewarding the top defenders in the Northwoods League since 2002. The recipients receive a special Rawlings engraved trophy. Rawlings is the official equipment provider for the Northwoods League. To qualify for an award a player needs to appear in at least two-thirds of the scheduled games at a specific position, with the exception of catcher, which is half. For pitchers, the player that had the highest total defensive chances without committing an error earns the number one spot.


The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 25-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit 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.