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Published On: October 21st, 2022

Kalamazoo, MI – The Northwoods League has announced the recipients of the 2022 Rawlings “Big Stick” Award. This award is given to the player at each position who had the best batting average during the 2022 regular season.

Wisconsin Rapids Rafters shortstop Ben Ross leads the list of award winners. Ross earned a Rawlings “Big Stick” by leading the league with an impressive .421 batting average. Prior to the Northwoods League All-Star Game Ross was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 5th round of the MLB draft. Growlers infielder Anthony Stephan took home the award at his position after posting an impressive .340 batting average. Stephan helped lead the Growlers to their first championship in team history with plenty of clutch hitting. Stephan hit a go-ahead home run in the opening playoff game which propelled the Growlers over the Traverse City Pit Spitters.

Rawlings has been rewarding the top hitters in the Northwoods League since 2007 in addition to honoring the best fielders since 2002. To honor their achievement, the nine award winners will receive an engraved bat from Rawlings. The complete list of 2022 Rawlings “Big Stick” Award Winners is below.

Position Player NWL Team College Batting Average
C Colin Tuft Wisconsin Rapids Virginia .331
1B Anthony Stephan Kalamazoo Virginia .340
2B Tristan Garcia Green Bay Western Kentucky .343
3B Trevor Austin St. Cloud Mercer University .305
SS Ben Ross Wisconsin Rapids Notre Dame College .421
INF Kristian Campbell Duluth Georgia Tech .356
OF Sean Ross Mankato Indiana State .376
OF Nick Mitchell Fond du Lac Western Illinois .356
OF Ben Vujovich Minnesota St. Thomas .355
DH John Nett St. Cloud St. Cloud State .352

To be eligible a player would have needed to have enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title. A player must have a minimum of 2.7 plate appearances per team game.



The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Now in its’ 29th season, the Northwoods 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, 300 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at and on ESPN+. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Growlers as your favorite team.