Kalamazoo, MI — The Kalamazoo Growlers add five more signees for the 2019 season with four players from Division II, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and one from Division III Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The Growlers gain more firepower to their bullpen with the addition of righty Max Bain (Northwood University), lefty Brennan Cox (Wayne State), right-hander Adam Wheaton (Trine University), and right-hander Kyle Freel (Purdue-Northwest). Joining Freel will be fellow PNW Pride catcher, Hunter Thorn.
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RHP Max Bain, 6’5”, (R/R) Senior, Northwood University (NCAA- Division II)
Bain is a senior that hails from Clarkston, Michigan. He appeared in 17 games during the 2017-18 Timberwolves season, starting in four of those games. Bain went 45.1 innings, striking out 54 batters, while only walking 15. He ranked third on the team with an ERA of 2.78. Bain has also been named to the GLIAC All-Academic Team twice in his career. To start the 2019 season, Bain has one win in two starts with 9.2 innings of work. He surrendered nine hits, six earned runs while striking out 11 batters. Prior to his time at Northwood, he was an integral member of Clarkston High School’s run to a State semi-final appearance in 2014. Bain played his junior ball with the South Oakland A’s where he made the All-Tournament Team by Perfect Game twice for the 16u and 18u BCS Finals.
LHP Brennan Cox, 6’0”, (R/L) Sophomore, Wayne State University (NCAA- Division II)
Cox returns for his second summer with the Growlers organization after appearing in seven games where he held a 4.35 ERA in 10.1 innings of work. For the Wayne State Warriors, he appeared in nine games out of the bullpen during his freshman campaign. He recorded 14 strikeouts in 12 innings of action. The lefty held his opponents to a .250 average while only surrendering one home run. To start 2019, Cox has seen three innings of action with five hits, three strikeouts and two earned runs in one start versus Tiffin University. Cox was a four-year letter winner and team captain during his high school days at Riverview Gabriel Richard High School in Taylor, Michigan. He boasted a record of 7-1 during his senior year, while posting a 0.69 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 64 innings. Cox also won the Michigan Class III District Championship on a no-hit effort against rival Cabrini.
RHP Adam Wheaton, 6’1”, (R/R) Sophomore, Trine University (NCAA- Division III)
Wheaton, a Kalamazoo native, will be in his second year with the Growlers organization. During the 2018 summer, Wheaton appeared in 11 games, starting seven. He sat at .500 with a 3-3 recording 31 K’s and a 3.69 ERA in 48.2 innings. Wheaton’s older brother, Ben, also donned a Growlers jersey at the same position. In 2018 for the Trine Thunder, he appeared in 11 games with a record of 2-6 and ERA of 4.89. He led the Thunder with 65 strikeouts and was tied for the most complete games on the team with two. In his 57.0 innings pitched, the freshman gave up only four home runs. While attending Hackett Central Catholic High School, Wheaton earned the 2017 Kalamazoo Gazette Baseball Players of the Year honor after throwing in 68 innings, striking out 114 and only allowing three earned runs during his senior season.
RHP Kyle Freel, 6’1”, (R/R) Sophomore, Purdue University Northwest (NCAA- Division II)
Freel, appeared and started nine games for the Purdue Northwest Pride, with one complete game. He had a record of 5-4, with a 5.57 ERA. In his 51.2 innings, Freel struck out 38 and only gave up four home runs all season which earned him the nod as GLIAC Freshman Pitcher of the Year. After one series this season, Freel made one appearance in one inning of action. He struck out one batter while giving up three earned runs. The righty attended Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana where he was a member of a sectional championship his senior year.
C Hunter Thorn, 5’11”, (R/R) Junior, Purdue University Northwest (NCAA- Division II)
On the receiving end of Freel’s pitches was fellow sophomore Hunter Thorn. The catcher from Portage, IN, led PNW last season in batting average (.327), hits (50) and slugging percentage (.431). Thorn started all but one game for the Pride (42). He ranked third on the team with 115 putouts while holding a .971 fielding percentage. After the first series against the University of Illinois-Springfield this season, Thorn sits second on the team in batting average at .333 with one RBI. Defensively, Thorn is second on the team with 13 putouts and three assists. Thorn was a four-year letterwinner for Portage High School, earning Duneland Athletic Conference First Team, all-area, and all-state honorable mention honors during his time. He batted .456 during his senior season and played a key role in the 2013 sectional championship for Portage.