Kalamazoo, Mich. – The Kalamazoo Growlers have signed a talented trio of Duke Blue Devils to their roster in their first year in Northwoods League action. Karl Blum, Kenny Koplove and Jalen Phillips will be bringing immediate impact to The Growlers on the mound, in the field, and at bat.
Karl Blum – 6’4-224lb, RHP, Bats/R, Throws/R, Toms River, N.J. (Fr.)
Blum was a four year letterman at Toms River North (NJ) High School, where he was named Shore Conference Asbury Park Press Player of the Year as well as being selected for All-State honorable mention during his senior campaign with a 7-2 and a 1.20 ERA. The righty has made eight appearances on the hill for the Blue Devils in the 2014 season while recording 11 strikeouts.
The Livingston, N.J. native was also given the honor of having the highest GPA in the baseball program. This righty will bring a dynamic arm to aid in the Growlers inaugural season as a part of the Northwoods League.
Blum is one of the Growlers exciting recent additions to the experienced pitching staff along with Donnie Eaton of University of Michigan and Ryan Colegate of Ohio Dominican.
Kenny Koplove – 6’1-170, MIF, Bats/R, Throws/R, Philadelphia, Pa. (So.)
Koplove had a productive 2013 campaign with the Blue Devils as a freshman, starting 45 games at shortstop, coming in with the 5th ranked batting average on the team at .288 with 23 RBI. Koplove also recorded a nine-game hitting streak during the season.
In the 2014 season so far, Koplove has started 51 games for the Blue Devils ringing in 172 at bats with 34 hits and 16 RBI as well as a stellar fielding percentage of .970.
As a senior at William Penn Charter, Koplove went 9-1 with a 2.06 ERA helping him to garner Gatorade/ESPN Pennslyvania Player of the year honors while also earning 2012 Rawlings Baseball First Team All-Atlantic Region honors, striking out 80 batters in just 48 innings.
Jalen Phillips – 6’2-210, 1B, Bats/L, Throws/L, Ocoee, Fla. (So.)
In 2013, Phillips made appearances in 12 games as a freshman, mostly at first base for the Blue Devils. The Tampa native was also named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll as a freshman.
Phillips earned first team All-Metro honors during his junior season at Dr. Phillips (FL) High School hitting six home runs, while owning a .325 batting average.
The addition of Phillips large frame and power bat will be a force this season for the Growlers.
The Growlers begin their inaugural 2014 season on the road as they take on the defending Northwoods League champions, the Madison Mallards on May 27th. The first home game of the year is on Friday, May 30th at Homer Stryker Stadium, when the Battle Creek Bombers come to Kalamazoo in the first of a five game home stand for the Growlers.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st 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 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live and free of charge via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.growlersbaseball.com.