KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers are pleased to announce the signing of three temporary pitchers for the beginning of the 2015 season. Right-handers Nathan Coakley, Justin Schander, and Ben Spieldenner will join the Growler staff for the beginning of the year. A player signed to a temporary contract plays at least 10 days in the Northwoods League, often to fill in for players who are still playing in postseason tournaments at their respective colleges. Teams have until June 30 to either sign the player to a full-season contract or waive him, allowing him to be claimed by another team in the Northwoods League.
Nathan Coakley: 6’4” – 180lb, RHP, Bats R/Throws R, Saint Francis (Jr.), Bishop, CA
The top starter at the University of Saint Francis, an NAIA outfit in Fort Wayne, IN, Nathan Coakley tied for the team lead in appearances (13) and led the Cougars in starts (11). He went 3-7 with a 3.62 ERA over 79.2 innings, tossing seven complete games, including a four-hit shutout at Spring Arbor on April 3. Coackley joined Saint Francis this season after two years at Ventura Community College in California. In 2012, he pitched a no-hitter and went 14-0 during his senior season at Bishop Union High School, earning first-team all-conference laurels.
Justin Schander: 6’2” – 190lb, RHP, Bats L/Throws R, Phoenix College (So.), Gilbert, AZ
The innings leader for NJCAA Division II’s Phoenix College with 81 frames, Justin Schander went 5-4 with a 2.89 ERA over 15 appearances for the Bears. He pitched eight innings of five-hit shutout ball on March 3 at Glendale CC, walking none and striking out nine in a 2-0 win. At Perry High School in hometown Gilbert, Schander went 9-5 with a 2.58 ERA overall. He punctuated his prep career with near-perfect outing against Skyline in 2013, facing one above the minimum and striking out 10 over six one-hit innings. Schander is no stranger to the Northwoods League, having made 12 appearances with Wisconsin Rapids last season (0-4, 6.55 ERA).
Ben Spieldenner: 6’0” – 210lb, RHP/OF, Bats L/Throws R, St. Joseph’s (Jr.), Vicksburg, MI
A two-way player at the NCAA Division II institution in Rensselaer, IN, Ben Spieldenner made six appearances for the Pumas in 2015, going 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 12.1 innings of work. The year before, he turned in a spectacular season at Kellogg Community College, earning Michigan Community College Athletic Association Player of the Year honors by going 9-1 with a 1.37 ERA; he also hit .257 with 22 RBIs and nine stolen bases in 140 at-bats. Spieldenner lit up competition at Vicksburg High School, no-hitting Allegan with nine punch-outs as a senior in 2012.
Kalamazoo begins its second season on Tuesday at Madison. The Growlers’ home opener comes on Friday, May 29 against the Battle Creek Bombers. The full Growlers schedule can be found here. For information on 2015 Growlers season tickets, click here.
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The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 21-year old summer collegiate 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, 120 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 (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (BOS) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.