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Local Standouts Returning to Kalamazoo for Growlers Season

KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers are pleased to announce the signing of two pitchers and Southwest Michigan natives. Lefty Tim Cerven of Decatur and right-hander Cole Schaefer of Portage will play for their hometown team in the summer of 2015.

Tim Cerven: 6’3” – 210lb, LHP, Bats L/Throws L, KVCC/Grand Valley State (So.), Decatur, MI

Cole Schaefer: 6’2” – 190lb, Bats R/Throws R, Coastal Carolina (So.), Portage, MI

Cerven action

Tim Cerven has committed to play at Grand Valley State University next spring after completing his outstanding career at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He made 11 appearances this season (10 starts), going 8-2 with a 1.55 ERA, 1.017 WHIP, and 53 strikeouts. Cerven led the team in innings pitched (58) on the back of seven complete games, the third most in NJCAA Division II. He also garnered national rankings in wins (11th), ERA (ninth), and shutouts (10th).

One of Cerven’s complete games came on March 13 when he held Lincoln Land CC to one unearned run and three hits, and the southpaw struck out 10 hitters in seven innings of an April 16 start at Mott CC, both wins for the Cougars. In his final start last Thursday, he pitched a one-hit shutout over five innings of a 10-0 win against Ancilla College. Cerven’s success continues from his freshman year at KVCC when he went 4-1 with a 2.88 ERA in nine games (two starts).

A product of Decatur, Cerven became a local hero in 2012 when he led Decatur High School to the Michigan Division 4 state championship. The lefty pitched a complete game five-hitter in the title game at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek, leading his Raiders to a 4-1 win over top-ranked defending champs Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett. The crown clincher gave Cerven a perfect 10-0 record with a 1.23 ERA in his junior season, which he followed up with an outstanding senior campaign in 2013 (8-3, 0.80 ERA, 107 strikeouts in 72 innings). According to Decatur coach Ben Botti, Cerven has outstanding offspeed pitches and fools batters by changing speeds and locating well.

Schaefer actionCole Schaefer is currently in his second season pitching at Division I Coastal Carolina, which is currently tied with Radford and Liberty atop the Big South Conference standings. Through five appearances this season (two starts), he is 0-1 with a 12.38 ERA over eight innings of work. As a freshman, Schaefer went 3-5 with a 5.09 ERA in 17 appearances (10 starts). His highlight as a Chanticleer came in a 2014 matchup with UNC Greensboro in which he tossed seven innings of four-hit shutout ball en route to his third collegiate win.

As a standout at Portage Central High School, Schaefer got looks from big league scouts while he was still playing junior varsity. He posted a 1.94 ERA as a junior, following it up by going 7-2 with a 1.33 ERA, 57 strikeouts, and just nine walks in 47.1 innings in 2013. Behind Schaefer’s a senior campaign for the ages, the Mustangs finished the year ranked third in the state’s Division 1 polls. Schaefer’s mastery of local competition earned him a spot on the Kalamazoo Gazette Area Baseball Dream Team, as well as all-conference and all-district selections. With a fastball that topped out in the low-90s before his final year of high school, Portage Central coach Paul Schneider expects “big things” out of his former ace.

Kalamazoo begins its second season on Tuesday, May 26 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 Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2015, 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 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 Website.  For more information, visit http://www.growlersbaseball.com.