Fisher, Vitkuske, and Brauser. Photos: Kimberly Moss, 2016
KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers announced today the first player signings of the 2017 season as part of the OnStaff Group Recruiting Trail. Three temporary players from last year’s roster will rejoin the team: Junior Hayden Brauser (MSSU), Junior Blaine Fisher (Pitt State), and Sophomore Zach Vitkuske (Muskegon CC).
Hayden Brauser: 5’9”, 145lb, RHP, Bats: R/Throws: R, South Missouri (Jr.), Edmond, Okla.
Hayden Brauser, who fans may remember for his unique submarine delivery, pitched 39.1 innings in 26 games for Kalamazoo in 2016. Brauser played the first two seasons of his college career at Pratt Community College before transferring to Missouri Southern State University. The Edmond, Okla. native was effective in several big innings for the Growlers and is someone Field Manager Cody Piechocki feels comfortable having in the pen for back-to-back seasons.
Zach Vitkuske: 6’2”, 200lb, RHP, Bats: R/Throws: R, Muskegon CC (So.), Brighton, Mich.
Zach Vitkuske is a 6’2”, 200lb sophomore hailing from Brighton, Mich. The right-handed pitcher joined the Growlers as a temp last year, appearing in four games and pitching 21.2 innings. Vitkuske has starting experience in the Growlers rotation, making a spectacular appearance against Lakeshore on July 31. He allowed three runs on four hits, while striking out one and entered the eighth inning with only one earned run charged to him before being pulled.
Blaine Fisher: 6’0”, 185lb, LHP, Bats: L/Throws: L, Pitt State (Jr.), Olathe, Kan.
Blaine Fisher is another temporary player returning to Kalamazoo this season. A standout left-hander, Fisher is a junior at Pittsburg State University who came in clutch during several games when the Growlers pitching staff was depleted toward the end of the season. In August, Fisher threw a complete game against the Rockford Rivets and dazzled through nine innings of work, allowing just one run while scattering eight hits. The Olathe, Kan. native also struck out three and walked none, using only 82 pitches for the Growlers.
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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 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 150 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 (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.growlersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Growlers as your favorite team.