La Crosse, Wis. – The La Crosse Loggers Baseball Club announced their first set of player signings today for the upcoming 2021 season in form of four returnees off of the 2020 squad that played to the WI-IL Pod Championship. Pitchers Lucas Braun (San Diego), Eli Campbell (Bradley) and position players Ronnie Sweeny (Minnesota) and Christian Dicochea (Washington) are the first four to ink their contracts and commit to returning to La Crosse this summer.
Right-hander Braun was a leader on the 2020 Loggers staff, having posted a 2-2 record with a team-best 2.27 ERA over 31.2 innings. His six starts ranked second on the staff as did is 31.2 innings pitched. The Los Angeles, Calif. native also struck out 28 batters and limited opponents to a miniscule .168 batting average. He returns this spring to the University of San Diego as a red-shirt freshman, following the shortened 2020 Covid-season, looking to build off of his standout summer in the NWL. During the short spring last year, Braun struck out 8 batters in 5.2 innings of work while posting a 3.18 ERA.
Re-joining Braun on the Loggers staff is another big right-hander in Eli Campbell from Bradley. The 6-6, 238-pound hurler totaled 19 punchouts in 15.1 innings of work for the Lumbermen last summer over his 9 appearances, which ranked fourth on the staff. The Milwaukee, Wisc. native appeared in two games for the Braves during their shortened 2020 season and will look to carry a bigger role out of the Bradley bullpen heading into 2021.
Ronnie Sweeny from the University of Minnesota is also set to dawn the Logger green once again. The big first baseman clubbed a team-high five home runs in 2020 and his 25 RBI’s ranked third on the team. The Woodbury, Minn. native garnered NWL Player of the Night honors on July 28 when he went 3-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI’s and three runs scored. Sweeny, now a red-shirt junior, saw action in eleven of the Gophers 18 games that they got in during the shortened 2020 spring season and was ranked as the 27th top draft prospect in the Big Ten going into the season by Perfect Game. Prior to arriving on campus at Minnesota, Sweeny earned NJCAA All-American honors playing at Iowa Western Junior College when he hit .440 with 16 home runs and 70 RBI’s along with winning the 2019 ICCA Division-I Defensive Player of the Year award.
Super utility man Christian Dicochea will be re-joining Sweeny in the Loggers lineup this summer, continuing a long line of players from the University of Washington making their way to La Crosse each summer. The Redondo Beach, Calif. native didn’t join the Loggers until early August in 2020, but quickly showed his versatility and offensive presence when hit tallied a .286 batting average over 28 at-bats and drew 12 walks to just one strikeout during that span, leading to a .488 on-base percentage. Dicochea has the ability to play multiple infield positions as well as play any of the spots in the outfield, creating a valuable versatile option for field manager Brian Lewis. He returns to the Huskies this spring as a red-shirt freshman after having appeared in 11 games last year. This will be Dicochea’s third stint on the summer collegiate circuit as he played for the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast League as a high school senior in 2019, slashing a .259 line with one home run and 10 RBI’s over 59 at-bats that summer.
Braun, Campbell, Sweeny, Dicochea and the rest of the Loggers will open their 2021 campaign on Monday, May 31 when they travel to Mankato to take on the MoonDogs at ISG Field at 6:35 p.m. The Loggers home opener is set for Wednesday, June 2 when they welcome the Thunder Bay Border Cats to Copeland Park for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch. Season tickets and ticket packages are on sale now for the 2021 season at www.lacrosseloggers.com or by calling the Loggers ticket office at 608-796-9553.
The La Crosse Loggers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 27-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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 245 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.lacrosseloggers.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Loggers as your favorite team.