Two Arms Return to Chase Another Title
The Lakeshore Chinooks welcome back two more contributors to the dominant pitching staff that led Lakeshore to the 2014 Northwoods League title. Hunter Devall (LSU) and Mike Letkewicz (Augustana) contributed to the staff that dominated the league with a staff ERA of 2.92 and held opposing teams to a .220 batting average. Lakeshore’s pitching coach Mark Moriarty is excited for their return, saying, “Both of these guys were solid contributors and it will be exciting to see how they’ve grown and matured through another college season.”
Hunter Devall, a 5’10” lefty from Clinton, LA earned the respect of Lakeshore’s General Manager Dean Rennicke throughout the summer. “That kid is a bulldog on the mound. He’s got grit and showed it in the playoffs,” said Rennicke. Devall worked in relief throughout the season and was clutch down the stretch, including a timely pick-off play in Game 1 of the NWL World Series in Mankato. After giving up a lead-off single to Mankato’s Ridge Smith in the bottom of the 10th inning, Devall promptly picked Smith off and restored momentum back to the Chinooks who would go on to win in 13 innings. “After giving up that hit, Hunter’s play was a game-changer,” said Rennicke. Devall, who signed midway through the summer, recorded a 3.00 ERA in 18 innings with 23 strikeouts.
As a member of LSU’s powerhouse program, Devall has been steady in his career, posting a freshman ERA of 2.65 and a 3-0 record in 2013 and following it up with a 3.10 ERA in 18 relief appearances as a sophomore in 2014. Currently, the #2 ranked Tigers are off to a fast start with an impressive stable of pitchers. Devall is slotted to come out of the pen once again and has made five appearances thus far, recording one win and four strikeouts in 3.1innings of work. As he will do with the Chinooks, Devall will compete for innings and make the most of every chance he gets.
Mike Letkewicz also played a heroic role in that Game 1 of the NWL World Series. After signing a temporary contract at the start of the season and earning a spot in the starting rotation, the workhorse right-hander made seven starts and pitched 37.1 innings on the heels of a college season in which he had already pitched 60.2 innings for Augustana College. Despite some late-season struggles, Eddy Morgan called on Letkewicz to save the extra inning affair and he came through with two strikeouts to earn the save that set up Lakeshore’s clinching win in Game 2 the following day. Letkewicz’s performance drew high praise throughout the Chinooks’ organization.
Last year, Letkewicz ranked third in the NCAA Division II with 12.68 strikeouts per nine innings and posted an 8-2 record for Augustana. He led his team with 85 strikeouts in 18 appearances as the Vikings finished 41-18 and appeared in the Central Region Tournament. With the season just getting underway, Letkewicz has made one start, but is expecting to once again be a mainstay for the Augie pitching staff.
Letkewicz returns to Lakeshore with hopes of rekindling the magic from last year. “Last year’s team was a truly special group: very talented baseball players but better teammates and friends. The excellence of the organization starts from the top. The owners and coaches had a vision of success and professionalism that the team gathered around. We played hard, had fun and enjoyed the many nights spent playing baseball in front of the great Northwoods League fans. Winning the championship was a great ending to an already unforgettable year. I look forward to getting back and seeing what this summer holds. Kapco Park is a special place and I’m confident the success of last year’s team will carry over into the upcoming season,” said Letkewicz.
You can catch your first glimpse of the 2015 Chinooks roster on May 28th when Lakeshore takes on the Kenosha Kingfish at 6:35pm. The first 1,000 fans will receive a 2014 championship pennant (courtesy of Port Washington State Bank) and a 2015 magnet schedule (courtesy of Professional Supply). On Opening Day, there will also be a special pre-game championship celebrate. The championship celebration week will continue on Saturday, May 30th with Championship Trophy Gill bobblehead for the first 1,000 fans (sponsored by GS Design).
The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd 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 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 (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.lakeshorechinooks.com.