Mequon, WI – Lakeshore Chinooks General Manager Dean Rennicke has announced the addition of three talented freshmen to the 2015 Lakeshore Chinooks roster. Jack Benninghoff (Arkansas), Drake Parker (Vanderbilt), and Aaron Rzucidlo (Georgia) will continue the strong connection between Lakeshore and the powerful Southeastern Conference. The three talented but young athletes are determined to show their college coaches they are ready to compete at the top level of college baseball.
Jack Benninghoff is a 5’11”, highly decorated outfielder from Rockhurst High School in Overland Park, KS where he was ranked as the 220th-best recruit nationally and the fourth-best recruit in the state of Kansas according to Perfect Game. Benninghoff earned All-State and All-Metro honors after hitting .400 and recording 37 stolen bases in his senior year and was named to the 2014 Central All-Region First Team and received 2014 Under Armour Preseason All-American honors. As a junior, he was named a 2013 Third Team Preseason High School Underclassmen All-American by Perfect Game. Coached by Jim DeGraw at Rockhurst, Benninghoff hit .362 for his prep career. With plenty of experience ahead of him in the Razorbacks outfield, Benninghoff has yet to make his 2015 debut for the Hogs, but will have a familiar face on the Chinooks roster in Arkansas teammate Parker Sanburn.
Drake Parker stands just 5’6” and weighs 165 lbs., but the speedster from Union City, TN impressed the coaching staff of the 2014 National Champion Commodores during his redshirt season at Vanderbilt. Vandy skipper Tim Corbin said of Parker, “Drake is a blue-collar kid with a blue-collar attitude. He comes to play every day with a very consistent attitude.” Parker hopes to use his speed to find his way into the Commodore outfield, but also excels in the classroom, as he was named to the 2013-2014 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll. With multiple All-State honors during his career at Union City High School, Parker captained the 2013 team that won a school record 29 games. With a self-described “energetic” attitude and a disciplined approach that the military would envy, Parker is fighting for time in the Vandy outfield. In five games this season, Parker is hitting .250 as the Commodores look to return to the College World Series. And, Parker’s speed is welcome by Chinooks skipper Eddy Morgan. “We love guys who can run,” says Morgan.
Aaron Rzucidlo is attempting to fill the shoes of 2014 Lakeshore catcher Zack Bowers, not only with the Chinooks, but also for Scott Strickin’s Georgia Bulldogs. The 6’2” 220 lbs. catcher from Walton High School in Marietta, GA signed with the Bulldogs after he was limited to eight games during his senior year by a knee injury, but returned late in the year for the playoffs and hit .375 on a squad that went 22-8 , reaching the second round of the Georgia playoffs in 2014. Prior to his injury, Rzudilco batted .378 with nine doubles, six home runs and 38 RBIs as a junior in helping the Raiders advance to the semifinals of the Class 6A State Playoffs. With Bowers and Brandon Stephens, Georgia’s returning starter ahead of him, Rzucidlo may find it difficult to get time behind the plate in 2015, which should make him eager to compete when he heads to Kapco Park. Chinooks GM Dean Rennicke is pleased to have another Bulldog saying, “Coach Striklin is doing a tremendous job reviving the program at Georgia and we’re excited for Aaron to join us. UGA sent us Bowers and [Connor] Jones last year and they made major contributions.”
You can catch your first glimpse of these three and the rest 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.