Grafton, WI – Travis Akre has announced his coaching staff for the 2019 season as two familiar faces, along with a young pitching coach with Northwoods League experience, will join him in the dugout. As much as the Northwoods League is intended for player development, the opportunity for younger coaches to gain valuable experience is also a hallmark of the league. This year John Hasser (Carthage College) returns for a third season and second under Akre, Jake Ratz (Southwestern Community College) who was previously a Chinook assistant under Eddy Morgan in 2017 and also was a former Akre assistant at Ellsworth, along with former Rockford Rivet pitcher Drake Robison (Iowa Western Community College) will bring valuable experience to assist Chinook players.
John Hasser returns for his third season as the team’s bench coach and will provide valuable NWL experience to Akre’s staff. In his eighth year as an assistant coach for Augie Schmidt at Carthage College after playing his senior season with the Red Men in 2011, Hasser has Northwoods League experience as a member of the 2010 Green Bay Bullfrogs. John also has managed youth teams for the Hitters Academy out of Racine. He has worked with many players at Hitters that have gone on to play Division 1 college baseball. A native of St. Louis, Mo., Hasser attended Wisconsin-Parkside for three years before transferring to Carthage, where he graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.
Jake Ratz has been tabbed as the Chinooks’ hitting coach because of his familiarity with Akre and a prior stint with Lakeshore. Currently serving as an assistant coach for Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa, Ratz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports, Parks, and Recreation Management from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD, and an Associate of Arts degree from Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls. He was part of the 2013 South Dakota State University baseball team that won the Summit League Tournament and played in the NCAA Regionals. Ratz coached with the Lafayette Aviators of the Prospect League in 2018 and previously served as the 2016 manager of the Joplin Outlaws in the MINK Collegiate League. In Joplin, he led the Outlaws to a 26-20 record, second best in their division and best in organizational history. Ratz coached 10 players that competed at the Division 1 level in Joplin.
Drake Robison enters his first season coaching with the Iowa Western Reivers. His duties include assisting with the pitchers, recruiting, coordinating the JV program and weight training. A native of Machesney Park, Illinois, Drake graduated from Harlem High School in 2012 where he played basketball and was an All-Conference pitcher and third baseman. Upon graduation Drake attended Iowa Western Community College helping to win the National Championship for the Reivers in 2014. Robison went on to pitch for Ole Miss in the SEC in 2015, before transferring to University of Iowa where he was the winning pitcher in the Big Ten Conference Tournament championship game for the Hawkeyes in 2017. In addition, Robison made eleven starts and pitched over 70 innings for the Rockford Rivets of the NWL during their inaugural season of 2016 providing him with experience that will be invaluable as he mentors Chinook pitchers.
The 2019 season and Summer of 19 is presented by Port Washington State Bank with the home opener set for May 30th at 6:35pm against the Wisconsin Woodchucks. Season and group tickets are currently on sale with single game tickets available for purchase on April 27.
The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods 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, over 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.lakeshorechinooks.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Chinooks as your favorite team.