The Mallards are proud to announce that Junior catcher Eric Nielsen (Purdue) has been named a 2007 Northwoods League Rawlings Silver Glove Winner. The Silver Glove is awarded annually to the league’s top defensive players, recognizing
one athlete at each position. A First Half All-Star, Nielsen (pictured) committed just three errors in 44 games this season. The winners are selected based on final official statistics compiled by league statistician Sports Ticker, a Cheshire, Connecticut based sports statistics service company.
The entire interview with Nielsen, along with the other 2007 Rawlings Silver Glove Winners are listed below.
How did you hear and what was your initial reaction after hearing you won the award?
Nielsen: My host family actually called and gave me the good news. I was very surprised because I didn’t even know such an award existed in the Northwoods League. I am very appreciative of those who selected me as well as the people who provided me with such a great environment and setting to earn such an honor.
You’re known to practice your catching technique at all times of the day; what drives you to get better?
N: To me, whether you’re working on your footwork or blocking, there’s always room for improvement. Sometimes after games at night, I just didn’t want to leave the park. I wanted to play nine more innings.
What did you think about your first year in Madison playing for the Mallards? Goals for next year?
N: My first year was an amazing experience. Everything just seemed perfect. The Mallards have a way of bringing the fun aspect of baseball back to the game. Next year I want to help the team win games in whichever way I can.
What did you learn from Coach Thieleke and his assistants?
N: CJ is a player’s coach and he’s great to play for. He’s a great guy and makes you want to play hard every day. There was nothing like having Jason Jacome, a former big leaguer, in our dugout too. How many times do you get to be around an ex-big leaguer every day? Coach (David) Schultz would always stay after games when the lights were still on and hit with us. And Coach (Chris) Ramirez helped a great deal in developing my pitch calling.
2007 NWL Rawlings Silver Glove Award Winners:
First Base Tony Plagman, Duluth Huskies, Georgia Institute of Technology
Second Base Joe Bonadonna, Duluth Huskies, University of Illinois
Third Base Nate Hanson, Mankato MoonDogs, University of Minnesota
Shortstop Travis Hendrix, Waterloo Bucks, University of Northern Iowa
Outfielder Josh Upchurch, Alexandria Beetles, Florida Gulf Coast University
Outfielder DJ Belfonte, St. Cloud River Bats, University of Nebraska
Outfielder Pat Colwell, Eau Claire Express, San Diego State University
Pitcher (tie) Buddy Baumann, St. Cloud River Bats, Missouri State University
Pitcher (tie) Matt Mossey, Mankato MoonDogs, North Dakota State University