ROCHESTER, MINN. — The Rochester Honkers, five-time champions of the Northwoods League, are excited to continue the unveiling of their 2021 roster with the introduction of a trio Division I outfielders. Purdue’s Mike Bolton Jr., Ball State’s Zach Cole and San Jose State’s Jack Colette will all patrol the outfield grass in Honkers uniforms this season.
Bolton, a sophomore, boasts a unique combination of speed and on-base percentage on his resume. A perfect 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts this season, Bolton has also reached base nearly 50 percent of the time in 24 games played. His .467 on-base clip is the highest of any Boilermaker with at least 20 appearances, and his OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) ranks third among Purdue’s roster. The Calumet City, Ill. native is hitting .298 through 11 starts in 2021 and has walked 11 times, good for nearly 20 percent of his plate appearances.
Prior to his time at Purdue, Bolton was a bonafide spark plug at Brother Rice High School in Chicago. As a senior, Bolton swung a hot stick with a .375 batting average while swiping a team-high 38 bases, just one season after hitting .360 and stealing 27 bags.
“Michael has potentially game changing speed and an ability to handle the bat really well,” Honkers field manager Paul Weidner said. “He comes from the battle tested Big 10 conference playing at Purdue and has had success. I’m excited to have him patrolling the outfield for us.”
Cole, a freshman, enjoyed a fruitful start to 2020 before Ball State’s season was halted due to COVID-19. In 12 games, Cole hit .259, scoring eight runs and driving in three of his own. Listed as D1 Baseball’s Preseason Freshman of the Year last year, Cole has the ability to make a big impact on the Honkers’ lineup in any of the three outfield positions. In 2021, Cole has appeared in nine games, drawing two walks in that span.
A native of Ozark, Mo., Cole prepped at Springfield Catholic High School before his time at Ball State. As a member of the Fighting Irish, Cole helped SCHS to a district championship in his senior season — the school’s fifth district title of the year.
“Zach has a ton of tools that we are looking for him to show off with us: speed, arm strength, and a left-handed bat with a lot of potential,” Weidner said. “We are glad that the coaches at Ball State have him placed with us in Rochester.”
Colette, a senior, joins two San Jose State teammates — right-handed pitcher Darren Jansen and infielder Jackson Forbes — on the Honkers 2021 roster. A starter in each of the 24 games he’s played in, Colette is hitting .239 on the year and has driven in 12 runs, with seven extra base hits to his name. Before the Spartans shut down their season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Colette held an impressive .314 batting average with four multi-hit games, including a double and a run scored over Weidner’s Creighton Blue Jays. The Torrance, Calif. native has appeared in 83 games over his three-plus seasons as a Spartan, driving in 18 runs since the 2018 season.
“Jack’s another veteran outfielder that comes with a lot of experience, athleticism, and leadership qualities. He’s coached at San Jose State by former Honkers manager Thomas Walker, who speaks glowingly of him,” said Weidner. “His left-handed bat and ability to play all three outfield spots will be really beneficial this summer.”
The Rochester Honkers enter their 28th season of play on May 31st on the road against the Eau Claire Express at 7:05 PM. Connect with the team on social media by liking them on Facebook at Rochester Honkers Baseball Club and following them on Twitter (@RochHonkers) and Instagram (@HonkersBaseball). Join the conversation by using the hashtag #UnlockTheFlock, and follow along with all Honkers roster reveals with the hashtag #ReleaseTheGeese.
The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its 27th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league of its kind in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans and provides a friendly ballpark experience. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 250 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 and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB Gold Glove finalist and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TOR) each participated in the NWL before they were MLB stars. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.rochesterhonkers.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Honkers as your favorite team.