Honkers Bolster Staff, Add Catching Depth
The Rochester Honkers, five-time champions of the Northwoods League, continue to unveil their 2021 roster with addition of Denison’s Kenny Lippman, Northwestern’s Kellen Pate, and Neosho County Community College’s Ivan Witt.
Lippman, a junior right-handed pitcher, has featured strikeout stuff in his time with Denison. In 17 career appearances, Lippman has totaled 55 punchouts in 55.1 innings with a career ERA of 5.04. With the 2020 season lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lippman’s last full season came in 2019, where he posted a 3-1 record in seven starts. Through 31 games in 2021, the 6-foot-4 right-hander has the fourth-most strikeouts among Denison pitchers. Before joining the Big Red, the McLean, Va. native earned First-Team All-Conference honors at Langley High School.
“We are looking for Kenny to come in and fill up the strike zone in a big way on the mound,” Honkers field manager Paul Weidner said. “He features a good mix to keep hitters off balance with. Denison is a very highly-respected Division III program and he should do more than just hold his own in the Northwoods.”
Pate, a freshman, is another addition to the Honkers pitching staff. The righty from Northwestern has made a pair of appearances for the Wildcats this year. Prior to his time in Evanston, the Rogers, Ark. native put together an impressive high school career. In his junior season at Shiloh Christian School, Pate went 9-2 with a 1.19 ERA, participated at Midwest Nationals for three straight seasons, and was named an Under Armour Preseason All-American.
“Another pitcher from the BIG 10 coming from Northwestern in Chicago, Kellen has a very good mix of pitches to keep hitters in check all with,” Weidner said. “We love the arm he has and can’t wait to see him perform.”
Witt, a freshman catcher, adds some pop to the Honkers lineup. In his first year with Neosho County Community College, Witt is batting .321 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs. His average and homerun totals land him in the top five among Panthers, while also posting an OPS of 1.017 through 48 games in 2021. The Kansas native played two seasons at Fort Scott High School, helping lead the Tigers on a 22-game winning streak and finish 3rd in the state during his sophomore campaign.
After his time in Rochester concludes, Witt will ship off to Omaha, Neb. where he will join the Creighton Blue Jays as a JuCo transfer.
“Ivan is a very highly regarded catcher coming from Neosho,” Weidner said. “He’s got a ton of potential with the bat and is very solid defensively as well. He will fit right in with the talent level we have behind the plate.”
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 #FunForTheWholeFlock, and follow along with all Honkers roster reveals with the hashtag #ReleaseTheGeese.
Images courtesy of Denison Athletics, Northwestern Athletics, Ben Smith and Neosho County Community College Athletics.
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.