LOVES PARK, Ill. – A young duo sparking Missouri State to its 17-2 start will be filling infield and outfield roles with the Rockford Rivets this summer.
The Missouri State Bears, Jordan Hovey and Hunter Steinmetz, were the first players to sign with the Stateline’s new Northwoods League team.
“In the fall, coach (Keith) Guttin had nothing but great things to say about his freshman class. Everyone likes to build their team from the middle, out and that’s exactly what we did,” Rivets manager Brian Smith said.
Hovey, a freshman infielder from Edwardsville High School in Illinois, is planning to major in psychology in his first year. After appearing in nine games, he is batting .300. On March 20, Hovey hit his first career home run, a two-run bomb, helping the Bears rally to a series sweep against Iowa.
“Jordan was a Louisville Slugger High School All American in 2015 at shortstop,” Smith said. “Being a left-handed hitter, Jordan brings a lot of flexibility to our lineup. He can run, hit for power and pick it defensively. I wouldn't be surprised if Jordan saw action at all four infield positions this summer."
Steinmetz, a freshman outfielder from Parkview High School in Missouri, is planning to major in chemistry in his first season. He holds Parkview’s all-time stolen bases record at 64 and has carried his speedster reputation over to the Bears’ lineup. Through 19 games, Steinmetz leads The MVC in stolen bases, at eight, and is third in hitting, at .408.
“Coach Guttin asked me what I was looking for and didn't hesitate to talk up Hunter and the type of person and player he is,” Smith said. “He told me that, with Hunter, I would be getting a plus defender in a left fielder’s body, with a right fielder’s arm. Hunter will be a great table setter for our team."
Rockford is a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2016. 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 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets), Lucas Duda (Mets) and Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website, NorthwoodsLeague.com.